To Have or To Be? by Erich Fromm

To Have or To Be? by Erich Fromm To Have or To Be? by Erich Fromm pdf

The End of an Illusion

The Great Promise of Unlimited Progress—the promise of domination of nature, of material abundance, of the greatest happiness for the greatest number, and of unimpeded personal freedom—has sustained the hopes and faith of the generations since the beginning of the industrial age.

To be sure, our civilization began when the human race started taking active control of nature; but that control remained limited until the advent of the industrial age. With industrial progress, from the substitution of mechanical and then nuclear energy for animal and human energy to the substitution of the computer for the human mind, we could feel that we were on our way to unlimited production and, hence, unlimited consumption; that technique made us omnipotent; that science made us omniscient.

We were on our way to becoming gods, supreme beings who could create a second world, using the natural world only as building blocks for our new creation.

People should not consider so much what they are to do, as what they are.
-Meister Eckhart

Men and, increasingly, women experienced a new sense of freedom; they became masters of their own lives: feudal chains had been broken and one could do what one wished, free of every shackle. Or so people felt. And even though this was true only for the upper and middle classes, their achievement could lead others to the faith that eventually the new freedom could be extended to all members of society, provided industrialization kept up its pace.

Socialism and communism quickly changed from a movement whose aim was a new society and a new man into one whose ideal was a bourgeois life for all, the universalized bourgeois as the men and women of the future. The achievement of wealth and comfort for all was supposed to result in unrestricted happiness for all. The trinity of unlimited production, absolute freedom, and unrestricted happiness formed the nucleus of a new religion, Progress, and a new Earthly City of Progress was to replace the City of God. It is not at all astonishing that this new religion provided its believers with energy, vitality, and hope.

The Way to do is to be.


Introduction: The Great Promise, Its Failure, and New Alternatives

  • The End of an Illusion
  • Why Did the Great Promise Fail?
  • The Economic Necessity for Human Change
  • Is There an Alternative to Catastrophe?

Part One: Understanding the Difference Between Having and Being

I. A First Glance

  • The Importance of the Difference Between Having and Being
    Examples in Various Poetic Expressions
  • Idiomatic Changes
  • Origin of the Terms
  • Philosophical Concepts of Being
  • Having and Consuming

II. Having and Being in Daily Experience

  • Learning
  • Remembering
  • Conversing
  • Reading
  • Exercising
  • Authority
  • Having Knowledge and Knowing
  • Faith
  • Loving

III. Having and Being in the Old and New 
Testaments and in the Writings of Master Eckhart

  • The Old Testament
  • The New Testament
  • Master Eckhart

Part Two: Analyzing the Fundamental Differences Between the Two Modes of Existence

IV. What Is the Having Mode?

  • The Acquisitive Society—Basis for the Having Mode
  • The Nature of Having
  • Other Factors Supporting the Having Mode
  • The Having Mode and the Anal Character
  • Asceticism and Equality
  • Existential Having

V. What Is the Being Mode?

  • Being Active
  • Activity and Passivity
  • Being as Reality
  • The Will to Give, to Share, to Sacrifice

VI. Further Aspects of Having and Being

  • Security—Insecurity
  • Solidarity—Antagonism
  • Joy—Pleasure
  • Sin and Forgiveness
  • Fear of Dying—Affirmation of hiving
  • Here, Now—Past, Future

Part Three: The New Man and the New Society

VII. Religion, Character, and Society

  • The Foundations of Social Character
  • Social Character and “Religious” Needs
  • Is the Western World Christian?
  • The Humanist Protest

VIII. Conditions for Human Change and the Features of the New Man

  • The New Man

IX. Features of the New Society

  • A New Science of Man
  • The New Society: Is There a Reasonable Chance?


Language: English
Format: PDF
Pages: 204
Size: 7.11 Mb
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