To Have or to Be ePUB ✓ To Have eBook å or to

To Have or to Be ePUB ✓ To Have eBook å or to

To Have or to Be [Read] ➵ To Have or to Be Author Erich Fromm – To Have Or to Be is one of the seminal books of the second half of the 20th century Nothing less than a manifesto for a new social and psychological revolution to save our threatened planet this book To Have or to PDF/EPUB » Or to Be is one of the seminal books of the second half of the th century Nothing less than a manifesto for a new social and psychological revolution to save our threatened planet this book is a summary of the penetrating thought of Eric Fromm His thesis is that To Have eBook å two modes of existence struggle for the spirit of humankind the having mode which concentrates on material possessions power and aggression and is the basis of the universal evils of greed envy and violence; and the being mode which is based on love the pleasure of sharing and in productive activity.

10 thoughts on “To Have or to Be

  1. Kinga Kinga says:

    To have or to be? Well it’s simple really To be of course To be richNow jokes aside I don’t normally read philosophical books because I share Lara's from Doctor Zhivago view on philosophy She says I am not fond of philosophical essays I think a little philosophy should be added to life and art by way of spice but to make it one's speciality seems to me as strange as feeding on nothing but picklesPhilosophy is to me a kind of brain game A little like Sudoku only with ideas instead of numbers And what’s the point of looking at someone’s solved Sudoku? Yes it all tallies up well done but what am I supposed to be getting out of it?For this OCD reason or another I decided to tackle this jar of picklesAs per the title Fromm talks about two modes of living – through ‘having’ and through ‘being’ You probably already have some general idea of what these two modes are Fromm’s definitions are the common sense’s definitions only phrased in longer wordsFromm insists we are currently in crisis or we were in the 70s but I assume it has got worse since then and if we don’t do something about it and uick not only will we be unhappy but we will bring the end of the world upon us Also apparently it is today – May 21st2011At the same time he presents us with the long history of consumerism disease as old as the humankind itself He goes from Old Testament to Jesus from Meister Eckhert to Marx and analyses views on ‘having’ and ‘being’ throughout centuries That’s the strongest part of the book because later Fromm plunges into moaning and ramblingHe gets a bit paranoid and even insists that the fact we say ‘my dentist’ or ‘my lawyer’ indicates our obsession with possessing things and people Basically everything would be a lot better if we stopped chasing after things and start ‘being’ instead He even postulates that the fear of death would desert us if we do that According to Fromm we fear dying because we fear losing all things we‘ve accumulated such as status houses cars wives husbands children etc Fair enough indeed we lose all that when we die but I don’t see how turning to ‘being’ would save us from the fear of death When we die we essentially cease to be as much as we cease to ‘have’ So what’s your point again Mr Fromm? No wonder that chapter was only a page longHe also condemns any rivalry like God forbid the Olympic Games How he imagines humankind without rivalry is beyond me but he wouldn’t be the first Utopian like thatHe talks about how we have created a religion out of possessions I thought he was going overboard with this I certainly don’t pray to my Kindle but then I read this So maybe he has a pointHe says that we are a society of people permanently unhappy lonely fearful depressed destructive addicted Wow Really are we? And when it comes to fearful I doubt we have anything on people from the Middle Ages who lived in the constant fear of Heaven’s wrath He explains that consumerism leads to unhappiness because nothing will satisfy us We can have all the finest things we get the best food we collect lovers we even want wives husbands then we want children but we will never be happy if we consider all these things in categories of ‘having’ because this kind of need is insatiable This is a sound argument but Pierces put it so much better in 3 and a half minute and the most complicated word they use is ‘ménage à trois’ while he obviously makes sense at times we shouldn’t do all that he wants us to do or life would get rather tiresome literature would cease to exist and the civilisation would return to its initial hunting gathering stage I am going to keep my possessions I like them very much thank youNonetheless he did win me over just a little bit at some point I even thought “hey maybe I can stop hoarding books like a madwoman if that’s going to save the world” Just when I thought good old Fromm is maybe not completely stupid after all he came with his last chapter where he offered his own ideas on how to save the planet He went straight up loco Listen to thisFromm says that there has been very little effort put into studying and experimenting with new socialpolitical systems I beg to differ; I think there has been uite enough My country for example lost 50 years to one of those experimentsHere is what we should doFirst we all need to admit we have a problem and that we are unhappy Then a true change in our characters will occur Once that is done changes in the political structure should be implemented as followsThere should be a council created that would assess utility of ALL the products entering the market and products that are not found to have any utilitarian value but that only drive people to unbridled consumerism would have to be distributed with special warnings “The Council of mentally safe products warns Gucci bags will eventually make you and those around you very unhappy” This council will be made up of psychologists anthropologists philosophers and theologiansMeanwhile the government will subsidize the production of all the useful products until people start buying them and the subsiding will no longer be necessary Though of course Fromm admits that the biggest difficulty lies in making the consumers realise that they are against consumerism There should also be created hundreds of groups counting about 500 members each which would then be supplied with all the necessary data so they can debate and vote on all the matters regarding economy international affairs health education and other aspects of common interest Those groups will of course be free from any external influence or pressureThere will also be a guaranteed annual income for EVERYONE so no one will have to be stuck in a job they hate in fear of starvation Fromm says that guaranteed annual income will give everyone freedom and independence and THAT’s why so far no system has had the guts to adopt itExcept for that there should also be created Cultural Council that would hire about 100 people and be generously financed so it can commission all sort of specialist research and advise the government It would also be in charge in gathering ALL the information and news and presenting it to the citizens in an objective manner as newspapers and other traditional media cannot be trusted in that matter It would supervise a big group of journalists who would supply all that objective informationThat’s just bananas Well at least that would solve for good the problem of unemploymentI read this book in Polish translation so my paraphrasing might not be accurate

