Humanism and Existentialism: Part 4 - Erich Fromm - The Fear of Freedom

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The Dialectics of Liberation: Anarchism, Existentialism, and Decentralism.
Humanism and Existentialism: Part 4 - Erich Fromm - The Fear of Freedom

"Freedom is the great composer in the symphony of life" - charlie777pt

1- Introduction

"Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature. He has been transformed into a commodity, experiences his life forces as an investment which must bring him the maximum profit obtainable under existing market conditions." - Erich Fromm

Freedom is doing what you want to do, valuing your self and needs, to make your own decisions, to express your opinions, actions and defend it, always without societal barriers, the fear of gods, or paternal authority.
We need to lead from the inside and not to follow what comes from the outside by intellectual laziness or blindness, and the fear to face ourselves.
Spiritualization of life is the real healthy and wealthy choice for Humanity that is stuck and being swallowed by the mindset that Matter must be the only fact that makes meaning for living.
We are burning the planet and we are all going to a Ghetto Hell, where Man will be jailed to hide from Nature, that will not nurture anymore but instead will destroy us, as a revenge for what we are doing to the sacred ground of our Spaceship Earth, by savagely wasting all the available resources to finish in a drifting ghost planet.
We are living in an abyss era, of total uncertainty about the future, where Man is being transformed in an abstract machine like digitally programmed automata, with pre-determined emotional states as designed inputs, that can't be rejected.

"There is only one meaning of life: the act of living it". - Erich Fromm The Fear of Freedom

The representative Democracy is being replaced by populism, reducing the people's participation in society to defend the common public interests, that ultimately will lead to despotism and international conflicts.
Any ambition for prosperity is totally out in a future driven by despotism, eliminating people's participation in building their own destiny.
If people keep conforming by fear of the consequences of the growing authoritarianism of governments bought by the big capital, backed up by military police, there will be no destiny after the "ecocide", that already started the count down that should make us think of what is more frightening.
The social communication showbiz loves fake news, and they propagate the book of lies without any apologies for following sensationalism instead of the truth the world needs so desperately now.

“We forget that, although freedom of speech constitutes an important victory in the battle against old restraints, modern man is in a position where much of what "he" thinks and says are the things that everybody else thinks and says; that he has not acquired the ability to think originally - that is, for himself - which alone gives meaning to his claim that nobody can interfere with the expression of his thoughts.” - Erich Fromm in The Fear of Freedom

Sustainability of the planet and equality of justice and opportunities for the people based in the vector of personal freedom as the key for the sustained development of the economic, financial and environmental care, which transformation must be done ate the educational, social and cultural levels.
The sustainability of the planet is an immediate and compulsory task, and it's not a choice we have to make when the future is disappearing in front of us.
Human rights are being slowly erased from what was a mere the declaration of intentions, without actions of concrete intervention, bringing inequity by the manipulation and conditioning of the collective existence.

Interiorized capitalist consumerism is today the Essence of our Existence, while mass media made reality, has become our enemy, making us act under the orders and desires of a phew to maintain their "moneycracy", where the debtors dominate society, making it drown in debt and famine of enslaved poor workers, that later will fall in the misery of the excluded.
When the one percent finish to take away all the money, that began with the wealthy ripping off the middle class, and now they want to steal from all the poor, to extinguish them, and run out of people to exploit in a dead planet.

"An illusion shared by everyone becomes a reality." - Erich Fromm

2 - Erich Fromm - The Fear of Freedom

“It seems that nothing is more difficult for the average man to bear than the feeling of not being identified with a larger group.” - Erich Fromm in Escape from Freedom

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) was a philosopher and a psychoanalyst, publishing works in sociology, and social psychology under the umbrella of a humanistic philosophical view, and created the foundations for the emergence of political psychology in the perspective of the individual.
Fromm discovered that Destructiveness was generated by the suppression of the real self and the awareness of the reality's barriers to became a Human Being.
He showed us that the most strong force in existence, is the search for freedom, as the ultimate capacity of any human being, engaged in political activity at the micro-level, where each individual is equally fighting for power in an informal structure.
This would reduce politics to the micro-level replacing the macro-level of parties, corporate power, institutions, ministries, and the State, with a what I call the "Politics of Being", where individual direct participation in the decision-making processes of collective interests, and cooperation on solving common problems at the community level, a principle that is very dear to any individualist anarchist, existentialist or decentralist.

