Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home  > Truth is a Pathless Land > Unfolding Consciousness: From Matter to Life to Mind  > Eric Fromm


My Credo
On Marx and Freud
On Love
International Erich Fromm Society
Erich Fromm - Dr. C. George Boeree
The Two Voices of Erich Fromm - Michael Maccoby


Human Nature and Social Theory, 1969
A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, 1960
The Influence of Social 
Factors in Child Development
, 1958
Individual and Social Origins of Neurosis, 1944
Character and Social Process, 1942
Trotzky's Diary in Exile, 1935


Beyond the Chains of Illusion: My Encounter with Marx and Freud
Escape from Freedom (1941) 
Man for Himself - An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics (1947).
The Art of Being
The Art of Loving (1956)
The Art of Listening  (1997)
Excerpts from the Art of Loving
The Sane Society (1955)
The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973)
To Have or to Be?
Fear of Freedom
Mans Concept of Man
Zen Buddhism Psychoanalysis
Love, Sexuality and Matriarchy About Gender (1997)
Psychoanalysis and Religion
On Being Human
The Essential Fromm

From Matter to Life to Mind...

Eric Fromm

"….While for Karl Marx truth was a weapon to induce social change, for Freud it was the weapon to induce individual change; awareness was the main agent in Freud's therapy. If, so Freud found, the patient can gain insight into the fictitious character of his conscious ideas, if he can grasp the reality behind these ideas, if he can make the unconscious conscious, he will attain the strength to rid himself of his irrationalities and to transform himself...Marx's statement, 'The demand (for society) to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions,' also could have been made by Freud. Both wanted to free man from the chains of his illusions in order to enable him to wake up and to act as a free man..."

Excerpts from "Beyond Chains of Illusion - My Encounter with Marx & Freud" by Erich Fromm... (at Amazon.com)

"...If a man asks himself how he ever became interested in those fields of thought which were destined to occupy the most important place throughout his life, he will not find it easy to give a simple answer. Perhaps he was born with an inclination for certain questions, or perhaps it was the influence of certain teachers, or of current ideas, or of personal experiences which led him along the path of his later interests - who knows which of these factors have determined the course of his life? Indeed, if one wanted to know precisely the relative weight of all these factors, nothing short of a detailed historical autobiography could even attempt to give the answers..."

My Credo

I believe that man is the product of natural evolution; that he is part of nature and yet transcends it, being endowed with reason and self-awareness.

I believe that man's essence is ascertainable. However, this essence is not a substance which characterizes man at all times through history. The essence of man consists in the above-mentioned contradiction inherent in his existence, and this contradiction forces him to react in order to find a solution.

Man cannot remain neutral and passive towards this existential dichotomy. By the very fact of his being human, he is asked a question by life: how to overcome the split between himself and the world outside of him in order to arrive at the experience of unity and oneness with his fellow man and with nature. Man has to answer this question every moment of his life. Not only - or even primarily - with thoughts and words, but by his mode of being and acting.

I believe that there are a number of limited and ascertainable answers to this question of existence (the history of religion and philosophy is a catalogue of these answers); yet there are basically only two categories of answers. In one, man attempts to find again harmony with nature by regression to a pre human form of existence, eliminating his specifically human qualities-of reason and love. In the other, his goal is the full development of his human powers until he reaches a new harmony with his fellow man and with nature.

I believe that the first answer is bound to failure. It leads to death, destruction, suffering and never to the full growth of man, never to harmony and strength. The second answer requires the elimination of greed and egocentricity, it demands discipline, will, and respect for those who can show the way. Yet, although this answer is the more difficult one, it is the only answer which is not doomed to failure. In fact, even before the final goal is reached, the activity and effort expended in approaching it has a unifying and integrating effect which intensifies man's vital energies.

I believe that man's basic alternative is the choice between life and death. Every act implies this choice. Man is free to make it, but this freedom is a limited one. There are many favourable and unfavourable conditions which incline him - his psychological constitution, the condition of the specific society into which he was born, his family, teachers, and the friends he meets and chooses. It is man's task to enlarge the margin of freedom, to strengthen the conditions which are conducive to life as against those which are conducive to death.

Life and death, as spoken of here, are not the biological states, but states of being, of relating to the world. Life means constant change, constant birth. Death means cessation of growth, ossification, repetition. The unhappy fate of many is that they do not make the choice. They are neither alive nor dead. Life becomes a burden, an aimless enterprise, and busyness is the means to protect one from the torture of being in the land of shadows.