  2. Hans Hans says:

    Absolutely brilliant book It takes a lot for a book to move me or present a new idea that totally affects my perceptions of reality This book got right to core of a deep seated culturally accepted norm that was so hard to see I didn't even realize it was there I have been aware of others talking about the alienating nature of Western culture without getting at the heart of why it is alienating Erich Fromm makes it simple to understand; it is entirely our life orientation towards having over being This may seem insignificant but it is huge and influences every aspect of our lives Fromm contends that an orientation towards having creates a subject object relationship with our environment We interact with it through trying to possess it through trying to possess property knowledge and even people Don't agree? Just look at these common expressions I have a wife and two kids or I have a Liberal arts degree I am the possessor they are the objects instead of I am a Liberal Arts major or I am a husband and a father of two It seems small but it betrays how we have come to almost unconsciously define our world It also has further implications that we enlarge and find fulfillment in our lives through not just possessing but possessing It is interesting to me that upon pondering why some men physically abuse their wives I was always confounded by why the unwarranted cruelty towards the mother of their children and oftentimes best friends That is when after reading this it all clicked and that for these men they view their wife and children as property objects and thus he can do as he pleases I mean this even explains Jealousy If you view relationships as property that you have like I have a best friend than you will obviously suffer from jealousy when you feel someone else has trespassed against you and your propertyThis book has caused me to seriously evaluate my own life and how much of it I spend intellectualizing and categorizing in the name of trying to possess an understanding of it All the while neglecting to simply be fully present and live without judgement without analysis but be completely lost inside the very present of being I will definitely work on thisI also enjoyed how Fromm has essentially conceptualized and 'westernized' Buddhist and even mystical christian thought into something not only palatable for the agnostic western student but for the western mind in general We fear and conseuently avoid taking a step into the unknown the uncertain; for indeed while the step may not appear risky to us after we have taken it before we take that step the new aspects beyond it appear very risky and hence frightening Only the old the tried is safe; or so it seems Every new step contains the danger of failure and that is one of the reasons people are so afraid of freedomOne has only to recall the wild crazy enthusiasm with which people participated in the various wars of the past two centuries the readiness of millions to risk national suicide in order to protect the image of the strongest power or of honor or of profits And for another example consider the frenzied nationalism of people watching the contemporary Olympic Games which allegedly serve the cause of peace Indeed the popularity of the Olympic Games is in itself a symbolic expression of Western paganism They celebrate the pagan hero the winner the strongest the most self assertivePeople who are firm believers in Christ as the great lover the self sacrificing God can turn this belief in an alienated way into the experience that it is Jesus who loves for them Jesus thus becomes an idol; the belief in him becomes the substitute for one's own act of loving In a simple unconscious formula 'Christ does the all the loving for us; we can go on in the pattern of the Greek hero yet we are saved because the alienated 'faith' in Christ is a substitute for the imitation of ChristFinally I believe that human beings are so deeply endowed with a need to love that acting as wolves causes us necessarily to have a guilty conscience Our professed belief in love anesthetizes us to some degree against the pain of the unconscious feeling of guilt for being entirely without loveI cannot have a problem because it is not a thing that can be owned it however can have me That is to say I have transformed myself into a problem and am now owned by my creation Modern consumers may identify themselves by the formula I am what I have and what I consume The having mode of existence is not established by an alive productive process between subject and object; it makes things of both object and subject The relationship is one of deadness not aliveness

