Erich Fromm
Psychologist, Psychoanalyst and Social Philosopher

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

to Volume 3 Table of Contents


March 23, 1900, Frankfurt, Germany, 7:30 PM (Source: Birth Certificate)
Died of a heart attack on March 18, 1980, Muralto, Switzerland.


(Ascendant Libra; MC Cancer; Sun in Aries with Mercury retrograde also in Aries; Moon is in Sagittarius conjunct Chiron, also in Sagittarius; Jupiter, Uranus, and NN all in Sagittarius, and conjuncted; Venus in Taurus conjunct Vesta, also in Taurus; Mars in Pisces; Saturn in Capricorn; Neptune in Gemini, with Pluto also in Gemini conjunct the SN)       

Eric Fromm was a distinguished psychoanalyst and social philosopher. His books were widely read in the 1950’s and 1960’s, especially by those outside academic circles. An unorthodox and eclectic thinker, the scope of his thought included many disciplines. The more orthodox adherents of these schools of these schools of thought invariably found his theories controversial, especially the orthodox psychoanalysts.

Fromm was raised in an devout Jewish household descended on both sides from illustrious rabbinic families, he received an intensive religious education. The name “Fromm”, in German, means “pious”. The role models for Fromm’s intellectual growth were all scholarly Jews, and he studied personally with a Rabbi who was a keen student of Jewish mysticism. Even as an early disciple of the founder of Psychoanalysis, the atheistic Sigmund Freud, Fromm did not abandon his sympathy for a religious understanding of life, though at the age of twenty-six he rejected the religious observances in which he had been raised.

Fromm's life was suffused by a sense of mission, and he consecrated himself to the historical project of human emancipation. He was a keen, perceptive (though compassionate) critic of human society. He understood that human “neurosis” was not rooted exclusively in biology (as Freud and his disciples thought), but were caused, as well, by the pervasive presence of dysfunctional social patterns (i.e., “socially patterned defects”). These patterns prevented the socially-conditioned person from expressing his full human nature. In fact, in order to reduce friction within the social milieu and to benefit from the rewards offered by society to those who conform to its sanctioned patterns of thought and behavior, the acculturated human being would very often seek to escape from the deeper possibilities and potentials of his individuality. Through this flight from personal responsibility, the conformist with a weak sense of individual identity succeeded in allaying his existential anxieties at the price of self-determination.

From was a deeply religious man all his life. He was clearly open to “spirituality” in many of its forms. At one point he cooperated with the famous Zen school, D.T. Suzuki in preparation of the book, May Man Prevail. But; Fromm never abandoned the insights of his psychoanalytic training which allowed him to see deeply into the unconscious causes of many of societies psychological and social ills. Outside the psychoanalytic establishment, his lucid and inspiring writings were enthusiastically received and formed part of a gradual liberation in consciousness which preceded and nourished that ‘explosion’ of new ideas called the “consciousness revolution” of the 1960’s and 1970’s (occurring especially in the United States and parts of Europe).

Careful readers of Eric Fromm will realize that he saw into modern man’s insanities, and the insanities of the society which molded him and thwarted him. His continuing conviction was that an enlightened response to such conditioning was possible and that man could break free of the bonds of illusion which conditioned him—for the most part unconsciously.

From the time he moved to the United States in 1933 (fleeing the Nazi persecution of Jews and intellectuals), he because continuously more progressive and controversial in his thinking and writing. This progressivism (including a vigorous support of the “Peace Movement”) lasted for almost fifty years until his death. Eric Fromm can be understood as an enemy man’s alienation from his deeper self, and a proponent of individual, social and “existential” sanity based upon wise ethics, self-understanding and the assumption of individual responsibility.

Some of his better known words are: Escape from Freedom, 1941; Man for Himself, 1947; Psychoanalysis and Religion, 1950; The Sane Society, 1955; The Art of Loving, 1956;  May Man Prevail?, 1961; Beyond the Chains of Illusion, 1962; The Revolution of Hope, 1968; The Crisis of Psychoanalysis, 1970.

A Summary of Essential Points to Bear in Mind when
Interpreting the Astrological Chart of Eric Fromm

a.       We will hypothesize that the soul is focussed on the second ray of Love-Wisdom, with the wisdom line emphasized (though it is to be remember that one of Fromm’s most popular books was The Art of Loving. Fromm’s writings bespeak a deep experience as an observer of the human condition. His writings demonstrate a wise perspective steeped in religious and ethical philosophy strengthened by the insights of twentieth century psychology.

b.       Two of the second ray constellations/signs are emphasized in his chart. Pisces holds Mars, the exoteric ruler of his Aries Sun, and second ray Gemini holds both Pluto and Neptune (a planet with a high second ray association).

c.       There is much of the third ray implicit in his work. The Jewish Tradition from which he derived so much of his early conditioning and intellectual training, is strongly upon the third ray of Creative Intelligence.

d.       Fromm’s Libra Ascendant confers the third ray as does third ray Saturn in third ray Capricorn, placed in the third house of the chart.

e.       When considering the union of the second and third ray, a reasonable case can be made for a third ray soul and second ray personality. The wisdom line of the second ray is, however, resonant with the third ray (and the first). Much will depend upon how we see Fromm’s role and who we find to be his intellectual associates (were they Freud, Jung, Adler, Assagioli?). Although, not trained as a physician (as were Freud, Jung and Assagioli) he did engage in psychoanalytic practice (which is therapeutic) and his writings were, shall we say, ‘philosophically therapeutic’ in nature. His purpose was to heal the ills of society. The second ray soul emphasis does make sense (according as well with his continuing faith, even though he incorporated Marxists ideas into his theories).

