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Unformatted text preview: Lecture 5 -Psychology of Personality Erich Fromm 1900 1980 Erich Fromm brought to his work a strong religious understanding, a humanistic ethic and a vision of possibility. Although heavily influenced by Freud, he moved far from the Psychodynamic tradition. He had the ability to write for a popular audience, to develop a strong social critique, and to combine psychological insight with social theory (drawing on diverse sources such as Freud and Marx). These qualities did not endear him to a number of his colleagues who viewed his efforts with some suspicion and even alarm. Fromm, in some ways, is a transition figure that brings other theories together. Most significantly for us, he draws together the Freudian and neo-Freudian theories we have been talking about (especially Adler's and Horney's) and the humanistic theories we will discuss later. Born in Frankfurt on March 23, 1900, Erich Fromm was the only child of Orthodox Jewish parents. Funk (1999) reports that he characterized his parents as "highly neurotic" and himself as "a probably rather unbearable, neurotic child. Erich Fromm experienced a religious but cosmopolitan education. As Burston (1991) has noted, his adolescent role models were all scholarly Jews. Hermann Cohen was liberal and well known as an neo-Kantain thinker; Rabbi Nehemia Nobel was a celebrated Talmudist who was also versed in psychoanalytic literature; and Rabbi Salman Baruch Rabinkow was a student of Jewish mysticism with a strong sympathy for som. Given these early influences it is perhaps not surprising that Erich Fromms orientation was committed, open and critical. It is also not surprising that his initial vocation was rabbinic. However, the events of the First World War shook Fromms thinking. Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you. "When the war ended in 1918, I was a deeply troubled young man who was obsessed by the question of how war was possible, by the wish to understand the irrationality of human mass behavior, by a passionate desire for peace and international understanding. More, I had become deeply suspicious of all official ideologies and declarations, and filled with the conviction of all one must doubt." (quoted by Funk 1999). His studies took him to the University of Frankfurt where, in 1920, he helped to found of the Freies Judisches Lehrhaus (directed by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig), Erich Fromm then went on to undertake a doctorate (in sociology) at Heidelberg (completed in 1922). In 1924 he began his studies in psychoanalysis (studying first in Frankfurt, then at the Berlin Institute of Psychoanalysis). He also began to turn away from religious observance. Fromm also got married (in 1926) to Frieda Reichman but this was to be a short union. Reichman was ten years his senior - and had previously been his psychoanalyst....
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- Fall '09