Talk:Erich Fromm

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Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to Erich Fromm. --Antiquary 20:58, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

  • A vast sector of modern advertising... does not appeal to reason but to emotion; like any other kind of hypnoid suggestion, it tries to impress its objects emotionally and then make them submit intellectually.
  • As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found — in himself.
  • As we ascend the social ladder, viciousness wears a thicker mask.
  • Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self.
  • Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
  • Destructiveness is the outcome of unlived lives.
  • Education is helping the child realize his potentialities.
  • If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?
  • In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.
  • Integrity simply means a willingness not to violate one's identity.
  • 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 towards one 'object' of love.
  • Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self.
  • 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.
  • Men are born equal but they are also born different.
  • Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want.
  • Modern man thinks he loses something — time — when he does not do things quickly; yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains — except kill it.
  • Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.
  • Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.
  • Sanity is only that which is within the frame of reference of conventional thought.
  • That man can destroy life is just as miraculous a feat as that he can create it, for life is the miracle, the inexplicable. In the act of destruction, man sets himself above life; he transcends himself as a creature.
  • The capacity to be puzzled is the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science.
  • The history of man is a graveyard of great cultures that came to catastrophic ends because of their incapacity for planned, rational, voluntary reaction to challenge.
  • The most beautiful as well as the most ugly inclinations of man are not part of a fixed biologically given human nature, but result from the social process which creates man.
  • The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent. (this is from the book Sane Society)

  • The only truly affluent are those who do not want more than they have.
  • The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind — not the fiend or the sadist.
  • The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.
    • Variant: The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.
  • The scars left from the child's defeat in the fight against irrational authority are to be found at the bottom of every neurosis.
  • There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.
  • There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started out with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet which fails so regularly, as love.
  • There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives to his life by the unfolding of his powers.
    • Variant: There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers.
  • 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.
  • To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.
  • To take the difficulties, setback and sorrows of life as a challenge which to overcome makes us stronger rather than unjust punishment which should not happen to us requires faith and courage.
  • We all dream; we do not understand our dreams, yet we act as if nothing strange goes on in our sleep minds, strange at least by comparison with the logical, purposeful doings of our minds when we are awake.
  • While every human being has a capacity for love, its realization is one of the most difficult achievements.
  • 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.
  • Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?
  • Love, the Answer to the Problem of Human Existence