f.        The strong Sagittarian emphasis (three major planets, the NN and Chiron) emphasize the abstract mind (attuned generically to the third ray) and a strong Gemini (the third sign) emphasizes the versatility of mind associated with the third of the ray energies.

g.       We can isolate a significant sixth ray as well, given Fromm’s commitment to the emancipation of humanity from its psychological illusions. For an Aries person, sixth ray Mars is always a significant factor, and it is placed in sometime sixth ray Pisces. Sagittarius, the strongest of the sixth ray signs/constellations holds Jupiter (its ruler), Uranus and the Moon, as well as Chiron (with which it has special resonance) and the forward directing North Node. We can see some of the contributants to Fromm’s progressivism.

h.       The energies of Fromm’s Aries Sun-sign reinforced his pioneering attitude, helping him rebel against the psychoanalytic establishment (well represented in his chart by conservative Saturn in conservative Saturn in the third house of mind). He surely had his orthodox and traditionalist aspects, represented by a very strong Saturn, but we can read this position in relation to his continuing interest in ethics and morality. With strong Aries he was always ready to break with orthodoxy (whether religious or intellectual) and force his own rather eclectic path.

i.         We note that the Aries Sun is placed in the therapeutic sixth house, contributing to his strength as a social critic.

j.         Mars, the exoteric ruler of Aries is on the cusp of the fifth/sixth house. It is often the position of one “with a mission”, and a sense that something or someone can be “saved”. We can easily see that Fromm’s writings were no mere academic exercise, but were presented with the purpose of changing society and healing its ills. Pisces is also a medical sign, and Mars is placed on the cusp of a medical house, so we cannot overlook the therapeutic intent of his thought, or the degree to which he was “moved” and moved others in the cause of correcting the perceived wrongs (i.e., dysfunctional patterns).

k.       Incidentally, from an physiognomical perspective, the placement of ruling planets is very important in defining appearance. You will note the “bow” in Fromm’s nose. This, different from the “Roman nose” often produced by Leo and Capricorn (especially when functioning with the first ray) is found in relation to Pisces. Mars, the exoterically ruling planet of the Aries Sun-sign is placed in Pisces. Hence the feature. Of course, Saturn in ‘boney’ Capricorn helps.

l.         When we speak of Fromm as a ‘social therapist’ we must note the conjunction of mentoring/guiding Chiron in Sagittarius with the aspiring Sagittarian Moon in the third house of thought. There is something about Fromm which seems to know the ‘right direction’, and he wishes to point the way (Chiron) to others.

m.     There are those who heal the physical body, those who heal the emotional body, and some have the task of ridding the mental body from debilitating illusions. Eric Fromm belonged to this last category. This Chiron placement is about releasing us from the conditioning (Moon) of our prevailing thoughtforms (third house), and pointing the way to a more enlightened (Sagittarius) perspective.

n.       It should be noted that Neptune opposes Chiron, adding a subtle, intangible quality to the healing suggested. Neptune is associated with intuition and the buddhic plane (the plane of harmony and ‘healing’). To guide others, Fromm was relying upon some very deep intuitions. This Neptune placement tells us something about his innate mysticism, and why he never abandoned it. It is a ‘mystical’ placement, whereas the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction opposing it by sign is more ‘occult’.

o.       If we wish to locate an energy stream contributing to Fromm’s breadth of philosophical understanding and his eclecticism, we have but to note the conjunction between comprehensive Jupiter and iconoclastic Uranus, in perspectivizing Sagittarius. An original and comprehensive point of view is what we may expect, especially as these two are united in the house of mind. We have these two planets placed in Sagittarius, one of the signs of “higher mind”, but expressing through the third house of “lower mind”. We see here the possibility of antahkaranic work—the bridge between the lower and higher mind.

p.       Fromm was clearly a social visionary, a ‘utopian’, but a very ‘sane’ one. He saw the possibilities of a truly sane society, filled with the possibility of beneficent consummation for its members. He was possessed of a benevolently revolutionary vision. Heinrich Himmler, who had the very same conjunction in the tenth house (for they were born in the same year) was also a utopian, and foresaw an entirely new social order based on an internationally triumphant Nazism. Himmler’s vision was malign and Fromm’s (based on love, wisdom and illusion-dispelling understanding) was benefic. The planetary energies are neither good nor bad in themselves; the beneficence or maleficence of their expression depends, in the case of humanity, upon the spiritual quality of the human being who utilizes them.

q.       We note the presence of the North Node in Sagittarius conjuncted to Fromm’s Uranus and also Jupiter. Indeed he was to be an author and a thinker, and his mission (indicated by that Sagittarius NN) was to help people see more clearly—both their possibilities and their illusions.

r.        The Neptune/Pluto wide conjunction in Gemini in the ninth house, shows Fromm’s concern with glamors and illusions (though the word glamor would not have been used by him). Through Neptune, he appreciated well the deception imposed by “socially patterned defects”, and also the stream of buddhic intuition which could dispel such illusions. That stream was pervaded by a stream of love, for Neptune is the “God of Reasoning” and represents “Pure Reason” in a buddhic sense. Pluto on the other hand, is the will to destroy illusions, but digging deeply into them (the analytic method) and proving them to be insubstantial. It is interesting how much like the glyph for Sagittarius the true glyph for Pluto appears. The opposition between utopian Jupiter/Uranus and destructive Pluto works as a ‘unit of revelation’. From destroyed through acute reasoning and penetrating analysis those illusions which impeded the way to a more optimal functioning of man and society.