  3. Leonard Leonard says:

    To have or to be?“I have a problem” or “I am troubled?” “I have insomnia” or “I cannot sleep?”In To Have or To BE? the psychologist Erich Fromm describes the having and the being modes of existence and argues for the latter Do we live in the realm of objects to get them to manage them to secure them to use them? Or do we live in the realm of experiences to sense our surroundings to relate to other to understand ourselves? Fromm published the book in 1976 but his analysis of society remains relevant for our contemporary life “Because the society we live in is devoted to acuiring property and making a profit we rarely see any evidence of the being mode of existence and most people see the having mode as the most natural mode of existence even the only acceptable way of life All of which makes it especially difficult for people to comprehend the nature of the being mode and even to understand that having is only one possible orientation” We have seen some of the havoc such as the recent recession this imbalance between the two modes could cause This book reveals to us the other mode of living the being mode and helps us understand the arena in which we live and the challenges we have to overcome Fromm proposes that the new society would bring about the new Man and he listed such an individual’s twenty one traits including “willingness to give up all forms of having in order to fully be” So he believes that once we remove the external corrupting factors we can achieve such an ideal And I wonder whether he was in the having mode when he proposed such a solution Still I recommend this book for the insight into one dimension of the human condition—the dynamics between having and being This book lays out the landscape of our contemporary society along this axis and helps us assess our mentality and way of life and navigate the obstacles between the two modes of living And though Fromm’s new Man may seem utopian in light of our internal and external constraints we can strive toward a balance between having and being knowing the journey may be as important if not so than the goal

  4. Mary Mary says:

    An amazing read Fromm completely changes your perspective on life and what it means to truly live I recommend reading it not only once but multiple times throughout life

  5. Tanvika Tanvika says:

    Classic introduction on an important uestion how to live?I particularly like the way Fromm tears slowly and gradually our commonsensical beliefs Be it the views on love or sanity or living itself He firstly presents the widely accepted belief of having in the modern society Having means the belief that the our relation is with an object A having person derives meaning in life by possessing and accumulating products ideologies other people This way of living is fairly common Visibly terrorists nationalistic fanatics middle classes addicts One identifies with the object to seek completion of the void within The most dangerous conseuence of this mode is that the person is caught in a loop of passive fulfillment by freuent stimulations like soma sports in BNW Rising anxiety and stress to secure these objects results in suspicion and isolation from other fellows Fear of death follows as it will break the illusion of permanence with the object Caught in distractions there is little time to pay attention to the manipulations by leaders and companies My thoughts over this mode is that it is building on the hypothesis that humans are greedy They can be incentivized by lollipop of money and status endlessly on the basis of a rat race I think this hypothesis can easily be disproved Even rich and successful people face severe depression and can harm themselves Buddha being well off gave it up to free the world from suffering There are empathetic ualities in humans like helping others during tsunami raising voice against injustices like apartheid etc I think most of the people are indoctrinated to pursue the path of excessive materialism This is done by parents initially because they euate it with happiness The other institutions like school media company etc also promote this mindset because of their vested interestThe other alternative considered by Fromm is the being mode It is a state of activity Here he presents a important distinction between busyness and being active Being busy is passive engagement with what one is doing I was reminded of the truckloads of boring assignments I have to write in University While being active is a active involvement with what one is doing It can be reading a nature poem enjoying the rustling leaves It is like being in the flow doing effortlessly In being there is joy of enjoying world without possessionlike music without buying the CD There is a fulfillment in uality living over uantity Critical thinking along with love and empathy are important in this mode I am miles away from this way Undoubtedly a change from exploiting to caring blind obedience to critical thinking from anxiety to calmness will do the world much good The Noble path is dealt by Fromm in the book art of beingFromm does refer to work of many spiritual teachers like Buddha meister Eckhart JesusA background in it would come handy to understand his works His distinction of modes derives a lot from marx's theory of alienation On Freud I can't say much because I haven't read his workLooking forward to of his works It did help me explain my cognitive dissonance and bouts of insanity with the present society

  6. Icarus Phaethon Icarus Phaethon says:

    I consider this book by Erich Fromm to be a masterpiece of thought I read it in my twenties after returning from a long overseas trip and returning to a large city for work It just seemed to sum up everything I was thinking about Western society's obsession with materialism and consumerism and the conseuential destruction of the environment and the basic values of humanity It's a short book but Fromm seems to be able to concisely and elouently get his point across with incredible impact with astonishingly simple insights Here's an example Through a number of steps eighteenth century capitalism underwent a radical change economic behaviour became separate from ethics and human values And another the physical survival of the human race depends on a radical change of the human heart He goes onto explain the psychological imperfection of the possessive mode of humanity in contrast to the being mode To draw an analogy it is similar in this approach to the documentary The Corporation The corporations are compared to having the psychological profile of a psychopath whereas Fromm dissects Western society as having the psychological profile of an immature possessive character whose life is directed towards hoarding things whether it be money material possessions or emotionsAs you read through the passages and chapters you get the impressions that all is not doom and gloom Fromm is an optimist and he offers his perspectives on what the New Man and the New Society could possibly look like He does this without the reader feeling as if it is an impossible utopian and unobtainable vision On the other hand the reader feels charged with a responsibility to see through Fromm's vision To have or to be now that is the uestion

