Erich FrommThanks to a friend’s blog, I was turned on to the YouTube excerpts of interviews with the big thinker Erich Fromm. Fromm, a psychotherapist and humanist philosopher, who lived from 1900-1980, was a man of true heart and huge intellect. His book “The Art of Loving,” is a must read. This book was central in the formation of my own philosophy, understanding, and approach to love. In this interview, he claims that our culture is one that overemphasizes “having” over “being.” He describes the huge price we pay for this way of living in the world.

In part one, he reveals that Karl Marx, rather than being the devil we believe him to be, was actually a man of profound insight about the human condition. Fromm quotes Marx, showing his understanding of alienation, which in his definition, is a distancing from our true nature.

In the second part of this interview, Fromm asserts that in contemporary society rather than repressing our sexuality, as Freud suggested, we repress the truth. This repression both protects us from discomfort but is also our greatest danger. This is so because when we don’t face the truth about ourselves, what we do, and the world, what we avoid will eventually demand a great price.

Fromm’s universal and timeless insights are as relevant today as they were when he spoke them decades ago. We can mine a great source of wisdom by reading and listening to these great humanist thinkers from our recent past.

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