s.       Some of Fromm’s power of critique can be seen in the close contraparallel between assertive Mars and Mercury the planet of thought and speech.

t.        Mercury is the esoteric ruler of the Sun-sign, Aries, and is placed in Aries, and thus esoterically dignified. For the advanced individual, Mercury in Aries confers originality of thought and has special relation to the destruction, as by fire, of the “jungles of illusion”. We note as well that Mercury is retrograde indicating one who does not think in a strictly orthodox manner, one with his own style of thinking. The wide trine from Jupiter to Mercury surely expands the thought, and Uranus, also involved through “translation of light” adds to the originality—indicated in this chart in a number of ways already mentioned.

u.       Libra is the Rising-sign, and the probable decanate is the second ruled by Saturn. Here we find a soul-orientation towards the sanity and true normality which would result in ethical behavior and right human relations. Fromm was a pioneering individual, ever forging ahead with his own agenda, but he strongly believed in the social contract—not the contract of “conformity”, but a contract involving real mutuality and cooperation by authentic, self-directing individuals.

v.       There is something of the strict teacher in Eric Fromm, pointing out the dangers of our present, stultifying crystallizations (Saturn strong) and offering us an ethical and edifying structure to replace the stultification (Saturn again).

w.     Issues of conformity and non-conformity were prominent in his psyche and his social philosophy. We can see why. Saturn (the planet of the conformist—and not all conformity if “bad”) is powerful through his placement in Capricorn which it rules exoterically and esoterically, and its rulership of the middle decanate of rising Libra). However, Uranus is the esoteric ruler of Libra and the hierarchical ruler of his Sun-sign Aries. The first is certainly important, far more so than the latter.

x.       Uranus in Libra alters the social contract to break Saturnian stultification. Fromm was writing about a potentially new society (Libra, in conjunction with visionary Sagittarius). We note that Uranus, as the Ascendant’s esoteric ruler is placed in forward-looking Sagittarius, so the social structure conceived was definitely a departure from the one existing. Uranus comes to change the status-quo.

y.       The question of the individual’s (Aries) role in society (Libra) was a major theme. Could the individual be not-aggressive (Libra) yet still self-directing (Aries), and still retain his individuality (Aries) without being like a “blind sheep” (Aries)? Could a new society (Libra and Uranus) be fashioned in such a way to promote the expression of each individual’s core identity (Aries) and yet lead to peaceful, cooperative and progressive social interaction (Libra)?

z.       We cannot enter this chart extensively, discussing the interesting issues of timing and many of the finer points. It should be noted that a number of the fixed stars have made their contribution to Eric Fromm’s energy system. The nebulae Acumen and Aculeus are prominent (Acumen conjuncting the Moon and Aculeus, Chiron). Sharpness of intellect is associated with both as well as issues of “blindness”. In this case we find Fromm revealing the blindness of his contemporaries and, as a result, enduring their ‘stinging attacks’ (for these two nebulae are found in the stringing tail of the Scorpion. Mirzam, the star called “the Announcer” is also closely involved with Chiron (and Venus) indicating the importance of the guiding Chiron function, “announcing the way” for those who need guidance through the maze of dysfunctional social conditioning. Pluto conjuncts Rigel, Who is a teacher and educator. The destructive influence of Pluto clears the way to the great illumination which Rigel represents. There are several other star contacts for which study is recommended.

aa.   Parallels of declination should also be studied. There is a great configuration of opposing parallels (one group contraparallel to the other) placed in twenty-two degrees north/south.  Within this complex we find an exact parallel of the Moon and Uranus (transformation of the lunar nature, and rebellion against traditionalism and orthodoxy) and a very close connection between MC, South Node and Neptune, strengthening the transcendental dimension.

bb.   We see in Eric Fromm a spiritualized intellectual. He was able to synthesize many different streams of thought into a coherent, if eclectic, whole. He was also able to blend the demands of the mystic and the intellectual (or in terms of the Ageless Wisdom) of the mystic and the occultist.

cc.   We might say that in relation to the Ten Seed Groups, his work was with the “Observers of Reality” (second group) and also with the “Psychologists” (group eight). One of his significant purposes was the dissipation of glamor and illusion, and this he undertook not so much with occult means as with the power of thought.

dd.   Living true to his Venus (planet of the soul) in illuminating Taurus, he was a bearer of the light (a committed light bearer, one might say, as Vesta was conjuncted to the Venus position). That light was taken into the dark places of the human psyche represented by the eighth house.

ee.   As we contemplate his life and work, we are obliged to recognize one who has conquered many of his own glamors and illusions and is committed to seeing the same cleansing performed on a larger, social scale. It is the work of one who has at least achieved the second initiation, and is working therapeutically on the astral and mental bodies of humanity.

ff.     Fromm seemed to be cognizant of a great choice (Libra) confronting humanity—between freedom and slavery, between individuality and conformity, between enlightenment and illusion. It was his task to present the alternatives (Libra) and help humanity make the correct decision. We must judge that in terms of that aspect of the Divine Plane with which he was associated, his work was successful.


Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ourselves. If we do not understand the language in which they are written, we miss a great deal of what we know and tell ourselves in those hours when we are not busy manipulating the outside world.
(Neptune in Gemini opposition Chiron & Moon.)

In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.

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.
(Sun square Moon.)

The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots.
(Uranus in Sagittarius conjunct North Node.)

To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.

The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent.

The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind - not the fiend or the sadist.

Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.
(Sagittarian Moon conjunct Saturn in Capricorn.)

