Fromm took 3 of 11 papers from an August 1957 workshop in Mexico (expanding his own). Suzuki's paper (76 pp.= 44% of book) was fascinating & profound. He explores differences between East & West exemplified in poetry, attitudes towards silence, etc. His observations were illustrative, but not entirely accurate due to great variations within East & West. His exposition seems to indicate that Japan is more INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, & perceptive in Myers-Briggs typology) whereas the West (as others have noted for the U.S.) is more ESTJ (extroverted, sensate=detail oriented, thinking, judgmental). But, this is not true for the French--his case is overstated. Interestingly, some of his examples parallel the West (depending on your definition of West). For example, he says, "Lao-Tse portrays himself as resembling an idiot." The Sufis, however, do also-see Idries Shah's book, "Wisdom of the Idiots." Also, his spiral model matches that of modern Western mystics [also John Suler says "p. 217: "Wachtel (1977) suggested that the therapeutic process is a spiral." & Lama Govinda in his Abidhamma book describes it as well]. He does, however, note Zen similarities to St. Augustine etc. Most importantly, his elucidation of the Unborn, Cosmic Unconscious, or `The true man of no rank' is essentially a metaphysical extrapolation of Jung's Self. Indeed, he is consistent quite with Jung-e.g. p. 25: `To know thyself' is to know thy Self' (of course, Jung wrote an introduction to a Suzuki book!). His description of Zen's view of Self & God is refreshing & enlightening. Also, he says p. 9, `responsibility is logically related to freedom and in logic there is no freedom, for everything is controlled by rigid rules of syllogism. But he does seem anti-machine & perhaps anti-science. Science is not logic-limited as is philosophy, however. I think Suzuki would dislike Madhyamaka philosophy but not General Systems Theory. Some of this (1957) paper is dated--as Fromm points out, making unconscious material conscious does not necessarily cure a patient, & as Boucher, Tsomo, et al have shown, Zen masters moving West have succumbed to temptation. Nonetheless, Suzuki's lengthy but valuable quotations from Rinzai were worth the cost of the book. Despite some dated material, I'd give the chapter 5 stars.
Fromm's chapter (65 pp. 38%) was an inconsistent mixture of dazzling insight & maddening oversight. His humanistic psychology would make more sense (& coincide more with Suzuki) if it included Jung's collective unconscious rather than emphasizing repression. Though I agree that p. 91 "Well-being is possible only to the degree to which one has overcome one's narcissism, to the degree to which one is open, responsive, sensitive, awake, empty (in the Zen sense)," he could use some knowledge of the Philosophy of Science & Knowledge Management-but he WAS writing in 1960. The 3 authors have little understanding of science (but this is common even today!): data is non-rational; science is not a function of Aristotelian logic; context is more important than information; only knowledge (not information) is meaningful...They criticize what they do not understand. Fromm seems to think that society drives consciousness (perhaps he's an extrovert?) & falls into the trap of non-awareness/filtering he describes. Yet he quotes Suzuki p. 120 that Zen's method `consists in putting one in a dilemma, out, of which one must contrive to escape not through logic indeed but through a mind of higher order' in other words, a higher Level of Abstraction. I couldn't agree more. He also agrees with Suzuki's spiral model--p. 128 "return to innocence is possible only after one has lost one's innocence." Jack Engler stated "you have to be somebody before you can become nobody" in Molino's "The Couch & the Tree." But, Fromm absurdly states p. 133 "Like all terminological questions, it is not of great importance." Languaging is at the heart of communications problems--translations of ancient works, understanding different cultures, et al. While he has a point that p. 134: "What Bucke describes as cosmic consciousness is, in my opinion, precisely the experience which is called satori in Zen Buddhism," we cannot know how similar they are. We cannot know if, looking at the same blue object at the same time, two people have an identical experience of blue. How same is same? In modern Information Technology, two identical objects are called instances in order to differentiate them. They are identical, but also different. Scientists have address many things (usually from a practical perspective) unbeknownst to psychoanalysts, philosophers, or religionists,.
De Martino's short chapter (30 pp. 18%) begins with an interesting observation on what it is to be human--pp. 142-3 "The infant is not yet human; the idiot never quite human; the `wolf-child' only quasi-human; the hopeless psychotic perhaps no longer human...ego consciousness which ordinarily 1st appears between the ages of 2 & 5 in a child born of human parents & reared in a human society." Unfortunately, it quickly degenerates into a negative depiction of ego as subject/object (angst-ridden, melodramatic, & perhaps self-projective). He's anti-transitive (with object); pro intransitive (no object), IMHO disagreeing with the spiral model. How would he react to Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) [my Knowledge Management and Information Technology (Know-IT Encyclopedia [...] & modern Object-Relations Theory of psychology? He provides a romanticized, stereotypical & overly philosophical description of Zen IMHO--talking ABOUT rather than OF it--but states: p. 171 "This, in my limited understanding is the relation of Zen Buddhism to the human situation." His point of view focuses on: p. 153 "The intrinsic existential plight of the ego" & concludes that p. 154 "It is not that the ego has a problem, but that the ego is the problem." I think not. IMHO, the ego is a developmental abstraction in the throes of emergence, a new psychological paradigm in a chaotic (though temporary) state of adjustment--the psychological & metaphysical birth pangs of the Zen Unborn, the Dzogchen Ground of Being.