Of all the psychoanalytic theorists who have tried to formulate a system better suited than Freud’s to problems of contemporary life, none has been more productive or influential than Erich Fromm. No psychoanalytic thinker approaches him in the power or consistency of his effort to apply the values and insights that derive from his position as a therapist to major social and political issues, from the nature of human liberty in general to the prevention of atomic disaster in particular. Only Fromm, among the neo-Freudians of international repute, has had no medical training; this is perhaps one reason why his approach to the neurotic personality in a sick society has been moral and committed, rather than detached and empirical. The texture of his thought is really more like that of Martin Buber than of Freud.

Fromm has become to a degree both the conscience of the psychoanalytic movement and its most articulate and consistent advocate of social policy. Nevertheless, and surprisingly, he cannot really be said to have become a controversial figure. Disagreement and sometimes snide criticism there have certainly been,1 as well as occasional complaints by classical Freudians that Fromm is either really repeating what Freud has already said—-as, of course, anybody writing about psychoanalysis often must—or is wrong. But there has been rather less of this sort of thing than so prominent a lay analyst might expect; especially in view of his great and sustained success as a popular writer.

Yet, it is not so simple to pin down exactly where his uniqueness lies. Fromm is not a great creator of systematic doctrine. He has been notable rather for his continued assertion, in a variety of contexts, of a few fundamental moral ideas drawn from and supported by his experience as a psychoanalyst. These moral ideas are of fundamental and immediate concern to all who share the modern, technically developed world; if, as Fromm maintains, man may prevail to create a better one, Fromm’s influence and intellectual attraction might well diminish sharply. The sacrifice would be worth making.

To understand Fromm’s raison d’être, both as a scholar and an institution, it is therefore even more necessary than usual to look at the social context in which his thought has developed and to ask what changes in the human condition since Freud’s high period have made the neo-Freudian revision in general, and Fromm’s version of it in particular, a practical necessity. Fromm was born in Frankfort in 1900; his first popular work, Escape from Freedom (called The Fear of Freedom in Britain) was published in 1941. It has been followed by Man for Himself (1947), the publication of his Terry Lectures on Psychoanalysis and Religion (1950), The Sane Society (1955), The Art of Loving (1956), The Forgotten Language (1957), Sigmund Freud’s Mission: An Analysis of his Personality and Influence (1959), Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism (with Daisetz Suzuki and Richard de Martino, 1960), Marx’s Concept of Man (1961), and, most recently, May Man Prevail? (1961).



The chronology alone is suggestive. America’s malaise in the position of power and responsibility it has occupied since Pearl Harbor has become a cliché, but it is also a fact. These years, and those of the Great Depression that World War II, in true Marxian style, finally terminated, brought about the changes in social climate in the United States that made classical Freudianism seem obsolete and neo-Freudianism flourish. Erich Fromm shared these years with us. Having taken his Ph.D. at Heidelberg in 1922 and begun training at the Berlin Institute for Psychoanalysis in 1923, he returned to Frankfort and became associated in 1929 with the Psychoanalytic Institute and the Institute for Social Research of the University there. The Institute for Social Research is best known to Americans as the organization from which the leading German social scientists, driven into exile, ultimately came to America where they produced the landmark investigation of The Authoritarian Personality2 Fromm, however, came in 1933 in response to an invitation to lecture at the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis, and has remained in this country, occupying highly respected positions in the psychoanalytic institutes associated with the neo-Freudian schools of both Karen Homey and Harry Stack Sullivan. In 1951, he accepted a professorship in the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México which he still holds, dividing his time between Mexico, Michigan State University, and short-term lecture courses at the New School for Social Research and New York University.

Fromm’s personal experience with the remarkable moral potentialities of Western capitalist democracy not only includes participation—as a lifelong democratic socialist of no particular party affiliation—in the circumstances of German life that culminated in the rise of Nazism; it also includes participation in our own economic collapse and later reluctance to accept responsibility for our victories in terms more profound than those of nuclear dominance and resistance against Communism. His participation, moreover, has remained sufficiently marginal to permit him to look at his world somewhat as if he were down there on a visit. No social scientist has been more outspoken politically than Fromm, especially in his most recent work and pronouncements. But his capacity to consider social and economic trends in the light of their humanistic consequences seems to have made Fromm especially perceptive of their concreteness. Hitler and McCarthy were not only totally loathsome to him; they were the predictable consequences of the social and psychological trends that constituted his central concerns and the basis for his life work. Fromm, unlike most of Hitler’s and McCarthy’s potential victims, attached sufficient importance to what they threatened to gain foresight; he saw them coming, and had established a defensible base elsewhere before they arrived. This is to his credit; yet in reading Fromm, as in reading Buber, one is sometimes a little troubled by a feeling that the psychological and moral systems they have erected—though noble and complex—suffer a certain loss of authority and detail of feeling from their comparative exclusion from the tragic events of our time.