There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or to be acted out under the guise of virtue.

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

There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers.

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

Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of commodities, so the social process requires standardization of man, and this standardization is called equality.
(Libra Ascendant.)

Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?
(Stellium in Sagittarius in 3rd house, opposition Neptune & Pluto in Gemini in 9th house.)

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

The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.

In the 19th century inhumanity meant cruelty; in the 20th century it means schizoid self-alienation.

Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

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.

A vast sector of modern advertising... does not appeal to reason but to emotion; like any other kind of hypnoid suggestion, it tries to impress its objects emotionally and then make them submit intellectually.
(Neptune conjunct Pluto in Gemini in 9th house.)

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.

We all dream; we do not understand our dreams, yet we act as if nothing strange goes on in our sleep minds, strange at least by comparison with the logical, purposeful doings of our minds when we are awake.

There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started out with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet which fails so regularly, as love.
(Venus in Taurus in 8th house.)

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

One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.
(Sagittarian Moon conjunct Saturn in Capricorn.)

Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self.

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

What most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal.

The capacity to be puzzled is the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science.

Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.'

If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to all others, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism.

Sanity is only that which is within the frame of reference of conventional thought.

There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.

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.
(Venus in Taurus.)

If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?

In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead. In the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
(Jupiter in Sagittarius opposition Pluto. Venus in Taurus.)

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.

Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.

The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.

We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them.

The duty to be alive is the same as the duty to become oneself, to develop into an individual one potentially is.

Happiness is a man's greatest achievement; it is the response of his total personality to a productive orientation toward himself and the world outside.Hate is a product of the unfulfilled life.

Destructiveness is the outcome of an unlived life.

Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.
(Mars in Pisces trine Venus.)

The right to express our thoughts means something only if we are able to have thoughts of our own
(Uranus in Sagittarius trine Mercury.)

That man can destroy life is just as miraculous a feat as that he can create it, for life is the miracle, the inexplicable. In the act of destruction, man sets himself above life; he transcends himself as a creature. Thus, the ultimate choice for a man, inasmuch as he is driven to transcend himself, is to create or to destroy, to love or to hate.

As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found— in himself.

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.

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.

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.

Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others.

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

Man may be defined as the animal that can say ''I,'' that can be aware of himself as a separate entity.

Integrity simply means not violating one's own identity.

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.
(Stellium in Sagittarius in 3rd house, opposition Neptune & Pluto in 9th house.)

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.

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.
(Pluto opposition Uranus.)

The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.

Man's biological weakness is the condition of human culture.

The history of man is a graveyard of great cultures that came to catastrophic ends because of their incapacity for planned, rational, voluntary reaction to challenge
(Mars at point of T-square to Pluto conjunct South Node and Uranus conjunct North Node.)

Today I begin to understand what love must be, if it exists.... When we are parted, we each feel the lack of the other half of ourselves. We are incomplete like a book in two volumes of which the first has been lost. That is what I imagine love to be: incompleteness in absence.

Respect is not fear and awe; it...[is]the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me.

In the dominant Western religious system, the love of God is essentially the same as the belief in God, in God’s existence, God’s justice, God’s love. The love of God is essentially a thought experience. In the Eastern religions and in mysticism, the love of God is an intense feeling experience of oneness, inseparably linked with the expression of this love in every act of living.
(Neptune in 9th house.)

The mother’s and father’s attitudes toward the child correspond to the child’s own needs.... Mother has the function of making him secure in life, father has the function of teaching him, guiding him to cope with those problems with which the particular society the child has been born into confronts him.

The two most far-reaching critical theories at the beginning of the latest phase of industrial society were those of Marx and Freud. Marx showed the moving powers and the conflicts in the social-historical process. Freud aimed at the critical uncovering of the inner conflicts. Both worked for the liberation of man, even though Marx’s concept was more comprehensive and less time-bound than Freud’s.
The sadistic person is as dependent on the submissive person as the latter is on the former; neither can live without the other. The difference is only that the sadistic person commands, exploits, hurts, humiliates, and that the masochistic person is commanded, exploited, hurt, humiliated. This is a considerable difference in a realistic sense; in a deeper emotional sense, the difference is not so great as that which they both have in common: fusion without integrity.

The same polarity of the male and female principle exists in nature; not only, as is obvious in animals and plants, but in the polarity of the two fundamental functions, that of receiving and penetrating. It is the polarity of earth and rain, of the river and the ocean, of night and day, of darkness and light, of matter and spirit.

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

Modern man, if he dared to be articulate about his concept of heaven, would describe a vision which would look like the biggest department store in the world, showing new things and gadgets, and himself having plenty of money with which to buy them. He would wander around open-mouthed in this heaven of gadgets and commodities, provided only that there were ever more and newer things to buy, and perhaps that his neighbors were just a little less privileged than he.

A new question has arisen in modern man's mind, the question, namely, whether life is worth living...No sensible answer can be given to the question...because the question does not make any sense.

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

"If it were not for hopes, the heart would break.

The aim of sadism is to transform a man into a thing, something animate into something inanimate, since by complete and absolute control the living loses one essential quality of life-freedom.

If faith cannot be reconciled with rational thinking, it has to be eliminated as an anachronistic remnant of earlier stages of culture and replaced by science dealing with facts and theories which are intelligible and can be validated.

Dreams - A microscope through which we look at the hidden occurrences in our soul.

Education is helping the child realize his potentialities.
(Stellium in Sagittarius in 3rd house.)

Men are born equal but they are also born different.


Erich FrommErich Fromm (March 23, 1900 – March 18, 1980) was an internationally renowned German-American psychologist and humanistic philosopher.