A real Human Being is built by Love, as a skill we acquire in life, when the investment we make to fulfill other individuals is bigger than we do with ourselves, like surrender to an internal cause for change that serves, aggrandize, or elevate other human beings and like emphasized by Viktor Frankl this is the main metamorphosis to find ourselves.

"It takes a moment to tell someone you love them, but it takes a lifetime to prove it." - Erich Fromm

Healthy human beings flourish with love, as human mutual care, that is the key for participation in the creation of a wealthier humanity and to avoid the passion for destruction and evil in the World, like Nazism, Holodomor in Ukraine by Lenine, or the genocides actually perpetrated by the civilized Western World, serving the imperialist guns salesmen.
Society must not refrain the growth of the individual's inner self with negative barriers, creating a path of destruction by constraining the positive human sense of belonging, connect to others, and self-affirm with creative expression, with participation being the main key for political consciousness, social change, and revolution.
Nobody can take away our freedom because it is always inside, and you can turn it on for the liberation of the Spirit and gain distance from the materiality focused live, and idea Fromm explained very profoundly in his late age writings of the book "Being and Having".

Authoritarianism is growing and it demands a reaction, an escape for freedom, and we must never identify and fuse with a person or ideology outside us because give up on our self roots demanding for liberation and affirmation.
Conformism and masochism are the product of dependence by identification with a third part authoritative sadistic figures that the masses adopt, being reduced to an emotional behavior based in fear, that opens the door for mind control to our latent tendencies for submission and domination.
This means that for any sadistic and despot, there is that is always out there one masochist and moldable human being, showing the collective neurotic character that lives inside everyone.

"The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane." - Erich Fromm

3 - Erich Fromm - Disobey, do not Fear

"Human history begins with man's act of disobedience which is at the same time the beginning of his freedom and the development of his reason." - Erich Fromm

Fromm talked about the sense of identity as the need to establish our distinctive uniqueness from the others, that emerges from breaking the familiar knots, giving an independent sense of ontological security and the feeling that life doesn't override our selves and we are not controlled by the others.
Erich Fromm knew that disobedience was the first door we have to open to search for the path of Freedom and to reestablish our sanity of mind.
The average of people has an ambivalent reaction to speak for themselves when they are strangled by authority, blocking the feeling of the secret desire for liberation, that is behind consciousness, identified by Fromm as the "Fear of Freedom", that will unveil the natural anarchism and activism of any human being to be the architect of his/her Existence.

"Alienation, as we find it in modern society, is almost total… Man has created a world of man-made things as it never existed before. He has constructed a complicated social machine to administer the technical machine he built. The more powerful and gigantic the forces are which he unleashes, the more powerless he feels himself as a human being. He is owned by his creations, and has lost ownership of himself."- Erich Fromm

4 - The Escape (Fear) from Freedom - Erich Fromm

"The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born when we die." - Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm and Viktor Frankl, another contemporary psychoanalyst, both suffered a stressy condition under Nazism and understood the meaning, why social environment could drive human beings in terms of the passion for destruction and high levels of perversity.
The book "Escape from Freedom" demonstrates the process by which people submit and even venerate totalitarian leaders.

The next picture is an explanation how a positive "freedom to" reverses all societal structures, opening a door to the individual to realize his/her self, participating and more directly influencing the culture, laws and moral rules, rather than the negative "freedom from" where self-realization is crushed by the social order.

For Fromm 'freedom from' is based in a false self crushed by other people, moral rules or institutions, that is replaced by a false sense of security that hides negative self-destructive thoughts and behaviors like :

  • Authoritarian traits: Fromm portraited the authoritarian personalities as a box with sadistic (gain control and give order to the world)) and masochistic forces (submit to authoritarian people or ideas) with conflitos inside.
  • Destructiveness: Although this bears a similarity to sadism, Fromm argues that the sadistic will to gain control over people and make a "world order" or destroy it.
  • Conformity: Peoples traits of personality that interiorized norms and beliefs and infant figures of authority that were not self-elaborated but the person is 100% sure these are his/her own rules that close one's doors to free thinking, that leads to self-rigidity and immobility.

Authenticity is 'freedom to', the liberation from an authority, to affirm our personality by creative actions and behaviors, to free us from the old social order to release the originality of humanity as an alternative to the Society-Machine of the Lords and Servants.