I believe that neither life nor history has an ultimate meaning which in turn imparts meaning to the life of the individual or justifies his suffering. Considering the contradictions and, weaknesses which beset man's existence, it is only too natural that he seeks for an `absolute' which gives him the illusion of certainty and relieves him from conflict, doubt and responsibility. Yet, no god, neither in theological, philosophical or historical garments, saves, or condemns man. Only man can find a goal for life and the means for the realisation of this goal. He cannot find a saving ultimate or absolute answer but he can strive for a degree of intensity, depth, and clarity of experience which gives him the strength to live without illusions, and to be free.

I believe that no one can 'save' his fellow man by making the choice for him. All that one man can do for another is to show him the alternatives truthfully and lovingly, yet without sentimentality or illusion. Confrontation with the true alternatives may awaken all the hidden energies in a person, and enable him to choose life as against death. If he cannot choose life, no one else can breathe life into him.

I believe that there are two ways of arriving at the choice of the good. The first is that of duty and obedience to moral commands. This way can be effective, yet one , must consider that in thousands of years only a minority - have fulfilled even the requirements of the Ten  Commandments. Many more have committed crimes when they were presented to them as commands by those in authority. The other way is to develop a taste for and a sense of well-being in doing what is good or right. By taste for well-being, I do not mean pleasure in the Benthamian or Freudian sense. I refer to the sense of heightened aliveness in which I confirm my powers and my identity.

I believe that education means to acquaint the young with the best heritage of the human race. But while much of this heritage is expressed in words, it is effective only if these words become reality in the person of the teacher and in the practice and structure of society. Only the idea which has materialized in the flesh can influence man; the idea which remains a word only changes words.

I believe in the perfectibility of man. This perfectibility means that man can reach his goal, but it does not mean that he must reach it. If the individual will not choose life and does not grow, he will by necessity become destructive, a living corpse. Evilness and self-loss are as real as are goodness and aliveness. They are the secondary potentialities of man if he chooses not to realize his primary potentialities.

I believe that only exceptionally is a man born as a Saint or as a criminal. Most of us have dispositions for good and for evil, although the respective weight of these dispositions varies with individuals. Hence, our fate is largely determined by those influences which mould and form the given disposition. The family is the most  important influence. But the family itself is mainly an agent of society, the transmission belt for those values and norms which a society wants to impress on its members. Hence, the most important factor for the development of the individual is the structure and the values of the society into which he has been born.

I believe that society has both a furthering and an inhibiting function. Only in co-operation with others and in the process of work, does man develop his powers, only in the historical process does he create himself. But at the same time, most societies until now have served the aims of the few who wanted to use the many. Hence they had to use their power to stultify and intimidate the many (and thus, indirectly, themselves), to prevent them from developing all their powers; for this reason society has always conflicted with humanity, with the universal norms valid for every man. Only when society's aim will have become identical with the aims of humanity, will society cease to cripple man and to further evil.

I believe that every man represents humanity. We are different as to intelligence, health, talents. Yet we are all one. We are all saints and sinners, adults and children, and no ,one is anybody's superior or judge. We have all been awakened with the Buddha, we have all been crucified with Christ, and we have all killed and robbed with Genghis Khan, Stalin, and Hitler.

I believe that man can visualize the experience of the whole universal man only by realizing his individuality and not by trying to reduce himself to an abstract, common denominator. Man's task in life is precisely the paradoxical-one of realizing his individuality and at the same time transcending it and arriving at the experience of universality. Only the fully developed individual self can drop the ego.

I believe that the One World which is emerging can come into existence only if a New Man comes into being - a  man who has emerged froth the archaic ties of blood and soil, and who feels himself to be the son of man, a citizen of the world whose loyalty is to the human race and to life, rather than to any exclusive part of it; a man who loves his country because he loves mankind, and whose judgement is not warped by tribal loyalties.

I believe that man's growth is a process of continuous birth, of continuous awakening. We are usually half asleep and only sufficiently awake to go about our business; but we are not awake enough to go about living, which is the only task that matters for a living being. The great leaders of the human race are those who have awakened man from his half-slumber. The great enemies of humanity are those who put it to sleep, and it does not matter whether their sleeping potion is the worship of God or that of the Golden Calf.

