Shane Avery's Reviews > El corazón del hombre: Su potencia para el bien y para el mal

El corazón del hombre by Erich Fromm
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's review
Apr 11, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: thought
Read in April, 2009

A maddening book. Fromm came so close, early in his career, to a theoretical breakthrough. This book, published in 1964, represents a serious regression in his thought. Rather than treat the psychology of ethics in scientific terms, he attempts to translate mental health into an existential idiom. In the process, he forfeits any hope he had at achieving an objective framework from which to judge human action.

Rather than situate mental health within biology, Fromm relies heavily upon traditional notions of good and evil, and dark and light. He rejects the most radical aspects of Freud's thought, finding him guilty of a "mechanistic materialism." In his effort to translate Freud "into a new frame of reference," Fromm talks of "necrophilia," "narcissism" and "incestuous fixation," while robbing each them of their libidinal foundations. Suddenly, all these categories become obstacles to some some vague notion of spiritual independence, or "biophilia." Without Freud's psychosexual/evolutionary foundations, Fromm's whole project becomes meaningless proselytizing: we must make the positive choice; we must not resign ourselves to nuclear war; we still have the power to change the course of the future; we can still make the world a better place if we just hop on the noble path; etc., -- all stuff that's been said before.

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Quotes Shane Liked

Erich Fromm
“Freedom is not a constant attribute which we either "have" or "have not." In fact, there is no such thing as "freedom" except as a word and an abstract concept. There is only one reality: the act of freeing ourselves in the process of making choices. In this process the degree of our capacity to make choices varies with each act, with our practice of life.”
Erich Fromm, El corazón del hombre: Su potencia para el bien y para el mal

Reading Progress

04/11 page 79
07/17 marked as: read

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