What does Erich Fromm mean by humanism?
Throughout his life Fromm drew on his three main intellectual influences—Freud, Marx, and religious-theological currents (principally Judaic, Christian and Buddhist)—to develop a socialist humanist ideal based on ‘a dynamic analysis of the economic, political, and psychological forces that form the basis of society’ (Fromm 1970: 21). His humanism was based on the idea that the human unconscious ‘represents the entire person … and all of humanity’In any culture humans have all manner of potentialities for what they may become. What they do become, however, depends largely on ‘which possibilities are cultivated and which are hindered and repressed’ (ibid). This in turn depends greatly on the kind of society an individual lives in, since all humans can only exist as social beings. Hence, they must be socialized to want to do and be what they must do and be for the society to function. Hence, according to Fromm, ‘social necessities become transformed into personal needs, into the “social character” ‘. Consequently, ‘our conscious mind represents mainly our own society and culture, while our unconscious represents the universal [human being] in each of us.He said :“I am everybody, and that I discover myself in discovering my fellowman, and vice versa. In this experience I discover what humanity is; I discover the One Man”?
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