I believe that the development of man in the last four thousand years of history is truly awe inspiring. He has developed his reason to a point where he is solving the riddles of nature, and has emancipated himself from the blind power of the natural forces. But at the very moment of his greatest triumph, when he is at the threshold of a new world, he has succumbed to the power of the very things and organizations he has created. He has invented a new method of producing, and has made production and distribution his new idol. He worships the work of his hands and has reduced himself to being the servant of things. He uses the name of God, of freedom, of humanity, of socialism, in vain ; he prides himself on his powers - the bombs and the machines - to cover up his human bankruptcy; he boasts of his power to destroy in order to hide his human impotence.

I believe that the only force that can save us from self destruction is reason; the capacity to recognize the unreality of most of the ideas that man holds, and to penetrate to the reality veiled by the layers and layers of deception and ideologies; reason, not, as a body of knowledge, but as a kind of energy, a force which is fully comprehensible only in its agency and effects . . . a force whose 'most important function consists in its power to bind and to dissolve.' Violence and arms will not save us; sanity and reason may.

I believe that reason cannot be effective unless man has hope and belief. Goethe was right when he said that the deepest distinction between various historical periods is that between belief and disbelief; and when he added that all epochs in which belief dominates are brilliant, uplifting, and fruitful, while those in which disbelief dominates vanish because nobody cares to devote himself  to the unfruitful.

No doubt the thirteenth century, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, were ages of belief and hope. I am afraid that the Western World in the twentieth century deceives itself about the fact that it has lost hope and belief. Truly, where there is no belief in man, the belief in machines will not save us from vanishing; on the contrary, this 'belief' will only accelerate the end. Either the Western World will be capable of creating a renaissance of humanism in which the fullest developments of man's humanity, and not production and work, are the central issues -- or the West will perish as many other great civilizations have.

I believe that to recognise the truth is not primarily a matter of intelligence but a matter of character. The most important element is the courage to say no, to disobey the commands of power and of public opinion; to erase being asleep and to become human; to wake up and lose the sense of helplessness and futility. Eve and Prometheus are the two great rebels whose very 'crimes' liberated mankind. But the capacity to say "no' meaningfully, implies the capacity to say 'yes' meaningfully. The `yes' to God is the "no" to Caesar; the 'yes' to man is the `no' to all those who want to enslave, exploit, and stultify him.

 I believe in freedom, in man's right to be himself, to assert himself and to fight all those who try to prevent him from being himself. But freedom is more than the absence of violent oppression. It is more than 'freedom from.' It is 'freedom to' – the freedom to become independent; the freedom to be much, rather than to have much, or to use things and people.

I believe that neither Western capitalism nor Soviet or Chinese communism can solve the problem of the future. They both create bureaucracies which transform man into a thing. Man must bring the forces of nature and of society under his conscious and rational control; but not under the control of a bureaucracy which administers things and man, but under the control of the free and associated producers who administer things and subordinate them to man, who is the measure of all things. ...

I believe that one of the most disastrous mistakes in individual and social life consists in being caught in stereotyped alternatives of thinking. 'Better dead than red,' 'an alienated industrial civilization or individualistic pre-industrial society,' `to rearm or to be helpless,' are examples of such alternatives. There are always other and new possibilities which become apparent only when one has liberated oneself from the deathly grip of clichés, and when one permits the 'voice of humanity, and reason, to be heard.--The principle of 'the lesser evil' is the principle of despair. Most of the time it only lengthens the period until the greater evil wins out. To risk doing what is right and human, and have faith in the power of the voice of humanity and truth, is more realistic than the so-called realism of opportunism.

I believe that man must get rid of illusions that enslave and paralyse him; that he must become aware of the reality inside and, outside of him in order to create a world which needs no illusions. Freedom and independence can be achieved only when the chains of. illusion are broken.

I believe that today there is only one main concern: the question of war and peace. Man is likely to destroy all life on earth, or to destroy all civilized life and the values among those that remain, and to build a barbaric, totalitarian organization which will rule what is left of mankind. To wake up to this danger, to look through the double talk on all sides which is used to prevent men from seeing the abyss towards which they are moving is the one obligation, the one moral and intellectual command which man must respect today. If he does not, we all will be doomed.

If we should all perish in the nuclear holocaust, it will not be because man was not capable of becoming human, or that he was inherently evil; it would be because the consensus of stupidity has prevented him from seeing reality and acting upon the truth.

I believe in the perfectability of man, but I doubt whether he will achieve this goal, unless he awakens soon.

Watchman, what of the night ?
The watchman says:Morning comes and also the night
If you will inquire, inquire:
Return, come back again.

