By alienation is meant a mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his world, as the creator of his own acts -- but his acts and their consequences have become his masters, whom he obeys, or whom he may even worship. The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, is experienced as things are experienced; with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the world outside positively.
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Authority is not a quality one person has, in the sense that he has property or physical qualities. Authority refers to an interpersonal relation in which one person looks upon another as somebody superior to him.
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Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.
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Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.
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Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
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Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.
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To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.
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Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of commodities, so the social process requires standardization of man, and this standardization is called equality.
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Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
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Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others.
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The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots. True enough, robots do not rebel. But given man's nature, robots cannot live and remain sane, they become Golems, they will destroy their world and themselves because they cannot stand any longer the boredom of a meaningless life.
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Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.
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Man may be defined as the animal that can say I, that can be aware of himself as a separate entity.
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Integrity simple means not violating one's own identity.
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Reason is man's faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man's ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought. Reason is man's instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man's instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man.
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The kind of relatedness to the world may be noble or trivial, but even being related to the basest kind of pattern is immensely preferable to being alone.
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Immature love says: I love you because I need you. Mature love says: I need you because I love you.
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Love is often nothing but a favorable exchange between two people who get the most of what they can expect, considering their value on the personality market.
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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
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We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them.
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Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. Patriotism is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by patriotism I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one's own nation, which is the concern with the nation's spiritual as much as with its material welfare --never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.
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What most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal.
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If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?
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The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind -- not the fiend or the sadist.
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In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead. In the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.
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There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by unfolding of his powers.
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Just as love is an orientation which refers to all objects and is incompatible with the restriction to one object, so is reason a human faculty which must embrace the whole of the world with which man is confronted.
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The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.
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The pace of science forces the pace of technique. Theoretical physics forces atomic energy on us; the successful production of the fission bomb forces upon us the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb. We do not choose our problems, we do not choose our products; we are pushed, we are forced -- by what? By a system which has no purpose and goal transcending it, and which makes man its appendix.
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The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.
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Modern man thinks he loses something - time - when he does not do things quickly. Yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains -- except kill it.
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The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.
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Man's biological weakness is the condition of human culture.
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Fromm, Erich

No biography at present.

33 quotations