Friday, July 9, 2021

Erich Fromm / Escape From Freedom - Summary and explanation

"Escape From Freedom" is a meditation by Erich Fromm on the state of modern freedom. according to Fromm, within the framework of the modern Western world, built on a capitalist socio-economic model that rests on the theology of Luther and Calvin , an unbalanced concept of freedom is created, depicting man kneeling by nature and his salvation only as part of a neurotic action to please God. This framework was sickened and translated according to Fromm into the economic patterns of the 19th-20th century, when man actually works for the god of the market and the economy, and loses his healthy connections to others. In this state the person is unable to enjoy the freedom he has and is unable to withstand his uniqueness, and he escapes from himself and self-responsibility from the outside world that threatens him. A dilemma arises between the demands of society, which fosters productivity and contribution, and the individual's needs for growth and happiness . This collision can lead to a "disguised escape" (as the name of Fromm's first book) through various escape mechanisms. The main ones are:

Authoritativeness - the cancellation of the self towards a powerful factor, and the granting of the power of authority to other human beings, to an idea or idea, or alternatively the taking of power to control, exploit and even humiliate other human beings. Fromm also refers to it as sadomasochistic desires or symbiotic relationships. In both cases there is a symbiosis between human beings who escape their uniqueness by surrender or control. The phenomenon of Nazism is, in Fromm's view, an expression of escape from freedom, of authoritarianism.
Malignant aggression - In order to overcome the feeling of threat from the environment, the person takes an aggressive and destructive approach that aims to destroy the threat in front of him. The violence and vandalism , addiction to drugs and for liquor , occurring in industrialized urban society are an expression of this.
Conformity of the automaton (Automatum conformity) - conformity obsession constitutes a reduction in a person's sense of alienation, he likens himself by most members of the culture to which he belongs patterns of life, desires, feelings and thoughts, and is unique in another himself. This position is similar to the camouflage colors of animals. This solution is dangerous to know Fromm, because it is an illusion in which the person pretends that his thoughts, feelings and desires are authentic and he is free, while in fact he adapts himself to the expectations of society, and loses his identity in imitating society and assimilating his aspirations, thoughts, desires and Her feelings. This solution is most common to know Fromm in Western society .
According to Fromm, There are five personal orientations - forms of coping and adaptation in the environmental and physical space - four of which are ineffective:

The passive-recipient - the mammal, who is socially related to masochism and loyalty; A type who believes that the source of the blessing, is outside of him, and he can only receive it outside of him. He is dependent on others, and will always look for an outside entity that he will support and that will solve his problems.
The aggressive-exploiter - the exploitative, who is socially connected to sadism and martyrdom; Even this type believes that the source of the blessing is outside him, but he will try to get it from others by stealing or by force of arm, because he always believes that the neighbor's grass is greener, and that he cannot create good things for himself. His slogans are "Stolen water will sweeten" and "I take from the world what I need".
The compulsive-hamster - the hamster, who is socially connected to the destructive and opinionated ; This type does not believe that he can receive from the world, and believes in the principle of conservation, storage and economy. He advocates orderliness and precision to eliminate the threat of the outside world breaking into his fortified position. His motto is "there is nothing new under the sun".
The Marketing-Fashionable - The Marketing; Interpersonal relationships are derived according to the consumer approach of supply and demand and rating , which is related in the social sense to indifference and fairness; This type sees itself as both a seller and a commodity, and develops for itself the qualities that the "market" requires. Characterizes the marketing personality emptiness and lack of uniqueness, so that nothing will conflict with the demands of the future market.
And only one is effective:

The manufacturer - the healthy and effective solution for a person, which is related in the social sense to the productive love and judgment, and to independence, the exercise of kosher and abilities, belonging, self-control and identity . This type, who believes that growth and self-realization are a goal that should never be subordinated to other goals, Trying with the power of his intelligence and effort to realize and fulfill the personal potential and virtues that are hidden in him. He fulfills his obligations to himself, and his motto is "Be true to yourself."
Fromm distinguished between negative freedom ("freedom from") - man's liberation from the control of nature and society, and positive freedom ("freedom there") - an active attitude of human brotherhood and spontaneous activity of love and work that binds man to the world. In his view, the gap between these two freedoms is what causes the main problem of man, who is freed from previous shackles, but is unable to fill the gap created by a positive choice.[7]In Fromm's view, nothing is superior to the human self, and so he saw positive freedom as freedom for self-fulfillment , and human growth and self-realization are a super-goal that cannot be subordinated to other goals.[6]Fromm called on man to make choices and educate her to be spontaneous, original and independent without fear of selfishness or anarchy , for in a state of positive freedom to man, this will manifest the forces of growth, expansion and expression of human qualities inherent in him. On the other hand, precisely in a situation where the individual has suppressed his spontaneity and is blocked, isolated, doubtful, helpless and his life frustrated - he will be led to destruction and long for power or surrender.