He began his career as an orthodox Freudian clinical psychologist in Berlin, Germany, but he emigrated to the United States on May 25, 1934, arriving in New York on May 31, 1934 and becoming a citizen of the United States on May 25, 1940. Fromm lived and worked in the United States until moving to Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1950 and spending most of the rest of his life working and teaching in Mexico. He moved to Muralto, Switzerland in 1974, and died at his home in 1980, five days before his eightieth birthday.

In 1918, Fromm spent two semesters studying jurisprudence at the University of Frankfurt am Main. During the summer semester of 1919, Fromm studied at the University of Heidelberg, where he switched from studying jurisprudence to studying sociology under Alfred Weber (brother of Max Weber), Karl Jaspers, and Heinrich Rickert. Fromm received his Ph.D. in sociology from Heidelberg in 1922, and completed his psychoanalytical training in 1930 at the Psychoanalytical Institute in Berlin. In that same year, he began his own clinical practice and joined the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, which moved to Geneva fleeing Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime, then, in 1934, to Columbia University in New York. After leaving Columbia, he helped form the New York Branch of the Washington School of Psychiatry in 1943, and in 1945 the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology.

When Fromm moved to Mexico City in 1950, he became a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and established a psychoanalytic section at the medical school there. He taught at the university until his retirement in 1965. Meanwhile, he taught as a professor of psychology at Michigan State University from 1957 to 1961 and as an adjunct professor of psychology at the graduate division of Arts and Sciences at New York University after 1962. All the while, Fromm maintained his own clinical practice and published a series of books.

Psychological theory
Beginning with his first seminal work, Escape from Freedom (known in Britain as The Fear of Freedom), first published in 1941, Fromm's writings were notable as much for their social and political commentary as for their philosophical and psychological underpinnings. His second seminal work, Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics, first published in 1947, was a continuation of Escape from Freedom. Taken together, these books outlined Fromm's theory of human character, which was a natural outgrowth of Fromm's theory of human nature. Fromm's most popular book was The Art of Loving, an international bestseller first published in 1956, which recapitulated and complemented the theoretical principles of human nature found in Escape from Freedom and Man for Himself, principles which were revisited in many of Fromm's other major works.

Central to Fromm's world view was his interpretation of the Talmud, which he began studying as a young man under Rabbi J. Horowitz and later studied under Rabbi Salman Baruch Rabinkow while working towards his doctorate in sociology at the University of Heidelberg and under Nehemia Nobel and Ludwig Krause while studying in Frankfurt. Fromm's grandfather and two great grandfathers on his father's side were rabbis, and a great uncle on his mother's side was a noted Talmudic scholar. However, Fromm turned away from orthodox Judaism in 1926 and turned towards secular interpretations of scriptural ideals.

The cornerstone of Fromm's humanistic philosophy is his interpretation of the biblical story of Adam and Eve's exile from the Garden of Eden. Drawing on his knowledge of the Talmud, Fromm pointed out that being able to distinguish between good and evil is generally considered to be a virtue, and that biblical scholars generally consider Adam and Eve to have sinned by disobeying God and eating from the Tree of Knowledge. However, departing from traditional religious orthodoxy, Fromm extolled the virtues of humans taking independent action and using reason to establish moral values rather than adhering to authoritarian moral values.

Beyond a simple condemnation of authoritarian value systems, Fromm used the story of Adam and Eve as an allegorical explanation for human biological evolution and existential angst, asserting that when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they became aware of themselves as being separate from nature while still being a part of it. This is why they felt "naked" and "ashamed": They had evolved into human beings, conscious of themselves, their own mortality, and their powerlessness before the forces of nature and society, and no longer united with the universe as they were in their instinctive, pre-human existence as animals. According to Fromm, the awareness of a disunited human existence is the source of all guilt and shame, and the solution to this existential dichotomy is found in the development of one's uniquely human powers of love and reason. However, Fromm so distinguished his concept of love from popular notions of love that his reference to this concept was virtually paradoxical.

Fromm considered love to be an interpersonal creative capacity rather than an emotion, and he distinguished this creative capacity from what he considered to be various forms of narcissistic neuroses and sado-masochistic tendencies that are commonly held out as proof of "true love." Indeed, Fromm viewed the experience of "falling in love" as evidence of one's failure to understand the true nature of love, which he believed always had the common elements of care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge. Drawing from his knowledge of the Talmud, Fromm pointed to the story of Jonah, who did not wish to save the residents of Nineveh from the consequences of their sin, as demonstrative of his belief that the qualities of care and responsibility are generally absent from most human relationships. Fromm also asserted that few people in modern society had respect for the autonomy of their fellow human beings, much less the objective knowledge of what other people truly wanted and needed.

The culmination of Fromm's social and political philosophy was his book The Sane Society, published in 1955, which argued in favor of communitarian socialism. Building primarily upon the works of Karl Marx, Fromm was the first political and social commentator in this school of thought to introduce the ideal of personal freedom, more frequently found in the writings of classic liberals, such as Frederic Bastiat, and objectivists, such as Ayn Rand. Fromm's unique brand of socialism rejected both Western capitalism and Soviet communism, which he saw as dehumanizing and bureaucratic social structures that resulted in a virtually universal modern phenomenon of alienation.

