E. Fromm. "Escape from Freedom"
Erich Fromm (1900-1980) is a German-American psychologist and philosopher who developed the concept of humanistic psychoanalysis, which combined elements of Marxism, psychoanalysis, existentialism.
Born in Frankfurt am Main in an orthodox Jewish family. Both his parents were descended from the families of rabbis. The environment in which he grew up and was brought up, was based on traditional Jewish patriarchal values and in many ways denied bourgeois values.
E. Fromm entered the university in Frankfurt, where he studied law, which he understood not in a formal and dogmatic sense, but philosophically: law is the crystallized minimum of the ethics of a given society.
Soon E. Fromm realized that his career as a lawyer did not seduce him, and then he continued his studies already at Heidelberg University, where he received a philosophical education.
At the end of Heidelberg University, E. Fromm gets acquainted with the theory of Sigmund Freud and continues his education at the Berlin Institute of Psychoanalysis.
Since 1925 E. Fromm worked as a psychoanalyst. In 1930 he joined the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research (known as the Frankfurt School), which had a huge impact on his views: that's where Fromm got carried away by Marx. With the arrival of E. Fromm, the institute began to conduct social studies combining Marxism and psychoanalysis, thus the emergence of "Freudian Marxism". Sometimes even E. Fromma is called one of the founders of neo-Freudianism.The Fromm theory was designed to solve the basic contradictions of human existence - between egoism and altruism, possession and being, negative "freedom from" and positive "freedom for". The scientist believed that it is possible to get out of the crisis of modern civilization by restoring harmony between the individual and nature, personality and society, creating the so-called "healthy society", based on the principles and values of humanistic ethics.
In the early 1930's. With the active participation of E. Fromm, a number of social and psychological studies are conducted among German workers and employees. Many questionnaires were prepared, which were distributed mainly through trade union leaders, contained many questions, and the questions were formulated in such a way as to interpret the questionnaires not by the content of the answers themselves, but by associations. In particular, the questionnaire was asked to name a few well-known people in history who are closest to him. The answers received from two different people could cross percentages by 50, at the same time testify to completely different types of characters. For example, one answer: Napoleon, Nietzsche, Bismarck, Stalin; another answer: Napoleon, Nietzsche, Bakunin, Jack London. The answers are crossed by 50%, but by association in one case the type of character is clearly authoritarian, for those who inspire this person are mostly dictators; In the other case, the impulse of the human spirit to freedom is clearly traced, in the "beyond the sphere", i.e. associations are completely different.
Already in 1931, based on this questionnaire, it was concluded: German workers and employees, despite the fact that they vote in elections for communists and socialists and sincerely consider themselves supporters of these parties, will not seriously oppose Hitler if he will come to power. The conclusion was based on the character traits of the respondents. E. Fromm summed up: the socialist ideas in the working environment were very widespread, but they were not widely spread, and these people will not seriously fight for them.
As predicted, Hitler came to power, and no special resistance was given to him. The Frankfurt Institute was forced to move to the United States.
Beginning in 1933, E. Fromm lived in the United States, worked at the Institute of Psychiatry. W. White and taught at Columbia and Yale universities.
Fromm gained wide popularity after writing the book "Escape from Freedom" in 1941. In addition to this work, he wrote a large number of other equally well-known books and articles, such as "Man for himself" (1947), "The concept of man by Karl Marx" (1961); article "Application of humanistic psychoanalysis in Marx's theory" (published in the collection of "Socialist Humanism", New York, 1965); "Anatomy of human destructiveness (1973), To have or to be (in United States, published in 1990).Being an unorthodox Marxist, Fromm sharply criticized not only capitalist society, but also socialism built in the USSR, believing that Soviet ideology has nothing in common with Marx's teaching. For this reason, just as earlier in Hitler's Germany, the books of E. Fromm in the USSR were banned until the end of the 1980s.
