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Erich Fromm quotes and quotations

As we ascend the social ladder, viciousness wears a thicker mask.
Erich Fromm

The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent.
Erich Fromm

If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to all others, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism.
Erich Fromm

The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.
Erich Fromm

Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.
Erich Fromm

There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.
Erich Fromm

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Erich Fromm

Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.
Erich Fromm

Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.'
Erich Fromm

The only truly affluent are those who do not want more than they have.
Erich Fromm

In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.
Erich Fromm

Just as love is an orientation which refers to all objects and is incompatible with the restriction to one object, so is reason a human faculty which must embrace the whole of the world with which man is confronted.
Erich Fromm

The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.
Erich Fromm

Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?
Erich Fromm

If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?
Erich Fromm

There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or to be acted out under the guise of virtue.
Erich Fromm

Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of commodities, so the social process requires standardization of man, and this standardization is called equality.
Erich Fromm

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
Erich Fromm

The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots.
Erich Fromm

In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead. In the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.
Erich Fromm

Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self.
Erich Fromm

The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind - not the fiend or the sadist.
Erich Fromm

Man always dies before he is fully born.
Erich Fromm

Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.
Erich Fromm

There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers.
Erich Fromm

Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.
Erich Fromm

Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.
Erich Fromm

There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.
Erich Fromm

Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others.
Erich Fromm

Sanity is only that which is within the frame of reference of conventional thought.
Erich Fromm

The capacity to be puzzled is the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science.
Erich Fromm

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
Erich Fromm

The kind of relatedness to the world may be noble or trivial, but even being related to the basest kind of pattern is immensely preferable to being alone.
Erich Fromm

Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.
Erich Fromm

The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.
Erich Fromm

There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started out with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet which fails so regularly, as love.
Erich Fromm

We all dream; we do not understand our dreams, yet we act as if nothing strange goes on in our sleep minds, strange at least by comparison with the logical, purposeful doings of our minds when we are awake.
Erich Fromm

One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.
Erich Fromm

We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them.
Erich Fromm

To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.
Erich Fromm

What most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal.
Erich Fromm

To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.
Erich Fromm