"Respect is not fear and awe; it...[is]the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me." Erich Fromm

5 - Erich Fromm and Guaranteed Income

The philosopher and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in his text "The Psychological Aspects of the Guaranteed Income" (1966) he explains de benefits of UBI for a more humanized and less material society.

"A guaranteed income, which becomes possible in the era of economic abundance, could for the first time a free man from the threat of starvation, and thus make him truly free and independent from any economic threat." - Erich Fromm -

People are not working commodities or products like the goods they produce, and he saw Guaranteed Income as a way to liberate people from economic pressures, of the basic need's demands, opening the route for freedom and autonomy.

"Man has transformed himself into a homo consumens". He is voracious, passive, and tries to compensate for his inner emptiness by continuous and ever-increasing consumption (there are many clinical examples for this mechanism in cases of overeating, overbuying, overdrinking, as a reaction to depression and anxiety)- he consumes cigarettes, liquor, sex, movies, travel, as well as education, books, lectures, and art." - Erich Fromm

He believed that guaranteed income would work if we could change the consumption patterns turning the "homo consumens" in as active happy producers, the rise of a new humanist spiritual view of life, and the emergence of direct democracy to integrate the voice of the individual and the community decisions.

Image Souce: Wikipedia

"The lust for power is not rooted in strength but in weakness." - Erich Fromm

It is worth seeing this interview to realize with Erich Fromm predicted the society that we live in today.


To Have or To Be, by Erich Fromm

The Mike Wallace Interview: Erich Fromm (1958-05-25)

The Dialectics of Liberation: Anarchism, Existentialism, and Decentralism.
Published Posts:

I - Anarchism
II - Existentialism
Next posts on the Series:
II - Existentialism(Cont.)
  • Humanism and Existentialism
    • Part 5 - Wilhelm Reich - The Orgasm and the Character Shield
    • Part 6 - Carl Gustav Jung - Myths and Archetypes
    • Part 7 - Thomas Szasz - The Factory of Madness
  • Existentialism and Anarchism
  • The Future : Posthumanism, transhumanism and inhumanism
III - Decentralism
  • What is Decentralism?
  • The Philosophy of Decentralism
  • Blockchain and Decentralization
  • Anarchism, Existentialism, and Decentralism
IV - Dialectic for Self-Liberation
  • Counterculture in the 60s
  • Psychedelics, Libertarian and artistic movements
  • The Dialectics of Liberation Congress
  • The Zen Buddism of Alan Watts
  • Psychoanalysis and Existentialism
  • The Anti-psychiatry movement
  • Anarchism, Existentialism, Decentralism and Self-Liberation
V - Conclusions and Epilogue
- charlie777pt on Steemit:
Social Reality: Violence, Power, and Change
Index of Chapter 1 - Anarchism of this series - Part 1 This Series:
Oizerman, Teodor
.O Existencialismo e a Sociedade. Em: Oizerman, Teodor; Sève, Lucien; Gedoe, Andreas, Problemas Filosóficos.2a edição, Lisboa, Prelo, 1974.
Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Others
Levy, Bernard-Henry , O Século de Sartre,Quetzal Editores (2000)
Jacob Golomb, In Search of Authenticity - Existentialism From Kierkegaard to Camus (1995)
Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society
Louis Sass, Madness and Modernism, Insanity in the light of modern art, literature, and thought (revised edition)
Hubert L. Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall, A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism (2006)
Charles Eisenstein, Ascent of Humanity
Walter Kaufmann, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre(1956)
Herbert Read, Existentialism, Marxism and Anarchism (1949 )
Martin Heidegger, Letter on "Humanism"(1947)
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power (1968)
Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism And Human Emotions
Jean-Paul Sartre, O Existencialismo é um Humanismo
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Sense and Non-Sense
Michel Foucault, Power Knowledge Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977
Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom. New York: Henry Holt, (1941)
Erich Fromm, Man for Himself. 1986
Gabriel Marcel, Being and Having: an existentialist diary
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and The Invisible
Paul Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences. Essays on Language, Action and Interpretation
Brigite Cardoso e Cunha, Psicanálise e estruturalismo (1979)
Paul Watzlawick, How Real is Reality?
G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia,
Robert C. Solomon, Existentialism
H.J.Blackham, Six existentialist thinkers
Étienne de La Boétie, Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, or the Against-One (1576)

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