(Isaiah 21)

On Marx and Freud

"….While for Karl Marx truth was a weapon to induce social change, for Freud it was the weapon to induce individual change; awareness was the main agent in Freud's therapy. If, so Freud found, the patient can gain insight into the fictitious character of his conscious ideas, if he can grasp the reality behind these ideas, if he can make the unconscious conscious, he will attain the strength to rid himself of his irrationalities and to transform himself. Freud's aim, 'Where there is Id there shall be Ego,' can be realized only through the effort of reason to penetrate fictions and to arrive at the awareness of reality. 

It is precisely this function of reason and truth which gives psychoanalytic therapy its unique feature among all forms of therapy. Each analysis of a patient is a new and original venture of research. While it is true, of course, that there are general theories and principles which can be applied, there is no pattern, no 'formula' which could be applied to the individual patient or be helpful to him if it were applied. Just as far Marx the political leader must be a social scientist, so for Freud the therapist must be a scientist capable of doing research. For both, truth is the essential medium to transform, respectively, society and the individual; awareness is the key to social and individual therapy.

Marx's statement, "The demand to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions,' also could have been made by Freud. Both wanted to free man from the chains of his illusions in order to enable him to wake up and to act as a free man.

The … basic element common to both systems ís their humanism. Humanism in the sense that each man represents all of humanity; hence, that there is nothing human which could be alien to him. Marx was rooted in this tradition, of which Voltaire, Lessing, Herder, Hegel, and Goethe are some of the most outstanding representatives. Freud expressed his humanism primarily in his concept of the unconscious. He assumed that all men share the same unconscious strivings, and hence that they can understand each other once they dare to delve into the underworld of the unconscious. He could examine the unconscious fantasies of his patient without feeling indignant, judgmental, or even surprised. The 'stuff from which dreams are made' as well as the whole world of the unconscious became an object of investigation precisely because Freud recognized its profoundly human and universal qualities. …. the power of truth and humanism are the guiding and propelling principles of Marx's and Freud's work. 

Yet this introductory chapter that deals with the common soil from which both their ideas grew, would be truncated if it did not deal at least with one other feature common to both systems: their dynamic and dialectic approach to reality. The discussion of this topic is all the more important because in the Anglo Saxon countries Hegelian philosophy has been a dead issue for a long time so that the dynamic approach of Marx and Freud is not readily understood. 

Let us begin with a few examples, both from the realm of psychology and that of sociology.

Let us assume a man who has been married three times. The pattern is always the same. He falls in love with a good looking girl, marries her, and is ecstatically happy for a short time. Then he begins to complain that his wife is domineering, that she curtail, his freedom, etc. After a period alternating between quarrels and reconciliations, he falls in love with another girl - in fact, one very similar to him wife. He gets a divorce and marries his second 'great love.' However, with slight modifications the same cycle takes place, and again he falls in love with a similar type of girl, and again he gets divorced and marries his third 'great love.' Again the same cycle occurs, and be falls in love with a fourth girl, being convinced that this time it is the true and real love (forgetting that he was convinced of that every time in the past), and wants to marry her. 

What would we say to the last girl if she asked us our opinion about the chances for a happy marriage with him? There are several approaches to the problem. The first one is a purely behaviouristic one; the method of this approach is to conclude from past behaviour, the future behaviour. This argument would run: since he already has left a wife three times, it is quite likely that he will do it a fourth time, hence it is much too risky to marry him. This approach, empirical and sober, has much to be said for it. 

But the girl's mother, when using this approach, might find it difficult to answer one argument of her daughter's. This argument says that while it is perfectly true that he did act in the same way three times, it does not follow that he will do so again this time. Either, so this counter-argument will say, he has changed - and who can say that a person may not change? Or the other women were not really the kind he could love deeply, while she, the last one, is really congenial to him. 

There is no convincing argument the mother could use against this reasoning. In fact, once she sees the man and notices that he is very much enraptured with her daughter, and that he talks with great sincerity about his love, even the mother might change her mind and be won over to the daughter's position.

The mother's and the daughter's approaches are both undynamic. They either make a prediction based on past performance, or one based on present words and actions, yet they have no way of proving that their predictions are better than guesswork.

What is in contradistinction, the dynamic approach? The essential point in this approach is to penetrate through the surface of past or present behaviour and to understand the forces which created the pattern of past behaviour. If these forces still exist, it is to be assumed that the fourth marriage will end not differently from the previous ones. If on the other hand, there has been a change in the forces underlying his behaviour one would have to admit the possibility or even the likelihood of a different outcome, in spite of the past behaviour. 

