Quotations by Fromm, Erich


When people can’t handle God any more, they turn to religion.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The lust for power is not rooted in strength but in weakness.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
Escape from Freedom, 5.1 (1941)
Added on 11-Jun-12 | Last updated 11-Jun-12
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The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one is a criminal.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
Escape from Freedom, 7.2 (1941)
Added on 10-Dec-13 | Last updated 10-Dec-13
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Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
Escape from Freedom, ch. 7 (1941)
Added on 22-Jul-13 | Last updated 15-Jul-13
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The prime offense in the authoritarian situation is rebellion against the authority’s rule. Thus disobedience becomes the “cardinal sin”; obedience, the cardinal virtue. Obedience implies the recognition of the authority’s superior power and wisdom; his own right to command, to reward, and to punish according to his own fiats. The authority demands submission not only because oft he fear of its power, but out of the conviction of its moral superiority and right. The respect due the authority carries with it the taboo on questioning it.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics, Part IV, ch. 2a “Authoritarian Conscience” (1947)
Added on 21-Nov-08 | Last updated 21-Nov-08
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There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as “moral indignation,” which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue. The “indignant” person has for once the satisfaction of despising and treating a creature as “inferior,” coupled with the feeling of his own superiority and rightness.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
Man for Himself, 4.5.C (1947)
Added on 12-Oct-11 | Last updated 12-Oct-11
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Ideologies are administered by bureaucracies that control their meaning. They develop systems, they decide what is right- and what is wrong-thinking, who is faithful and who is a heretic; in short, the manipulation of ideologies becomes one of the most important means for the control of people through the control of their thoughts.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
May Man Prevail?, ch. 4 (1961)
Added on 8-Dec-10 | Last updated 8-Dec-10
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Once a doctrine, however irrational, has gained power in a society, millions of people will believe in it rather than feel ostracized and isolated.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
Psychoanalysis and Religion, ch. 3 (1950)
Added on 16-Oct-09 | Last updated 16-Oct-09
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Words can become idols, and machines can become idols; leaders, the state, power, and political groups may also serve. Science and the opinion of one’s neighbors can become idols, and God has become an idol for many.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
Psychoanalysis and Religion, ch. 5 (1950)
Added on 17-Dec-10 | Last updated 17-Dec-10
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Man is the only animal who does not feel at home in nature, who can feel evicted from paradise, the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem that he has to solve and from which he cannot escape.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, ch. 10 (1973)
    (Source)

Sometimes elided, "Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem he has to solve."
Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
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The lack of objectivity, as far as foreign nations are concerned, is notorious. From one day to another, another nation is made out to be utterly depraved and fiendish, while one’s own nation stands for everything that is good and noble. Every action of the enemy is judged by one standard — every action of oneself by another. Even good deeds by the enemy are considered a sign of particular devilishness, meant to deceive us and the world, while our bad deeds are necessary and justified by our noble goals which they serve.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Art of Loving, ch. 2 (1956)
Added on 23-Aug-07 | Last updated 8-Jan-14
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Discipline should not be practiced like a rule imposed on oneself from the outside, but that it becomes an expression of one’s own will; that it is felt as pleasant, and that one slowly accustoms oneself to a kind of behavior which one would eventually miss, if one stopped practicing it.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Art of Loving, ch. 4 (1956)
Added on 21-Jan-14 | Last updated 21-Jan-14
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From one day to another, another nation is made out to be utterly depraved and fiendish, while one’s own nation stands for everything that is good and noble. Every action of the enemy is judged by one standard — every action of oneself by another. Even good deeds by the enemy are considered a sign of particular devilishness, meant to deceive us and the world, while our bad deeds are necessary and justified by our noble goals, which they serve.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Art of Loving, ch. 5 (1956)
Added on 15-Nov-12 | Last updated 15-Nov-12
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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 (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Sane Society (1955)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Life is a unique gift and challenge, not to be measured in terms of anything else, and no sensible answer can be given to the question whether it is ‘worth while’ living, because the question does not make any sense.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Sane Society (1955)
Added on 29-Jun-04 | Last updated 29-Jun-04
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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.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Sane Society, 3.C (1955)
Added on 13-Dec-10 | Last updated 13-Dec-10
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