Erich Fromm Quotes

Most popular Erich Fromm Quotes

Man is the only animal that can be bored.

boredom mankind man the animal

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

Giving

Men are born equal but they are also born different.
— Erich Fromm

mankind

Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself.
— Erich Fromm
Not one who has much is rich, but one who gives much.
— Erich Fromm
Education is helping a child realize his potentialities.
— Erich Fromm
Education is helping the child realize his potentialities.
— Erich Fromm

education potential

Fortitude is the capacity to say "no" when the world want to hear "yes."

saying no

If one fully understands all the circumstances...one may have compassion.

compassion

Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little love is of little faith.
— Erich Fromm
The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.

revolution

Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.
— Erich Fromm

faith love

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

insanity

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

love

Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines.
— Erich Fromm

cynical education

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

purpose of life

The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism.

love narcissist

The history of thought is the history of an ever-increasing approximation to the truth.

thoughts

Neurosis can be understood best as the battle between two tendencies within an individual.

neurotics

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

creativity life

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

creativity

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

life

The paradoxical—and tragic—situation of man is that his conscience is weakest when he needs it most.

conscience

Man may be defined as the animal that can say "I," that can be aware of himself as a separate entity.

individuality mankind man the animal

Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.

selfishness

Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says: 'I need you because I love you.'
— Erich Fromm
The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots.
— Erich Fromm

future

While every human being has a capacity for love, its realization is one of the most difficult achievements.
— Erich Fromm
Boredom is nothing but the experience of a paralysis of our productive powers and the sense of unaliveness.

boredom

Integrity simply means a willingness not to violate one's identity, in the many ways in which such violation is possible.

integrity

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

potential

The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.

certainty uncertainty

There are many who feel consciously hopeful and unconsciously hopeless, and there are few for whom it is the other way around.

hope hopelessness

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

greed

Understanding a person does not mean condoning; it only means that one does not accuse him as if one were God or a judge placed above him.

understanding others

Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled, to concentrate, to accept conflict and tension, to be born every day, to feel a sense of self.
— 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.

hope

Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.

Giving

I am convinced that boredom is one of the greatest tortures. If I were to imagine Hell, it would be the place where you were continually bored.

boredom

The human passions transform man from a mere thing into a hero, into a being that in spite of tremendous handicaps tries to make sense out of life.

heroism transformation

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.

potential

The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity, without panic and undue fear.

insecurity

Perhaps no phenomenon contains so much destructive feeling as "moral indignation," which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.
— Erich Fromm

hate judging virtue

Psychology as a science has its limitations, and, as the logical consequence of theology is mysticism, so the ultimate consequence of psychology is love.

psychology

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

indignation

Narcissism is the earliest stage of human development, and the person who in later life has returned to this stage is incapable of love; in the extreme case he is insane.

narcissist

Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.

nationalism patriotism

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

life positive

Man is the only animal who does not feel at home in nature, who can feel evicted from paradise, the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem that he has to solve and from which he cannot escape.

mankind man the animal

Love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.
— 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

mother

The maxim "to do unto others as you would like them to do unto you" can be interpreted as meaning "be fair in your exchange with others."  But actually, it was formulated originally as a more popular version of the Biblical "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

golden rules

The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one.

narcissist