Fromm was very active in American politics. He joined the American Socialist Party in the 1950s, and did his best to help them provide an alternative viewpoint to the prevailing McCarthyism of the time, a viewpoint that was best expressed in his 1961 paper May Man Prevail? An Inquiry into the Facts and Fictions of Foreign Policy. However, as a co-founder of SANE, Fromm's strongest political interest was in the international peace movement, fighting against the nuclear arms race and America's involvement in the Vietnam war. After supporting then Senator Eugene McCarthy's losing bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Fromm more or less retreated from the American political scene, although he did write a paper in 1974 entitled Remarks on the Policy of Détente for a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Erich Fromm was born in 1900 in Frankfurt, Germany. His father was a business man and, according to Erich, rather moody. His mother was frequently depressed. In other words, like quite a few of the people we've looked at, his childhood wasn't very happy.

Like Jung, Erich came from a very religious family, in his case orthodox Jews. Fromm himself later became what he called an atheistic mystic.

In his autobiography, Beyond the Chains of Illusion, Fromm talks about two events in his early adolescence that started him along his path. The first involved a friend of the family's:

Maybe she was 25 years of age; she was beautiful, attractive, and in addition a painter, the first painter I ever knew. I remember having heard that she had been engaged but after some time had broken the engagement; I remember that she was almost invariably in the company of her widowed father. As I remember him, he was an old, uninteresting, and rather unattractive man, or so I thought (maybe my judgment was somewhat biased by jealousy). Then one day I heard the shocking news: her father had died, and immediately afterwards, she had killed herself and left a will which stipulated that she wanted to be buried with her father. (p. 4)

As you can imagine, this news hit the 12 year old Erich hard, and he found himself asking what many of us might ask: why? Later, he began finding some answers -- partial ones, admittedly -- in Freud.

The second event was even larger: World War I. At the tender age of 14, he saw the extremes that nationalism could go to. All around him, he heard the message: We (Germans, or more precisely, Christian Germans) are great; They (the English and their allies) are cheap mercenaries. The hatred, the "war hysteria," frightened him, as well it should.

So again he wanted to understand something irrational -- the irrationality of mass behavior -- and he found some answers, this time in the writings of Karl Marx.

To finish Fromm's story, he received his PhD from Heidelberg in 1922 and began a career as a psychotherapist. He moved to the U.S. in 1934 -- a popular time for leaving Germany! -- and settled in New York City, where he met many of the other great refugee thinkers that gathered there, including Karen Horney, with whom he had an affair.

Toward the end of his career, he moved to Mexico City to teach. He had done considerable research into the relationship between economic class and personality types there. He died in 1980 in Switzerland.

Forced to flee from Nazi Germany in 1933, Fromm settled in the United States and lectured at the New School of Social Research, Columbia, Yale, and Bennington. In the late 1930s, Fromm broke with the Institute of Social Research and with Escape from Freedom began publishing a series of books which would win him a large audience. Escape From Freedom argued that alienation from soil and community in the transition from feudalism to capitalism increased insecurity and fear. Documenting some of the strains and crises of individualism, Fromm attempted to explain how alienated individuals would seek gratification and security from social orders such as fascism.

His post-World War II books, Man For Himself (1947) and The Sane Society, applied Fromm's Freudian-Marxian perspectives to sharp critiques of contemporary capitalism. Fromm popularized the neo-Marxian critiques of the media and consumer society, and promoted democratic socialist perspectives during an era when social repression made it difficult and dangerous to advocate radical positions. Although his social critique was similar in many ways to his former colleague Herbert Marcuse, the two thinkers engaged in sharp polemics from the mid-1950s into the 1970s. Marcuse began the polemic by attacking Fromm as a neo-Freudian revisionist, and Fromm retaliated by calling Marcuse a "nihilist" and "utopian." Marcuse claimed that Fromm's emphasis on the "productive character" simply reproduced the "productivism" intrinsic to capitalism, and that his celebration of the values of love, in books like The Art of Loving, and religious values simply reproduced dominant idealist ideologies.

Fromm continued to be a prolific writer up until his death in 1980, publishing a series of books promoting and developing Marxian and Freudian ideas. He was also politically active, helping organize SANE and engaging in early "Ban the Bomb" campaigns, as well participating in the anti-War movement of the 1960s. Fromm continued to argue for a humanistic and democratic socialist position, and claimed that such elements were intrinsic in Marxism. His many books and articles had some influence on the New Left and continue to be widely read and discussed today.

One of the distinctive features of Critical Theory is their synthesis of Marx and Freud aimed at producing a theory of the psychological mediations between psyche and society ignored by traditional Marxism.7 The key theoretical essays outlining the Institute's materialist social psychology were published in the Zeitschrift fur Sozialforschung by Erich Fromm. Fromm was a practicing psychoanalyst who also received a University position as lecturer in the Institute for Psychoanalysis at the University of Frankfurt; he was interested as well in Marxism and sociology, and joined the Institute as their psychology expert in 1929.8 Fromm was one of the first to attempt to synthesize Marx and Freud to develop a Marxian social psychology, and many of the other members of the Institute were to attempt similar syntheses, though the precise mixture and interpretations of Freud and Marx were often quite different.

Fromm sketches the basic outline of his project in his article "The Method and Function of an Analytic Social Psychology" subtitled "Notes on Psychoanalysis and Historical Materialism."9 He begins by discussing the basic principles of psychoanalysis, and then indicates why he thinks Freud's theory, properly interpreted and reconstructed, is compatible with historical materialism. For Fromm, psychoanalysis is a materialist psychology which analyzes instinctual drives and needs as the motive forces for human behavior. It carries out an inventory of the basic instincts and dissects the unconscious forces and mechanisms that sometimes control human behavior. Psychoanalysis also analyzes the influence of specific life experiences on the inherited instinctual constitution. Thus, in Fromm's view, Freud's theory is "exquisitely historical: it seeks to understand the drive structure through the understanding of life history" (CoP, p. 139).