What are the forces we speak of here? They are nothing mysterious, nor figments of abstract speculation. They are recognizable empirically if one studies the behaviour of the person in the proper way. We may assume, for instance, that the man had not cut the tie to his mother; that he is a very narcissistic person with a deep doubt of his own manliness; that he is an overgrown adolescent in constant need of admiration and affection, so that once he has found a woman who fulfils these needs he gets bored with her soon after the conquest is made; he needs new proofs of his attractiveness and hence must look far another woman who can reassure him. At the same time he is really dependent on women, afraid of them; and hence any prolonged intimacy makes him feel imprisoned and chained. The forces at work here are his narcissism, his dependence, his self-doubt producing needs which lead to the kind of action we have been describing. 

These forces, as I said, are by no means the result of abstract speculation. One can observe them in many ways: by examining dreams, free association, fantasies, by watching his facial expression, his gestures, his way of speaking, and so forth. Yet they are often not directly visible but must be inferred. Furthermore; they can be seen only within the theoretical frame of reference in which they have a place and meaning. 

Most importantly, these forces are not only not conscious as such, but they are in contradiction to the conscious thought of the person involved. He is sincerely convinced that he will love the girl forever, that he is not dependent, that he is strong and self assured. Thus, the average person thinks: if a man truly feels he loves a woman how can one predict that he will leave her after a short time, just by referring to such mythical entities as 'fixation to mother,' 'narcissism,' and so on? Are one's eyes and ears not better judges than such deductions?…

…. Freud discovered that man as a mental entity is a structure of forces, many at them contradictory, charged with energy. Here too, what matters is the scientific task of understanding the quality, intensity, and direction of these forces in order to understand the past and predict alternatives for the future. Here too, change is possible only inasmuch as the given structure of the forces permits it. Furthermore, true change in the sense of energy changes within the given structure does not only require a profound understanding of these forces and the laws according to which they move but also great effort and will….

….While in individual psychoanalysis, Freud would look for the individual factors of repression, it would nevertheless be erroneous to assume that his concept of repression is to be understood only in individual terms. On the contrary, Freud's concept of repression also has a social dimension. The more society develops into higher forms of civilization, the more instinctive desires become incompatible with the existing social norms, and thus the more repression must take place. Increasing civilization, to Freud, means increasing repression. But Freud never went beyond this quantitative and mechanistic concept of society and he did not examine the specific structure of a society and its influence on repression.

If the forces which cause repression are so powerful, how did Freud ever hope to make the unconscious conscious, to 'derepress' the repressed? It is well known that the psychoanalytic therapy he devised serves precisely this end. By analysing dreams, and by understanding the 'free associations,' the uncensored and spontaneous thoughts of the patient, Freud attempted to arrive, with the patient, at knowing what the patient did not know before his unconscious.

What were the theoretical premises for this use of the analysis of dreams and of free association for the discovery of the unconscious? Doubtlessly in the first years of his psychoanalytic research, Freud shared the conventional rationalistic belief that knowledge was intellectual, theoretical knowledge. He thought that it was enough to explain to the patient why certain developments had taken place, and to tell him what the analyst had discovered in his unconscious. This intellectual knowledge, called 'interpretation,' was supposed to effect a change in the patient. 

But soon Freud and other analysts had to discover the truth of Spinoza's statement that intellectual knowledge is conducive to change only inasmuch as it is also affective knowledge. It became apparent that intellectual knowledge as such does not produce any change, except perhaps in the sense that by intellectual knowledge of his unconscious strivings a person may be better able to control them - which, however, is the aim of traditional ethics, rather than that of psychoanalysis. 

As long as the patient remains in the attitude of the detached self-observer, he is not in touch with his unconscious, except by thinking about it; he does not experience the wider, deeper reality within himself. 

Discovering one's unconscious is, precisely, not only an intellectual act, but also an affective experience, which can hardly be put into words, if at all. This does not mean that thinking and speculation may not precede the act of discovery; but the act of discovery is not an act of thinking but of being aware and, still better perhaps, simply of seeing. 

To be aware of experiences, thoughts or feelings which were unconscious, does not mean thinking about them, but seeing them, just as being aware of one's breathing does not mean to think about it. 

Awareness of the unconscious is an experience which is characterized by its spontaneity and suddenness. One's eyes are suddenly opened; oneself and the world appear in a different light, are seen from a different viewpoint. There is usually a good deal of anxiety aroused while the experience takes place, while afterwards a new feeling of strength is present.

