Erich Fromm Quotes

Erich Seligmann Fromm, 1900 – 1980

Born: 23 March 1900, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse-Nassau, Prussia, Germany
Died: 18 March 1980, Muralto, Locarno, Ticino, Switzerland

Born to Orthodox Jewish parents, he began his academic career as a student of jurisprudence at the University of Frankfurt am Main in 1918, then transferred to the University of Heidelberg to study sociology in 1919. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Heidelberg in 1922, and trained as a psychoanalyst at Frieda Reichmann’s psychoanalytic sanatorium during the mid 1920s, beginning his clinical practice in 1927. In 1930, he joined the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research and finished his psychoanalytical training.

During the 1930s, he saw the threat that the rise of the Nazi party posed and fled Germany, moving first to Geneva, Switzerland and then to Columbia University in New York in 1934. There, he met one of the most important influences on his life and work, psychoanalyst Karen Horney. The two were both professionally compatible, with Horney being able to explain certain aspects of psychoanalysis and Fromm providing a firm basis in sociology, and attracted on a personal level. Their relationship did not last, however, ending in the late 1930s. Fromm left Columbia, and became part of the faculty at Bennington College in 1941. In 1943, he helped to form the New York branch of the Washington School of Psychology, and co-founded the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology in 1946.

In 1949, he left New York and moved to Mexico City, becoming a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and establishing the psychoanalytic section of their medical school. While teaching there, he was also a professor of psychology at Michigan State University from 1957 until 1961, and an adjunct professor of psychology at New York University after 1962. He retired from UNAM in 1965, and at the Mexican Society of Psychoanalysis (SMP) until 1974. Throughout, he continued to have his own clinical practice and published a series of books. In 1974, he left Mexico City for Muralto, Switzerland, where he lived until his death.

Erich Fromm quotes:

All men are in need of help and depend on one another. Human solidarity is the necessary condition for the unfolding of any one individual.
    Erich Fromm – The Art of Loving (1956)

As we ascend the social ladder, viciousness wears a thicker mask.
    Erich Fromm

Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ourselves.
    Erich Fromm

Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self.
    Erich Fromm

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
    Erich Fromm

Critical and radical thought will only bear fruit when it is blended with the most precious quality man is endowed with — the love of life.
    Erich Fromm – The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973)

Dreams – A microscope through which we look at the hidden occurrences in our soul.
    Erich Fromm

Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines.
    Erich Fromm

Envy, jealousy, ambition, any kind of greed are passions; love is an action, the practice of human power, which can be practiced only in freedom and never as a result of compulsion.
    Erich Fromm – The Art of Loving (1956)

Erotic love begins with separateness, and ends in oneness. Motherly love begins with oneness, and leads to separateness.
    Erich Fromm

Even good deeds by the enemy are considered a sign of particular devilishness, meant to deceive us and the world, while our bad deeds are necessary and justified by our noble goals which they serve.
    Erich Fromm – The Art of Loving (1956)

Exploitation and manipulation produce boredom and triviality; they cripple man, and all factors that make man into a psychic cripple turn him also into a sadist or a destroyer.
    Erich Fromm – The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973)

Fairness means not to use fraud and trickery in the exchange of commodities and services and the exchange of feelings.
    Erich Fromm – The Art of Loving (1956)

Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.
    Erich Fromm – Escape from Freedom (1941)

I believe that love is the main key to open the doors to the “growth” of man. Love and union with someone or something outside of oneself, union that allows one to put oneself into relationship with others, to feel one with others, without limiting the sense of integrity and independence.
    Erich Fromm – Credo (1965)

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