The Sane Society
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The Sane Society is a continuation and extension of the brilliant psychiatric concepts Erich Fromm first formulated in Escape from Freedom; it is also, in many ways, an answer to Freud's Civilization and its Discontents. Fromm examines man's escape into overconformity and the danger of robotism in contemporary industrial society: modern humanity has, he maintains, been alienated from the world of their own creation. Here Fromm offers a complete and systematic exploration of his "humanistic psychoanalysis." In so doing, he counters the profound pessimism for our future that Freud expressed and sets forth the goals of a society in which the emphasis is on each person and on the social measures designed to further function as a responsible individual.
these needs are likewise imperative and must be satisﬁed. But inasmuch as man is human, the satisfaction of these instinctual needs is not suﬃcient to make him happy; they are not even suﬃcient to make him sane. The archimedic point of the speciﬁcally human dynamism lies in this uniqueness of the human situation; the understanding of man’s psyche must be based on the analysis of man’s needs stemming from the conditions of his existence. The problem, then, which the human race as well as each
World, Harcourt, Brace & Company, Inc., New York, p. 151. 33 34 the sane society the child can begin to love, that is to say, in H. S. Sullivan’s formulation, to feel that the needs of another person are as important as his own.6, 7 Primary narcissism is a normal phenomenon, conforming with the normal physiological and mental development of the child. But narcissism exists also in later stages of life (“secondary narcissism,” according to Freud), if the growing child fails to develop the
or later people will manage to break free. Unfortunately, however, what the inhabitants of the communist world were trying to get away from is much clearer than where they wanted to get to (that is, if we assume that it has to do with something more than just videorecorders and Coca-Cola). Laying bare the ills of communism does not, as many suppose, constitute a vindication of capitalism: “our” problems remain, and few have analysed them more thoroughly at a psychological level than Erich Fromm.
more marked poverty in the United States. Closely related to the increasing abolishment of economic suﬀering is the fact that the human and political situation of the worker has changed drastically. Largely through his unions, he has become a social “partner” of management. He cannot be ordered around, ﬁred, abused, as he was even thirty years ago. He certainly does not look up any more to the “boss” as if he were a higher and superior being. He neither worships him nor hates him, although he
in possession instead of in use. However, this satisfaction in possessing per se was more prominent in the nineteenth century; today most of the satisfaction is derived from possession of things-to-be-used rather than of things-to-be-kept. This does not alter the fact, however, that even in the pleasure of things-to-be-used the satisfaction of prestige is a paramount factor. The car, the refrigerator, the television set are for real, but also for conspicuous use. They confer status on the owner.