The key conception of psychoanalysis for Fromm is the "active and passive adaptation of the biological apparatus, the instincts, to social reality" (CoP, p. 141). Psychoanalysis is especially valuable for social psychology in that it seeks "to discover the hidden sources of the obviously irrational behavior patterns in societal life -- in religion, custom, politics, and education" (CoP, p. 141). Fromm therefore believes that an "analytical social psychology" is thoroughly compatible with historical materialism since both are materialist sciences which "do not start from 'ideas' but from earthly life and needs. They are particularly close in their appraisal of consciousness, which is seen by both as less the driving force behind human behavior than the reflection of other hidden forces" (CoP, p. 142). Although historical materialism tends to assume the primacy of economic forces and interests in individual and social life, while the psychoanalytic focus is on instinctual and psychological forces, Fromm believes that they can be fruitfully synthesized. In particular, he believes that an analytical social psychology can study the ways that socio-economic structure influences and shapes the instinctual apparatus of both individuals and groups.

The psychoanalytic emphasis on the primacy of the family in human development can also be given a historical materialist twist, Fromm believes. Since "the family is the medium through which the society or the social class stamps its specific structure on the child," analysis of the family and socialization processes can indicate how society reproduces its class structure and imposes its ideologies and practices on individuals. Psychoanalytic theories, Fromm suggested, which abstract from study of the ways that a given society socialized its members into accepting and reproducing a specific social structure, tend to take bourgeois society as a norm and to illicitly universalize its findings. Historical materialism provides a corrective to these errors by stressing the intrinsically historical nature of all social formations, institutions, practices, and human life.

Fromm's essay is primarily programmatic and does not specify in great detail how capitalist-bourgeois society reproduces its structures within its members. Rather he is concerned to outline a research program and to argue for the compatibility of psychoanalysis and Marxism proposing that psychoanalysis "can enrich the overall conception of historical materialism on one specific point. It can provide a more comprehensive knowledge of one of the factors that is operative in the social process: the nature of man himself" (CoP, p. 154). For Fromm, natural instincts are part of the base (Unterbau) of society, and he believes that our understanding of human behavior and social processes will be enriched by reciprocal knowledge of how society molds and adapts instincts to its structures, and how human beings shape and change their environments to meet their needs. "In certain fundamental respects, the instinctual apparatus itself is a biological given; but it is highly modifiable. The role of primary formative factors goes to the economic conditions. The family is the essential medium through which the economic situation exerts its formative influence on the individual's psyche. The task of social psychology is to explain the shared, socially relevant, psychic attitudes and ideologies -- and their unconscious roots in particular -- in terms of the influence of economic conditions on libido strivings" (CoP, p. 149).

Fromm also suggests that psychoanalysis can help explain how the socio-economic interests and structures are transformed into ideologies, as well as how ideologies shape and influence human thought and behavior. Such a merger of Marx and Freud will immeasurably enrich materialist social theory, in Fromm's view, by providing analysis of the mediations through which psyche and society interact and reciprocally shape each other. Every society, he claims, has its own libidinal structure and its processes whereby authority is reproduced in human thought and behavior. An analytical social psychology must thus be deeply empirical to explain how domination and submission take place in specific societies in order to provide understanding of how social and psychological change is possible.

In an essay from the same period, "Psychoanalytic Characterology and Its Relevance for Social Psychology," Fromm applies his analytic social psychology to an investigation of how bourgeois society forms dominant character types which reproduce social structure and submit to social authority.10 A theory of social character would be central to Fromm's work, though in this essay he assumes in rather orthodox Freudian fashion that the "general basis of psychoanalytic characterology is to view certain character traits as sublimations or reaction formations of certain instinctual drives that are sexual in nature" (CoP, pp. 164-165). Fromm then discusses Freud's theory of oral, anal, and genital characters, and how specific social structures produce and reward certain types of character traits while eliminating others. In particular, drawing on Werner Sombart's study of the "bourgeois" and on Benjamin Franklin's diaries, Fromm discusses how bourgeois society produced a character structure in which duty, parsimoniousness, discipline, thrift, and so on became dominant traits of the bourgeois character structure while love, sensual pleasure, charity, and kindness were devalued.

Anticipating later Institute studies of the changes within personality in contemporary capitalism, Fromm writes of developments of character structure under monopoly capitalism and suggests: "It is clear that the typical character traits of the bourgeois of the nineteenth century gradually disappeared, as the classic type of the self-made, independent entrepreneur, who is both the owner and the manager of his own business, was disappearing. The character traits of the earlier business man became more of a handicap than a help to the new type of capitalist. A description and analysis of the latter's psyche in present-day capitalism is another task that should be undertaken by psychoanalytic social psychology" (CoP, p. 185).

