Quotes by Erich Fromm

Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.
– Erich Fromm

Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.
– Erich Fromm

To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.
– Erich Fromm

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

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

To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.
– Erich Fromm

Men are born equal but they are also born different.
– Erich Fromm

Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.
– Erich Fromm (1900-1980) Psychoanalyst and social philosopher.

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.
– Erich Fromm

There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.
– Erich Fromm

Modern man has transformed himself into a commodity; he experiences his life energy as an investment with which he should make the highest profit, considering his position and the situation on the personality market. He is alienated from himself, from his fellow men and from nature. His main aim is profitable exchange of his skills, knowledge, and of himself, his “personality package” with others who are equally intent on a fair and profitable exchange. Life has no goal except the one to move, no principle except the one of fair exchange, no satisfaction except the one to consume.
– Erich Fromm

If other people do not understand our behavior – so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being “asocial” or “irrational” in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to “explain,” which usually implies that the explanation be “understood,” i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself – to his reason and his conscience – and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.
– Erich Fromm

A person who has not been completely alienated, who has remained sensitive and able to feel, who has not lost the sense of dignity, who is not yet “for sale”, who can still suffer over the suffering of others, who has not acquired fully the having mode of existence – briefly, a person who has remained a person and not become a thing – cannot help feeling lonely, powerless, isolated in present-day society. He cannot help doubting himself and his own convictions, if not his sanity. He cannot help suffering, even though he can experience moments of joy and clarity that are absent in the life of his “normal” contemporaries. Not rarely will he suffer from neurosis that results from the situation of a sane man living in an insane society, rather than that of the more conventional neurosis of a sick man trying to adapt himself to a sick society. In the process of going further in his analysis, i.e. of growing to greater independence and productivity, his neurotic symptoms will cure themselves.
– Erich Fromm

The only truly affluent are those who do not want more than they have.
– Erich Fromm

Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.
– Erich Fromm

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