Fromm’s basic patterns of thought are intensely Jewish;3 he himself remained Orthodox to the age of twenty-six. Specifically, his central concern is with the social and psychological processes in human beings that destroy their productivity; and with the alternative ways in which people might grow if society gave them a fair chance to become capable of love and productive life. He is, however, justifiably skeptical of both the power and the inclination of secular authority to further the ends of love and human justice, and for this reason has been a consistent and vocal opponent of Zionism, which he sees as a most unfavorable exchange of moral authority for secular power.

The waste of human potentiality under the social and economic conditions of modern life is a common theme to the neo-Freudians, as is the conception that more benign social arrangements are possible.4 The new social arrangements envisaged are, at least implicitly, more liberal, though the neo-Freudians vary greatly in their degree of explicit concern with social institutions. My own choice for the greatest of the neo-Freudians, Harry Stack Sullivan, sticks close to the clinical context in his writings, though his Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry and other work makes it clear that he attributes failures in individual development to the eclipse of genuine interpersonal relations by anxiety. For Sullivan, what he calls “arrest of development” is then also a failure in socialization; though he never presents as Fromm and Homey did a typology of such failures that—like Fromm’s “receptive,” “exploitative,” “hoarding,” and “marketing” orientations of character—can be attributed to specific institutional traits of our society.



But it is here that a subtle yet crucial issue begins to separate Freudian thought from that of the neo-Freudians, and perhaps of Fromm most of all. The issue also explains, I believe, why the chronology of Erich Fromm’s life and publication has had a great deal to do with his success. It is hard to imagine that, prior to 1941, many Americans would have seen Fromm’s thoughts as relevant to any very serious problems we faced. During the depression, by and large, we did not take any form of psychoanalytic thought to have serious social implications, but tended to dismiss it as a rich man’s toy. Whatever defects of character the rich might have, the poor were seen simply as the victims of their failure, as healthy and even noble, but betrayed. Chatterley may have been a neurotic; Mellors was a natural man. The Joads, surely, could never have had a daughter like Lolita.

World War II and its aftermath put an end to this sort of sentimentality, at least as an effective intellectual force. Nazism had its Thyssens, but it was clearly rooted in the hearts of the common people as well as of the rich and the bourgeoisie. In this country, racial hatreds, the paranoid suspicions aroused by the Communist label, and worst of all, the apathy and alienation with which many failed to respond to the destruction of their neighbors and of presumably cherished civil rights, made it very clear that people in general were not merely entrapped by wicked leaders in evil institutions, but had badly deteriorated in a captivity that had been imposed with their partial consent. The shoddiness and dominance of mass culture expressed an emptiness and hostility in which everyone was implicated.

Such grisly phenomena could hardly be explained by any theory of individual psychopathology. They required, instead, a kind of social psychology which retained its psychodynamic character: its concern with the effect on individual growth, in all its complexity and uniqueness, of ubiquitous social conditions. Here Fromm’s conception (as stated in The Sane Society) of the “socially patterned defect” is essential:

There is, however, an important difference between individual and social mental illness, which suggests a differentiation between two concepts; that of defect, and that of neurosis. If a person fails to attain freedom, spontaneity, a genuine expression of self, he may be considered to have a severe defect, provided we assume that freedom and spontaneity are the objective goals to be attained by every human being. If such a goal is not attained by the majority of members of any given society, we deal with the phenomenon of socially patterned defect. The individual shares it with many others; he is not aware of it as a defect, and his security is not threatened by the experience of being different, of being an outcast, as it were. What he may have lost in richness and in a genuine feeling of happiness, is made up by the security of fitting in with the rest of mankind—as he knows them. As a matter of fact, his very defect may have been raised to a virtue by his culture, and thus may give him an enhanced feeling of achievement.

This paragraph seems to me to be the cornerstone of Fromm’s position. What all his work deals with essentially is: (1) an appraisal of the loveless economic nexus that links modern men, and of the Nessus-ary fabric of their social relationships; (2) an analysis of the psychodynamic impact of these relationships on individual growth toward the goals of freedom and spontaneity; and (3) more recently, an examination of certain factors in the current situation that might help us to achieve them, ranging from Zen Buddhism to disarmament and sanity in foreign policy. Fromm offers no panaceas and, indeed, no systematic social theory; but he is consistent in his insistence that modern life makes it impossible to maintain love and disciplined spontaneity as common human experiences, and that deprivation of these causes such widespread deformation and stultification as may well lead us to put ourselves out of our misery and into that which the next war will leave in its place. In May Man Prevail? he offers specific and very sensible suggestions for political action intended to make peace and world preservation more likely, and he tries to pitch these suggestions at the modest level of sanity of which our society may still be capable.

