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Some Elements of Erich Fromm's Popularity

Mihalj Szentmartoni ; Papinsko učilište Gregoriana u Rimu, Rim, Italija

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 243 Kb

str. 19-36

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Erich Fromm is 80 this year. He is a much read author not only in western societies, but also in many socialist countries. In Yugoslavia all his major books have been translated. The present article is an attempt to find some of the elements of his popularity.
The first part of the study deals with some basic characteristics of modern man. First of all, he is manipulated in different ways. In a world that is dominated by production and its laws, man has lost the sense of his own value. Also, modern man is anxious for values and fears relativism. Under the influence of experimental sciences he has come to mistrust the capacity of reason to make objectively valid moral judgments. Finally, modern man has lost or has been forced to give up his religion. With the disappearance of religion he has lost a frame of reference and with it answers to the,basic questions of existence.
Fromm meets these existential needs of modern man. The second part of the study is an analysis of Fromm's remedies. For the loss of the sense of man's own value, he offers a new humanistic anthropology. According to the new image, man is inherently good and capable of self-realization. Fromm has thus corrected the rather pessimistic anthropology of S. Freud. To the anxiety for values Fromm offers a new humanistic ethics. This ethics is anthropocentric in the sense that man is the supreme value. At the same time Fromm claims that man has a capacity to form objectively valid norms and has no need for any external authority to do this for him. And finally, as a remedy for the loss of religious orientation Fromm offers a new humanistic religion which is widely defined so as to be acceptable to everj'body, everywhere.
The author concludes that, on the one hand, Fromm merely restates old truths in new ways but, on the other hand, his merit is to speak to contemporary man in a way understandable to him.

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