The Escape from Freedom #92
Erich Fromm on why we long to be unfree
Welcome back to our year-long challenge of trying out six different, classic philosophies of happiness in our everyday lives! In the first two months, we lived with Aristotle, Bertrand Russell and Richard Taylor, and we focused on the cultivation of our virtues, our practical wisdom, the zest for life, and the creative originality that we can bring to our lives.
We begin now with the third month, and this will all be about Erich Fromm (1900-1980), German/US social psychologist, philosopher and author. And today, we discuss what is perhaps the most basic starting point into Fromm’s diagnosis of what’s wrong with our world: our need to escape our freedom.
The problem of freedom
It is surprising to see freedom identified as a problem, isn’t it?
We usually think that freedom must be something unequivocally good. All over the world people are fighting for their freedom. Being imprisoned, losing one’s freedom, is a heavy punishment that we reserve only for the worst offenders in our society. Slavery seems almost unimaginably cruel to us, not only because slaves in the past have been mistreated, but primarily because they weren’t free.