In the book "Escape from Freedom" Fromm reveals his theory of "authoritarian personality". The authoritarian personality is a differently named "middle man", a middle-class representative, a petty bourgeois, a philistine. An authoritarian personality is a person inclined to subordinate authority, for which authority is a sufficient psychological force to obey, is a person who can not be an authority. In order to avoid misunderstandings, it is necessary to understand that in the concept of "authoritarian character" adjective authoritarian is not identical to such an understanding of the word "authoritarian", as "he who imposes his will by force, power; domineering & quot ;. On the contrary, the authoritarian personality is subject to authority. Here the second meaning of the French word autoritaire ("authoritative") is used: "based on unquestioning obedience."
E. Fromm, referring to the "middle class", that is, the common man, displays some characteristic features of him, and throughout the history: "love of the strong and hatred for the weak, limitation, hostility, stinginess - in feelings, like in money , And especially asceticism. These people are distinguished by narrow views, suspicion, hatred of a stranger, and a friend always evoked an envious curiosity in them, and their envy was always rationalized as contemptuous indignation; their whole life was based on poverty - not only in the economic, but also in the psychological sense. "
E. Fromm, examining the theory of an authoritarian personality, examined the behavior of a German citizen during the period of the formation of fascism and came to the conclusion that "after Hitler came to power, the loyalty of the majority of the population to the fascist government was reinforced by an additional stimulus: millions of people began to identify Hitler's government with" Germany. " In his hands was now state power, because the struggle with it meant self-exclusion from the community of all Germans; when all other parties were dissolved and the Nazi party "became" Germany, the opposition of this party became equivalent to the opposition of Germany. " "For the average person," E. Fromm believed, "there is nothing more difficult than feeling alone, not belonging to any large group with which he can identify himself and which can protect it; he - the petty bourgeois - seeks security.
The courage of an authoritarian personality consists only in sustaining everything that the Fate or the representative of this Fate has revealed-the Leader. "To suffer uncomplainingly," wrote E. Fromm, "this is the highest virtue and merit of such a person." It is not about trying to stop this suffering, or at least to reduce it. Do not change fate, but obey it - this is heroism of an authoritarian nature. "
"A German citizen," Fromm believed, "no matter how alien he was to the principles of Nazism, he had to choose between loneliness and a sense of unity with Germany, and the majority chose unity ... Fear of isolation and the relative weakness of the moral principles of much of the population helps any party win its loyalty, it is worth this party only to seize state power. " E. Fromm paid special attention to the fact that just the middle class-shopkeepers, artisans, servants-enthusiastically welcomed the Nazi ideology and identified themselves with it.
The scientist believed that an authoritarian personality is the predominant type in modern society. When Fromm wrote about the fascist states, he used the term "authoritarian personality", and when about modern countries of bourgeois representative democracy - "conformist personality".Conformist E. Fromm called a modern Western man who, for his peace and comfort adapts, adapts to the generally accepted standards of behavior, turning into a human robot, subordinate to mass culture. The individual ceases to be himself; he fully assimilates the type of personality offered to him by the generally accepted pattern, and becomes exactly the same as everyone else, and the way they want to see him. The distinction between one's own self and the world around him disappears, and at the same time - and a conscious fear of loneliness and powerlessness. Having abandoned his own "I" and turned into a robot similar to millions of other similar robots, a person no longer feels loneliness and anxiety. However, you have to pay for this by the loss of your personality. "
The conformist personality (that is, the philistine in modern bourgeois society) does not have his own position, opinions, his emotionality is suppressed. And the more he mimics, the more he loses his personality. E. Fromm believed that the modern man was exhausted - and this is the main danger of the era, for he is incapable of thinking critically, he is ready to accept any ideology and any leader who will promise him to make sense in his life.Moreover, in some respects the conformist personality is even more terrible, mean, shallow, it behaves even more shamefully than the philistine in the fascist countries: if an authoritarian person likes to subordinate himself to authority with pleasure, then the conformist personality completely dissolves in this authority .