  7. Michelle Michelle says:

    This book continued my reading into ecology economics Fromm is a psychoanalyst genius German philosopher that promotes radical humanism in response to the dead capitalistic society that exists in Western countries The main tenet of the book is the differences between the having and being modes The having mode supports greed envy and an consumption based economy that likens development with growth He argues that the unlimited growth of economies has failed to produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the world He argues for radical humanism and a focus on Being that values human life outside of a capitalistic framework original thought creativity and freedom I enjoy his descriptions of Marxism bureaucracy capitalistic religion and semantics A good companion read to this book is EF Schumacher's Small is Beautiful economics as if people mattered Fromm has also encouraged me to read Meister Eckhart A Modern Translation The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness and The Heart of Buddhist Meditation

  8. Juraj Holub Juraj Holub says:

    After finishing To have or to be? it got among three most important books I’ve read so far Its main theme is why our current system fails at fulfilling us as human beings And what we as its agents can do about it to change the frustration On the philosophical level I deeply related to Fromm’s ideas about the causes of our emptiness and existential crises due to placing too much focus on a ‘having’ mode Be it possessions work love faith learning According to Fromm the mode is too self observing and alienating in order to bring joy and fulfillment into our lives As an alternative Erich proposes to embrace a being mode which uses independence presence and critical reason as its fundamentals Like the teachings of Zen Buddhism it emphasizes experiencing things being in moment with them in contrast to the urge of possessing them The book is way too short for addressing all our human challenges such as loss of faith the art of loving power structures and the role of language and therefore suffers from being academically superficial While many ideas touch only lightly on those topics it’s a brilliant summary and a stimulus for further studies A few of my favorite uotes “Acceptance of the fact that nobody and nothing outside oneself give meaning to life”“Every new step contains the danger of failure and that is one of the reasons people are so afraid of freedom”“Pleasure and thrill are conducive to sadness after the so called peak has been reached; for the thrill has been experienced but the vessel has not grown”

  9. Valarie Valarie says:

    I could feel my life change while reading this My copy which was used in the first place is now well underlined dog eared and full of post its for easy reference

  10. Shane Avery Shane Avery says:

    Truly this is Fromm at his most idealistic and least academic Fromm identifies two basic modes of human living one of having the other of being He characterizes the having mode as developing along with the notion of private property and capitalism particularly twentieth century capitalism which is based on maximal consumption In the having mode of existence one's relationship to the world is one of possession possession not only of property and objects but also of people and ideas The philosophical concept of being on the other hand rests on the idea of aliveness and authentic relatedness to the world Being is a permanent timeless unchangeable substance the opposite of becoming It is a life process which includes constant activity not just outward busyness but genuine creative engagement with the world Being is responding to the world in productive ways in the work place in social settings and during one's leisure time Most of all individuals dominated by notions of being are able to truly experience the essence of reality for they are not motivated by impulses to dominate and control but simply to beThe point of the book is to warn us that economic and ecological disaster is imminent unless a drastic change occurs in the human heart unless the predominate mode of having gives way to a mode of being Our liberation from the having mode is possible only through the full realization of industrial and political participatory democracy To those who contend that possession hoarding and antagonism are inherent in the human condition Fromm contends that a social structure determines the behavioural traits that become rooted patterns Since both the having and the being modes are latent in human nature effecting the appropriate change in social structure can simultaneously change the psychical motivations that undergird character structureHe also offers a blueprint of what some of these changes might look like A system of effective dissemination of effective information All brainwashing methods in industrial and political advertising must be prohibited Active participation in political life reuires maximum decentralization throughout industry and politics Active and responsible participation reuires that humanistic management replace bureaucratic management And Scientific research must be separated from application in industry and defense Much of this seems utopian on the surface but it's hard to disagree with any of Fromm's points or conclusions Sadly few rallied around this book in 1976 and we seem edging even closer to the economic and ecological catastrophe that was prophesied by scientists and intellectuals so many years ago Our true enemies today as in 1976 are the continued meteoric rise in population rates the rule by technocracy manic consumerism a megamachine that includes reigning industrial and military complexes massive corporate bureaucracies that are no less alienating to the worker than assembly line production utterly deficient school systems including university and of course automaton conformity

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