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The Fear of Freedom (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 17 May 2001
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From the Back Cover
'Erich Fromm speaks with wisdom, compassion, learning and insight into the problems of individuals trapped in a social world that is needlessly cruel and hostile.' - Noam Chomsky
Erich Fromm sees right to the heart of our contradictory needs for community and for freedom like no other writer before or since. In 'Fear of Freedom', Fromm warns that the price of community is indeed high, and it is the individual who pays. Fascism and authoritarianism may seem like receding shadows for some, but are cruel realities for many. Erich Fromm leaves a valuable and original legacy to his readers - a vastly increased understanding of the human character in relation to society. At the beginning of the 21st century, it is more important than ever to be aware of his powerful message. Listen, and take heed.
Erich Fromm (1900-1980). Psychoanalyst and author, Fromm is arguably one of the most outstanding figures of 20th Century humanism.
About the Author
Erich Fromm (1900-1980) Psychoanalyst and author, Fromm is arguably one of the most outstanding figures of 20th Century humanism.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the main Fromm's wrote books for as wide a readership as possible aiming to avoid jargon or a convoluted or difficult style of writing, I believe will prove interesting, easy reading for the general reader as much as students of psychology or academics.
The book begins with consideration of freedom as a psychological problem, why has the concept lost its once popular appeal? Why has this once inspiring, hopeful and visionary concept fallen so far out of favour that people actively seek ways of surrendering their freedom?
Fromm continues with an investigation of how the concept of freedom has developed since medieval times and the reformation. There are chapters on the psychology of Nazism, freedom and democracy and facets of freedom for modern man. Most importantly there is investigation of how people seek to escape freedom through authoritarianism, destructiveness and conformity.
Fromm's considers not simply the political and public life, how authoritarian leaders and movements often win the support of the people who are least likely to benefit from their success or may even suffer by their success but also individual relationships, such as the perpetrators and those who submit to domestic violence.
The depiction of "caring" sadists, incapable of independence from the very "objects" of their persecution, torment and control freakery, or masochists who relish the dependency of others while appearing to be the greatest advocates for the powerless and unfortunate is intriguing.Read more ›
Fromm attempts to balance three aspects of the psyche: its biological, social and existential aspect. Many thinkers in psychology tend to concentrate on one area (mainly biological Darwinism in today's world), but Fromm faces all three issues head on, and in a clear and succinct fashion.
The book manages to include a thorough explanation of his theory, and its application in the problems of individuality, democracy, religion, authoritarianism, sadism, fascism, and the modern tendency of the "automaton". I read the book three times in a month - it is a work of brilliance.
His existence is an embarrassment to the sociological profession.
The Fear of Freedom for me combines what is useful in Hegelianism, Marxism and Freudianism while also doing away with the untenable theoretical systems that would otherwise undermine what is precious in them. Fromm declares that modern man is in the unprecedented historical situation of being conscious of his freedom, which however is a double-edged sword, for although it opens up a new horizon of potential self-determination, it also bears down upon the individual with an unprecedented weight of responsibility (and culpability, in the end).
Fromm provides an interesting, easy-to-read and unflattering critique of Luther and Calvin as well as a psychological explanation of the appeal of fascism. It is strange to read this work today, which talks of Hitler and Nazi Germany in the present tense. (It was written during the war).
The book is a clarion call for human beings to accept responsibility for their fates. I do not think that the Frommian man is an Übermensch, or a hero of the classical mould: he is too modest and aware of his limitations to aspire to such dangerous heights - he does not have the backing of an omnipotent god or age-old myth to prop him up.Read more ›
The original title of this book properly translates as 'escape from freedom' and this is closer to the emphasis of what Fromm meant. Fromm believed that the freedoms that people had won over the centuries had resulted in a deep rooted fear that resulted in people turning to extreme authoritarian movements. Whether they were Fascist or Stalinist both came from people having a need to submit to other people.
What is unique about this book is how Fromm traces large political and historical movements back to psychology and the personal dynamics of the family; an authoritarian relationship between father and son is almost the token psychological symbol of Nazism and Fascism. This need for security and to throw off responsibilty is central to Fromm's analysis and can be seen in todays world as much as the nineteen thirties. The reemergence of religious fanaticism whether it is Islamic or Christian is almost timed with an increase in social liberties, the more free people have become for different reasons the more a faction of society have sought escape in paternalistic ideologies. This book should be read by anyone who is interested in the complexities of liberty and society.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perfect , as described , superfast delivery , highly recommended sellerPublished 23 months ago by karen gregory
If you are an enthusiast for psychoanalysis (and Marxism), this book will probably appeal.
If you are looking for some insight into the forces that drove people to... Read more
What I liked: Erich Fromm makes a groundbreaking attempt to explain the neurotic behaviour of modern human, based on the feeling of anxiety and aloneness they experience, which... Read morePublished on 28 Jun. 2013 by Michail