Directly from the criticism of the average person as a representative of fascist movements, Fromm goes on to criticize the average person of capitalism, the so-called automatic person or, in another translation, an automated person. The scientist believed that for the emergence of human automaton, a mechanism of automated conformism is needed, that is, a psychological mechanism that allows a person to avoid repression (even implicit ones) on the part of society by obeying the rules of this society. Fromm does not see any fundamental difference in such an adaptation, for example, to the Hitler regime or to the regime of the so-called parliamentary democracy - simply repression is carried out more clearly or less clearly, more roughly or less rudely, but still it exists, it is carried out. This is the fundamental conclusion of E. Fromm: there is no fundamental difference (principal, that is, not at the level of formal laws, slogans, methods of action, impact on each individual, but on a philosophical, global, conceptual level) between the so-called totalitarian regimes and so-called non-totalitarian regimes, parliamentary democracy.
E. Fromm believed that automated behavior is the escape mechanism that allows a conformist (a modern Western person) to avoid an unfavorable situation, to escape from danger. With the help of automated conformism, the individual overcomes the feeling of his insignificance in comparison with the overwhelming powerful external world - either by renouncing one's own integrity, or by destroying others. That is, a person either refuses himself, or substitutes someone for himself: "Someone will be punished, this someone will be beaten, and I will be able to hide during this time."
Fromm deduced the automaton from the needs of the current capitalist society. "Modern capitalism," he believed, "needs people who can easily work, without fail, and in large quantities; in people who aspire to consume more and more; in people whose tastes are leveled, easily influenced, easily changed. He needs people who consider themselves free and independent, not subordinate to any kind of power or principles of conscience, but at the same time they want to receive orders, do what is expected of them; in people well-adjusted to the social machine, which can be controlled without coercion; which you can lead without a leader; to induce to action without any purpose, except one: to produce something, to be in motion, to function, to go somewhere. "
Modern class society creates this type of social character, which it needs. Social character is created by the system of education, religion, approved by the institutes of culture and upbringing in the family. It should be borne in mind that in the family the child is brought up primarily by those methods that are also sanctioned, approved by the existing culture, considered normal, normal, natural.
Under the social character Fromm understood the totality of psychological traits inherent in society at this or that stage of its development. The social character is the result of man's adaptation to the social order, he transforms the external necessity into the internal need of individuals and thereby mobilizes human energy for the fulfillment of the tasks of the given economic system. Thus, the social character shapes the needs of the individual, brings them in line with the level of development of the productive forces.While appreciating the teachings of Marx and Engels on the basis and superstructure, E. Fromm, nevertheless, believed that they did not show a mechanism connecting these two categories. According to E. Fromm, this mechanism should provide a social character that connects the basis and superstructure together. However, as economic development develops, a gap forms between the social character and the basis, old psychological stereotypes are incapable of servicing new production relations. In this case, for the restoration of the equilibrium of the social system, an adaptive leap that fundamentally changes the social character and establishes adequate needs is necessary. Speaking about the social character of the modern Western man, E. Fromm criticizes the prevailing market orientation, based on the fact that a person turns into one of the goods circulating in the market. "A person has become a commodity and considers his life as a capital that should be profitable to invest. If he succeeded in this, then his life makes sense, and if not - he's a loser. Its value is determined by the demand, not by its human virtues: kindness, intelligence, artistic abilities. " Back in the 1920s. Fromm introduced the concept, widely used to characterize modern society, - "consumer society". The scientist noted that, like a suitcase, a man should be in fashion in the market, and in order to be in fashion, he must know what kind of person is in demand in the market. That is, there is a complete rejection of the person from himself in favor of fashion and the desire to sell himself.
The highest type of social character, according to Fromm, is revolutionary. It should be borne in mind, however, that a revolutionary is not a rebel who is always dissatisfied with power, but a person who, on the basis of radically humanistic ideas, seeks to reorganize society. It is often invisible externally. He differs from the rebel in approximately the same way that a street speaker differs from a professional scout. No one sees a professional scout-no one knows what he is doing in his professional underground, but the result can be completely catastrophic for the enemy. A revolutionary is a person who is striving for free creative self-realization. Only he can resist the system and not turn into a human robot.
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