The Art of Being

By Erich Fromm

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Between 1974 and 1976, while working on the book To Have Or to Be? at his home in Locarno, Switzerland, the aged Erich Fromm wrote far more manuscript and chapters than were actually used in the book, which was published in 1976. Some of these chapters are contained in the present volume. They deal entirely with the "steps toward being" that the individual can take in orde Between 1974 and 1976, while working on...

Book details

September 1st 1994 by Bloomsbury Academic

(first published 1989)

Edition Language
English

Quotes From "The Art of Being"

"A person who has not been completely alienated, who has remained sensitive and able to feel, who has not lost the sense of dignity, who is not yet "for sale", who can still suffer over the suffering of others, who has not acquired fully the having mode of existence - briefly, a person who has remained a person and not become a thing - cannot help feeling lonely, powerless, isolated in present-day society. He cannot help doubting himself and his own convictions, if not his sanity. He cannot help suffering, even though he can experience moments of joy and clarity that are absent in the life of his "normal" contemporaries. Not rarely will he suffer from neurosis that results from the situation of a sane man living in an insane society, rather than that of the more conventional neurosis of a sick man trying to adapt himself to a sick society. In the process of going further in his analysis, i.e. of growing to greater independence and productivity,his neurotic symptoms will cure themselves."
"If other people do not understand our behavior—so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being "asocial" or "irrational" in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to "explain," which usually implies that the explanation be "understood," i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation."
"Without effort and willingness to experience pain and anxiety, nobody grows, in fact nobody achieves anything worth achieving."
"تعتمد قوة موقع الإنسان في الحياة على درجة كفاءة إدراكه للواقع, وكلما نقصت كفائته يزداد تشوشه وبالتالي يتنامى شعوره بعدم الأمان, فيصبح بحاجة إلى أوهام يتكئ عليها ليجد الامان الذي ينشده. وكلما ازدادت كفائته تزداد إمكانيته في الوقوف على قدميه وإيجاد جوهره داخل ذاته."
"People are confused and unsure, they seek answers to guide them to joy, tranquillity, self-knowledge, salvation―but they also demand that it be easy to learn, that it require little or no effort, that results be quickly obtained."
"The basic for any approach to self-transformation is an ever-increasing awareness of reality and the shedding of illusions."
"On whom am I dependent? What are my main fears? Who was I meant to be at birth? What were my goals and how did they change? What were the forks of the road where I took the wrong direction and went the wrong way? What efforts did I make to correct the error and return to the right way? Who am I now, and who would I be if I had always made the right decisions and avoided crucial errors? Whom did I want to be long ago, now, and in the future? What is my image of myself? What is the image I wish others to have of me? Where are the discrepancies between the two images, both between themselves and with what I sense in my real self? Who will I be if I continue to live as I am living now? What are the conditions responsible for the development as it happened? What are the alternatives for further development open to me now? What must I do to realize the possibility I choose?"
"I cannot know who I am, because I don't know which part of me is not me."

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