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50 Instructive Erich Fromm Quotes

Last updated on Mar 22nd, 2019

50 Instructive Erich Fromm Quotes

Erich Fromm (born March 23, 1900, Frankfurt am Main, Germany – died March 18, 1980, Muralto, Switzerland) was a German-born psychoanalyst and social philosopher, who was associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory.

Fromm was known for the concept that freedom was a part of human nature that we either escape or embrace. He believed that the psyche of an individual was the product of society.

Some of Fromm’s major works include Escape from Freedom (1941), Man for himself (1947), The Sane Society (1955), The Art of Loving (1956), and To Have or to Be? (1976).

Fromm was one of the founders of the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology, located in New York City.

1
Man always dies before he is fully born.'Part III: Human Nature and Character,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
2
Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.'Part IV: The Two Aspects of Freedom for Modern Man,' Escape from Freedom (1941)
3
Boredom is nothing but the experience of a paralysis of our productive powers.'Chapter 5: Man In Capitalistic Society,' The Sane Society (1955)
4
The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind – not the fiend or the sadist.'Chapter 1: Man — Wolf of Sheep?,' The Heart of Man, its genius for good and evil (1964)
Immature love says: "I love you because I need you." Mature love says: "I need you because I love you." - Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving Quotes)
5
Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.” Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.”'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
6
The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.'Part III: Human Nature and Character,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
7
The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots.'Summary—Conclusion,' The Sane Society (1955)
8
Tribes like this are the truly affluent societies — not because they are so wealthy but because they do not want more than they have.'On the Origins of Aggression,' For the Love of Life (1986)
9
There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers.'Part III: Human Nature and Character,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
Mother's love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. - Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving Quotes)
10
Mother’s love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
11
Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own self.'Chapter 3: The Human Situation—the Key to Humanistic Psychoanalysis,' The Sane Society (1955)
12
I am convinced that boredom is one of the greatest tortures. If I were to imagine Hell, it would be the place where you were continually bored.'Medicine and the Ethical Problem of Modern Man,' The Dogma of Christ and Other Essays on Religion, Psychology and Culture (1963)
13
To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.The Revolution of Hope (1968)
14
To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.'Part IV: Problems of Humanistic Ethics,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I? - Erich Fromm (To Have or to Be Quotes)
15
If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I?'Part Two: Analyzing the Fundamental Differences Between the Two Modes of Existence,' To Have or to Be? (1976)
16
The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself, is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity, without panic and undue fear.'Chapter 5: Man In Capitalistic Society,' The Sane Society (1955)
17
The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.'Part VII: Freedom and Democracy,' Escape from Freedom (1941)
18
Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of commodities, so the social process requires standardization of man, and this standardization is called “equality.”'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
19
In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead; in the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.'Summary—Conclusion,' The Sane Society (1955)
Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either. - Erich Fromm (Man for Himself Quotes)
20
Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.'Part IV: Problems of Humanistic Ethics,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
21
There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.'Part VII: Freedom and Democracy,' Escape from Freedom (1941)
22
Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one “object” of love.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love, ' The Art of Loving (1956)
23
We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them.'Chapter 5: Man In Capitalistic Society,' The Sane Society (1955)
24
Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve and from which he cannot escape.'Part III: Human Nature and Character,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving Quotes)
25
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.'Chapter IV: The Practice of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
26
Love is often nothing but a favorable exchange between two people who get the most of what they can expect, considering their value on the personality market.'Chapter 5: Man In Capitalistic Society,' The Sane Society (1955)
27
To love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.'Chapter IV: The Practice of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
28
Care and responsibility are constituent elements of love, but without respect for and knowledge of the beloved person, love deteriorates into domination and possessiveness.'Part III: Human Nature and Character,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
29
Authority is not a quality one person ‘has,’ in the sense that he has property or physical qualities. Authority refers to an interpersonal relation in which one person looks upon another as somebody superior to him.'Chapter 5: Man In Capitalistic Society,' The Sane Society (1955)
In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two. - Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving Quotes)
30
In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
31
One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.ABC TV (May 25, 1958)
32
Man’s biological weakness is the condition of human culture.'Part II: The Emergence of the Individual and the Ambiguity of Freedom,' Escape from Freedom (1941)
33
In erotic love, two people who were separate become one. In motherly love, two people who were one become separate. The mother must not only tolerate, she must wish and support the child’s separation.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
34
Reason is man’s faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man’s ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought. Reason is man’s instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man’s instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man.'Chapter 3: The Human Situation—the Key to Humanistic Psychoanalysis,' The Sane Society (1955)
Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much. - Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving Quotes)
35
Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
36
Most people call certain ideas “crazy” because “sane” is only that which is within the frame of reference of conventional thought.'Chapter 1: The Limitations of Scientific Knowledge,' Greatness and Limitation of Freud's Thought (1979)
37
Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. “Patriotism” is its cult.'Chapter 3: The Human Situation—the Key to Humanistic Psychoanalysis,' The Sane Society (1955)
38
The sadistic person is as dependent on the submissive person as the latter is on the former; neither can live without the other.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
39
Destructiveness is the outcome of unlived life.'Part V: Mechanisms of Escape,' Escape from Freedom (1941)
Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others. - Erich Fromm (Man for Himself Quotes)
40
Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others.'Part IV: Problems of Humanistic Ethics,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
41
Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one’s country which is not part of one’s love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.'Chapter 3: The Human Situation—the Key to Humanistic Psychoanalysis,' The Sane Society (1955)
42
Men are born equal but they are also born different.'Part VII Freedom and Democracy,' Escape from Freedom (1941)
43
Respect is not fear and awe; it denotes, in accordance with the root of the word (respicere = to look at), the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his individuality and uniqueness.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
44
What is it that distinguishes man from animals? It is not his upright posture.'Affluence and Ennui in Our Society, Manufactured Needs,' For the Love of Life (1986)
Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality. - Erich Fromm (Man for Himself Quotes)
45
Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.'Part IV: Problems of Humanistic Ethics,' Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics (1947)
46
Love is an action, the practice of a human power, which can be practiced only in freedom and never as the result of a compulsion.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
47
Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?'Chapter 8: Roads to Sanity,' The Sane Society (1955)
48
Freedom is the fundamental condition for any growth.'Appendix: Character and the Social Process,' Escape from Freedom (1941)
49
Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.'Chapter II: The Theory of Love,' The Art of Loving (1956)
Who will tell whether one happy moment of love, or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies? - Erich Fromm (The Sane Society Quotes)
50
Who will tell whether one happy moment of love, or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies?'Chapter 5: Man In Capitalistic Society,' The Sane Society (1955)

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