Fromm would later describe in detail the dominant character types within contemporary capitalist societies.11 One of the most interesting of his attempts in the early 1930s, however, to develop a materialist social psychology is found in his study of Johann Jacob Bachofen's theory of matriarchy in an article "The Theory of Mother Right and its Relevance for Social Psychology."12 Fromm indicates how Bachofen's study had been appropriated both by socialist thinkers such as Engels and Bebel as well as by conservative thinkers. After criticizing the conservative version of the theory of matriarchy, Fromm suggests how it can be appropriated by progressive thought. To begin, Bachofen provides insights, Fromm believes, into how woman's nature develops from social practices; specifically, how the activity of mothering produces certain nurturing, maternal character traits associated with women, thus anticipating recent feminist theories of mothering.13

Moreover, Fromm suggests that Bachofen's theory of the matriarchal society reveals "a close kinship with the ideals of socialism. For example, concern for man's material welfare and earthly happiness is presented as one of the central ideas of matriarchal society. On other points, too, the reality of matriarchal society as described by Bachofen is closely akin to socialist ideals and goals and directly opposed to romantic and reactionary aims. According to Bachofen, matriarchal society was a primeval democracy where sexuality is free of christian depreciation, where maternal love and compassion are the dominant moral principles, where injury to one's fellowman is the gravest sin, and where private property does not yet exist" (CoP, pp. 118-119). For Fromm, the crucial question concerning the theory of matriarchy is not whether or not a matriarchal society as described by Bachofen actually existed or not. Rather, the theory of matriarchy represents a certain set of institutions, attitudes, and values opposed to capitalist patriarchal society, and for this reason won wide approval "from those socialists who sought, not reform, but a thoroughgoing change of society's social and psychic structure" (CoP, p. 120).

In discussion of the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy, Fromm suggests some of the ways that the patriarchal social structure "is closely bound up with the class character of present-day society.... The patriarchal family is one of the most important loci for producing the psychic attitudes that operate to maintain the stability of class society." (CoP, p. 124). In his view, a "patricentric complex" develops in bourgeois society which includes "affective dependence on fatherly authority, involving a mixture of anxiety, love and hate; identification with paternal authority vis-a-vis weaker ones; a strong and strict superego whose principle is that duty is more important than happiness; guilt feelings, reproduced over and over again by the discrepancy between the demands of the superego and those of reality, whose effect is to keep people docile to authority. It is this psycho-social condition that explains why the family is almost universally regarded as the foundation (or at least one of the important supports) of society" (CoP, p. 124).

In a patricentric society, one's relation to the father is central. Going beyond Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex which also ascribes the father-son relationship primary importance in psychological development, Fromm inventories various ways in which paternal authority is introjected in socialization processes, and the ways that such processes reproduce the values of capitalism and bourgeois society. Fromm then contrasts children's relations with their mother and the matricentric values involved in this relation. While relation to one's father is often conditional on one's behavior, success, and ability to fulfill his expectations, there is at least an unconditional element to mother love and less rigid introjection of values, guilt, and needs to succeed to win love:

"Summing up, we can say that the patricentric individual --and society -- is characterized by a complex of traits in which the following are predominant: a strict superego, guilt feelings, docile love for paternal authority, desire and pleasure at dominating weaker people, acceptance of suffering as a punishment for one's own guilt, and a damaged capacity for happiness. The matricentric complex, by contrast, is characterized by a feeling of optimistic trust in mother's unconditional love, far fewer guilt feelings, a far weaker superego, and a greater capacity for pleasure and happiness. Along with these traits there also develops the ideal of motherly compassion and love for the weak and others in need of help" (CoP, p. 131).

After a historical sketch of the association of matricentric culture with the Middle Ages and Catholicism, and patricentric culture with the bourgeoisie, capitalism, and Protestantism, Fromm concludes that: "the real, full-fledged representative of the new matricentric tendencies proved to be the class whose motive for total dedication to work was prompted basically by economic considerations rather than by an internalized compunction: the working class. This same emotional structure provided one of the conditions for the effective influence of Marxist socialism on the working class -- in so far as its influence depended on the specific nature of their drive structure" (CoP, p. 134).

In Fromm's reading, Bachofen points out the relativity of existing societal relationships and institutions such as marriage, monogamy, private property, and other bourgeois social forms. Fromm suggests that such views on the social constructedness of social arrangements should "be welcomed by a theory and political activity that advocated a fundamental change of the existing social structure" (CoP, p. 123). There were other political reasons as well why such a theory could appeal to progressives: "Aside from the fact that the theory of matriarchy underlined the relativity of the bourgeois social structure, its very special content could not but win the sympathy of Marxists. First of all, it had discovered a period when woman had been the authority and focal point of society, rather than the slave of man and an object for barter; this lent important support to the struggle for woman's political and social emancipation. The great battle of the eighteenth century had to be picked up afresh by those who where fighting for a classless society" (CoP, p. 123).

Fromm concludes the study by pointing to compatibilities between the matricentric tendencies and Marxism -- and thus between Marxism and feminism: "The psychic basis of the Marxist social program was predominantly the matricentric complex. Marxism is the idea that if the productive capabilities of the economy were organized rationally, every person would be provided with a sufficient supply of the goods he needed -- no matter what his role in the production process was; furthermore, all this could be done with far less work on the part of each individual than had been necessary up to now, and finally, every human being has an unconditional right to happiness in life, and this happiness basically resides in the 'harmonious unfolding of one's personality' -- all these ideas were the rational, scientific expression of ideas that could only be expressed in fantasy under earlier economic conditions: Mother Earth gives all her children what they need, without regard for their merits" (CoP, p. 134-135).

While one might contest Fromm's equation of matricentric culture with Marxian socialism, it is interesting to note his concern for the emancipation of women and his attacks on patriarchy. One also notes in the article his concern, shared by other key members of the Institute, for sensual gratification and happiness. He believes that Bachofen's emphasis on "material happiness on earth" and "social hedonism" in his theory of matriarchy helps explain its appeal to socialist thinkers (CoP, p. 125), and underlines Fromm's own commitment to material happiness and sensual gratification in a discussion of how sexuality "offers one of the most elementary and powerful opportunities for satisfaction and happiness" (CoP, p. 126).


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