The process of discovering the unconscious can be described as a series of ever-widening experiences, which are felt deeply and which transcend theoretical, intellectual knowledge.
In the question of the possibility of making the unconscious conscious, it is of the foremost importance to recognize factors which obstruct this process. There are many factors which make it difficult to arrive at insight into the unconscious. Such factors are mental rigidity, lack of proper orientation, hopelessness, lack of any possibility to change realistic conditions, etc. 

But there is probably no single factor which is more responsible for the difficulties of making the unconscious conscious than the mechanism which Freud called resistance.

What is resistance? Like so many discoveries, it is so simple that one might say anyone could have discovered it - yet it required a great discoverer to recognize it. 

Let us take an example: your friend has to undertake a trip of which he is obviously afraid. You know that he is afraid, his wife knows it, everyone else knows it, but he does not know it. He claims one day that he does not feel well, the next day that there is no need to make the trip, the day after that that there arc better ways to achieve the same result without traveling, then the next day that your persistence in reminding him of the trip is an attempt to force him, and since he does not want to be forced, he just won't make the trip, and so on, until he will say that it is now too late to go on the trip, anyway, hence there is no use in thinking any further about it. 

If, however, you mention to him, even in the most tactful way, that he might not want to go because he is afraid, you will get not a simple denial, but more likely a violent barrage of protestations and accusations which will eventually drive you into the role of having to apologize, or even - if you are now afraid of losing his friendship - of declaring that you never meant to say that he was afraid and, in fact, ending up with enthusiastic praise of his courage.

What has happened? The real motivation for not wanting to go is fear. (What he is afraid of is of no significance for the purposes of this discussion, suffice it to say, that his fear could be objectively justified or the reason for his fear merely imagined.) This fear is unconscious. Your friend, however, must choose a 'reasonable' explanation for his not wanting to go - a 'rationalization.'

He may discover every day a new one (anyone who has tried to give up smoking knows how easily rationalizations come) or stick to one main rationalization. It does not matter, in fact, whether the rationalization as such is valid or not; what matters is that it is not the effective or sufficient cause far his refusal to go. 

The most amazing fact, however, is the violence of his reaction when we mention the real motive to him, the intensity of his resistance. 

Should we not rather expect him to be glad, or even grateful for our remark, since it permits him to cope with the real motive for his reluctance? But whatever we think about what he should feel, the fact is that he does not feel it. Obviously he cannot bear the idea of being afraid. But why?

There are several possibilities.

Perhaps he has a narcissistic image of himself of which lack of fear is an integral part, and if this image is disturbed, his narcissistic self-admiration and, hence, his sense of his own value and his security would be threatened. Or perhaps his super-ego, the internalized code of right and wrong, happens to be such that fear or cowardice are bitterly condemned; hence to admit fear would mean to admit that he has acted against his code. Or, perhaps, he feels the need to save for his friends the picture of a man who is never frightened because he is so unsure of their friendship, that he is afraid they would cease liking him if they knew he was afraid. 

Any of these reasons may be effective, but why is it that they are so effective? 

One answer lies in the fact that his sense of identity is linked with these images. If they are not 'true' - then who is he? What is true? Where does he stand in the world? 

Once these questions arise, the person feels deeply threatened. He has lost his familiar frame of orientation and with it his security. The anxiety aroused is… caused by the threat to one's identity. Resistance is an attempt to protect oneself from a fright which is comparable to the fright caused by even a small earthquake - nothing is secure, everything is shaky; I don't know who I am or where I am. In fact this experience feels like a small dose of insanity which for the moment, even though it may last only for seconds, feels more than uncomfortable…

….. The term 'the unconscious' is actually a mystification (even though one might use it for reasons of convenience, as I am guilty of doing in these pages). There is no such thing as the unconscious; there are only experiences of which we are aware, and others of which we are not aware, that is, of which we are unconscious. If I hate a man because I am afraid of him, and if I am aware of my hate but not of my fear, we may say that my hate is conscious and that my fear is unconscious; still, my fear does not lie in that mysterious place: 'the' unconscious. But we repress not only sexual impulses or affects such as hate and fear; we repress also the awareness of facts provided they contradict certain ideas and interests which we do not want to have threatened…."

On Love

"In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two... Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.'...What matters in relation to love is the faith in one's own love; in its ability to produce love in others... We are only capable of knowing, and caring for the other if we are also capable of understanding, caring, and knowing ourselves..."


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