Rus Articles Journal

“Believer in the person“: who such Erich Fromm?

on March 23 - birthday of Erich Fromm (1900-1980), one of the most great social psychologists of the XX century, the creator of “humanistic psychoanalysis“, one of founders of a neofreydizm (along with K. Horni and G. Sullivan).

For what he is famous?

We will begin with the fact that Fromm entered the term “consumer society“. And there was it in 20 - x years of the last century, long before modern boom of consumption. Modern society rightfully carries this name - that is, the scientist was not mistaken in forecasts of development of society. Already in the first half of the 20th century it described “social character“ of “the person consuming“.

I could not find out when appeared and who thought up the concept “social character“, but Fromm`s merit in the analysis of this phenomenon is undoubted.

In classical psychoanalysis it is considered that types of character are formed in connection with passing of certain stages of psychosexual development. Fromm, having taken the same types of character as a basis, connected them with influence of this or that type of society. The social system “adjusts“ the individual to itself, forming that type of social character which will be demanded in this society. In fact, social character is an adaptation of the individual to society.

In general, Fromm allocated productive type of character and four unproductive: receptive, authoritative, nakopitelsky and market (we will not begin to stop on this subject which should devote separate article). I will tell only that character is a complex of stereotypes replacing to the person instincts. We arrive “according to character“ - here only character is not given us initially at all, and is formed under the influence of society on the one hand and personal features with another.

In initial human nature Fromm saw not only biological instincts (what orthodox psychoanalysis inclined to). Still in 20 - e years the psychoanalyst Fromm started talking about the person as about the being having besides biological, also specifically human nature. In its concept human nature is not limited to biological instincts. Fromm saw in the person, besides hunger and a sexual instinct, and other basic requirements. For example, aspiration initially inherent in us to realization of the creative potential. Refusal of disclosure of specifically human wants attracts not smaller sincere sufferings, than impossibility to realize requirements biological.

Exactly the inability to coordinate biological and human also makes an essence of the internal conflict, internal division of human nature. Having received freedom by nature, being not determined by instincts, the person is not able this freedom to dispose. Return to a former unconscious state, to “a nature bosom“, to animal extramental simplicity, is impossible. But there is other way - to refuse freedom, having become part something bigger, having identified itself with a social group, the state, a social role. Such identification (in fact, that “social character“) really relieves us of need to make own vital choice. At the same time it leaves us an opportunity to develop, realize itself, only in the certain framework provided by this role. But social character is generated by requirements of concrete society which usually does not need independent individuals. Such character is urged not to help the person to become happy, and to make it convenient in society.

Besides, the feeling of part something bigger relieves us of feeling of loneliness. Person, of course, being social. But the feeling of separateness from other people, by nature, from the world is peculiar to the person and is connected with self-understanding. It is impossible to return to a safe dosoznatelny state, but it is possible to become part of the nation, the country, social group... And here you not one, let and at the price of “trim“ of part of the personality who is not fitting into the established framework.

Fromm characterizes these ways of self-identification as “flight from freedom“ (the book published in 1939 quite so is called). Also offers other way: the new unification with the world is possible only consciously, through realization of the egoism, the original requirements; a unification with society through productive work and love. Quite so negative “freedom from“ turns in productive “freedom for“: for realization human (but not animal, biological) potential, for establishment of the interpersonal relations based on mutual knowledge and respect.

By the way, Fromm nearly the first of psychologists - practicians started talking about love as the phenomenon which is subject to studying. Separate work “Art is devoted to it to love“ where necessary components of original love are listed: care, responsibility, respect, knowledge. I especially would note the last: knowledge of object of love. Without knowledge, understanding of an essence of the one whom we love, are impossible original care (as it is possible to care, without knowing original needs of darling?) respect for it. Without knowledge we love not the real person, but the idea of it.

Fromm and questions of belief and religion concerned. The descendant of rabbis well familiar with iudeo - christian teaching, Fromm addressed also the Buddhism. In world religions he was interested in the vital beginning, efficiency, a possibility of establishment of new harmony between the person and the world. The psychological concept of the myth about fall; the humanistic beginning in the doctrine of antiquated prophets; a social situation at the time of emergence of Christianity; idea of Messianizm; evolution of Christian ideas is only the main subjects of research.

Fromm saw the same humanistic ideas also in Marxism which was strongly distorted by then. Fromm popularized what considered as the original, initial doctrine of Marx, placing emphasis not on economic, and on its humanistic parties.

And here Fromm subjected psychoanalytic ideas to serious processing. At that time the consciousness - “occupation layer“ of mentality - seemed as if a superstructure over a chasm of the wild passions breaking through control in the form of symptoms, dreams and casual actions. It was supposed that influence of culture is urged to take deep instinctive requirements under control, to give it to be realized in a legal, civilized form. By and large, in such picture of the world the full-fledged satisfaction of deep requirements is impossible - such is a payment for civilization. But where predecessors saw only biological instinctive requirements (“hunger and sexuality“), Fromm finds not less powerful and integral specifically human wants which dissatisfaction leads to personal distortions. These are requirements: in communications with other people, in the navigation system, in self-identity, in creativity … “The anatomy of human disruptiveness“ - volume research of problems of aggression became

the Latest work of Fromm. The essential part of the book is occupied by polemic with the adherents of instinktivistsky approach considering aggression (for example, collecting and demanding a periodic exit) with norm. Fromm remains true to and the faith in the person. Disruptiveness, in his opinion, is not inherent in us at all and is only a consequence of serious personal distortions. He in detail analyzes biographies and character of the persons who caused a stir in destructive manifestations - in particular, Hitler. Of course, they are zaochna and are not indisputable, but unambiguously deserve attention.

And as usual, Fromm carefully classifies the studied subject, allocating a number of essentially various kinds of aggression. First of all, it is aggression good-quality and malignant. The first has a set of versions: it is defensive aggression; game (for example, in sports or other meets); aggression as self-affirmation. All these types of aggression in principle are peculiar also to animals. Malignant aggression is not connected neither with a survival, nor with a zhizneutverzhdeniye. On the contrary, its manifestations are combined with cruelty and destructiveness, disruptiveness. This form of aggression is specifically human.

In general Fromm was the fine qualifier, differing in magnificent formulations. In psychological dictionaries you will meet much it definitions, capacious and exact. And the concept of healthy society developed by Fromm looks not utopian. Only everything, as usual, rests against a human factor …