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Quote 20: Erich Fromm Quotes

In Balanced Achievement’s ‘Quote 20’ series, we illuminate 20 quotes about a particular topic or 20 quotes said by a prominent individual, all of which are chosen with hopes of increasing readers levels of inspiration and motivation. In this article, we turn our attention to one of history’s most influential social psychologists by exploring 20 Erich Fromm quotes.

An image shows German psychologist Erich Fromm in conversation.Ever since the likes of Williams James and Wilhelm Wundt helped to legitimize the field of psychology around the turn of the 20th century, a plethora of eminent psychological figures have increased our understanding of the brain and human behavior with their own unique insights and wisdom-filled words. Undeniably, one such individual who’s done just that is the late great German social psychologist Erich Fromm. After being forced to flee his home country in 1933, because Adolf Hitler had begun imposing his will on those of the Jewish faith, Fromm made a name for himself while primarily living and working in the United States.

Not only did the iconic psychologist, whose views were drastically changed by the events of the war, gain worldwide recognition for his ideas on topics such as personal growth, fulfillment, and love, but his work also helped give rise to the disciplines of political and humanistic psychology. Throughout the course of his lifetime, Fromm published over 15 books, including Escape from Freedom, Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics and The Art of Loving, and still today his words can inspire us to be more. With that being said, let’s now turn our attention to enriching and enlightening ourselves with 20 Erich Fromm quotes:

“There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.”

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

“As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found – in himself.”

“Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love.”

“The experience of humanism is that ‘nothing human is alien to me’; that I carry within myself all of humanity; that nothing which exists in any human being does not exist in myself. I am the criminal and the saint. I am the child and the adult. I am the man who lived 100,000 years ago and the man who will live 100,000 years from now.”

“It takes a moment to tell someone you love them, but it takes a lifetime to prove it.”

“Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinion as the result of their own thinking – and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as this of the majority.”

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

“The affirmation of one’s own life, happiness, growth and freedom, is rooted in one’s capacity to love.”

“If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?”

“Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be. Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.”

“The only truly affluent are those who do not want more than they have.”

“There is nothing of which we are more ashamed than of not being ourselves. And there is nothing which brings us greater joy and happiness than to think, feel, and say what is ours.”

“To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern – and to take the jump and to stake everything on these values.”

“Respect is not fear and awe; it’s the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me.”

“Hate is a product of the unfulfilled life.”

“The duty to be alive is the same as the duty to become oneself, to develop into the individual one potentially is.”

“All genuine ideals have one thing in common: they express the desire for something which is not yet accomplished but which is desirable for the purpose of the growth and happiness of the individual.”

“Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unite him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity.”

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

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