Fromm adverts to the conflict between his thought and Freud’s through much of his work as well, of course, as in Sigmund Freud’s Mission. But I am not convinced that he ever gets to the bottom of it. The source of conflict may be approached by starting from the phrase in The Sane Society I have already quoted: “provided we assume that freedom and spontaneity are the objective goals to be attained by every human being.” This assumption is absolutely central to Fromm’s position; and I think Freud would have been sadly amused by it. The just old man who commented, after the storm troopers had despoiled his apartment in Vienna, that he himself would never have dared charge quite so much for a single professional visit, might have felt that it did not express his world view.



The difference between Freud and Fromm is not really a disagreement, but a different moral reaction to the nature of society. And both may be right, because the moral relation of the individual to society did in fact change crucially in the two generations that separated them. Freud at eighty could face the storm troopers secure in the conviction, built up over a lifetime of hard struggle, that man and society are two tough adversaries who can still respect each other’s dignity. The Nazis must have seemed to him a contemptible, though not an astonishing, aberration. Fromm, at thirty-five, would have known that Freud was extrapolating the 19th century too far. The Nazis were not an aberration; there was no longer anything effective in Germany, and not much in Western culture, to which they might be scornfully contrasted. They were not an aberration; they were a miscarriage.

Freud would not have assumed that freedom and spontaneity are the objective goals to be attained by every human being; because he had already made the prior assumption that these values are partially mortgaged under the terms of the social contract that is presumed to safeguard the individual in his enjoyment of the residue of freedom and spontaneity left him. This is the central theme of Civilization and Its Discontents. In this respect, Freud is a pure Hobbesian. But if a state of nature provides no arts, no letters, no society, and, what is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short; then how shall we describe the contrasting civilization of Auschwitz?

A cheerful but not an optimistic man, Freud was certainly under no illusion that society or, indeed, reality is benign. He takes no position in Civilization and Its Discontents as to whether the game is worth the candle; he merely points out that it cannot be played in the dark and the individual must pay what the candle costs. His toughly compassionate reservations about using psychoanalysis to treat working-class patients suggest that he felt that, for most individuals, the candle really did cost more than the game would be worth; and that people who in reality had very little opportunity to lead richer lives might better be left with their defenses and illusions. Freud knew that the social contract was too hard a bargain for most of the people who were subject to it, and that they would have very little freedom and spontaneity left after meeting its terms. What he may not quite have grasped as Fromm did, was that we had entered an era in which society was dominated by people whose sense of self is so weak that they cannot be trusted to keep even those bargains that are grossly to their advantage; so that no social contract is possible.

This explains, I think, why it is so difficult to respond to Fromm’s assumption with freedom, spontaneity, and joy of one’s own. We do not make this assumption freely ourselves; we come to it as to a counsel of despair. Freedom, spontaneity, and a genuine feeling of self are not goals, and none become redder of tooth and claw than those who pursue them as if they were. They are—as Fromm, of course, emphasizes throughout his work—conditions, attributes, consequences; not the ends of growth and love, but the evidence that the processes of growth and love are going along reasonably well. In a society that establishes conditions in which they go conspicuously badly one struggles in agony to achieve them, just as respiration rate rises dramatically during a heart attack, in an effort to compensate for the inability of the blood stream to carry oxygen to the tissues by forcing more oxygen into the blood.



This is not meant as a criticism of Fromm’s position, but as an explanation of the insuperable difficulties it faces; and also of one reason why his work does not seem to me as joyful or exuberant as Freud’s is, in its own grim way; though its message is surely “be joyful or perish.” Fromm does not underestimate the difficulties. His social criticism is radical; and it is certainly most appropriate and even perhaps helpful for a psychoanalyst deeply concerned with the failure of society to sustain growth and love to plan in some detail for a better one. His understanding of the plight of modern man seems to me nearly flawless. But I think he then reifies from his analysis of that plight the qualities that would be necessary to extricate man from it, even though we have got into it precisely because these qualities do not operate in the kind of situation we are in.

More specifically, I think, Fromm makes an unanswerable case for the existence in all men of very strong tendencies toward free and spontaneous growth; the same tendencies toward health, undoubtedly, that Carl Rogers and the client-centered therapists have found so dependably present in even the sickest patient when the therapeutic situation permits him to lower his defenses. Fromm is perfectly right in emphasizing that what is repressed into the unconscious and forced to manifest itself in sickness and in symbols is, in our culture, as likely to be the patient’s most constructive and expansive tendencies as it is any impulse that he would be afraid or ashamed of. He is right in noting that the guilt against which we defend ourselves by repression is today more likely to be the existential guilt of having betrayed our best selves than any fear we may have of our worst. Dr. Jekyll’s problem is no longer Mr. Hyde, but the way he really feels about himself for going ahead and joining the AMA anyway.

The trouble is that when the social contract weakens or lapses, restrictive though it may have been, people cease to believe that doctors are bound to care for the sick, or stockbrokers to abstain from manipulating the market, or ethical drug manufacturers to manufacture drugs ethically. If they don’t—well, that’s the way the self crumbles. And under these circumstances, there is hardly a chance that freedom and spontaneity will come to be associated with a genuine sense of self. There is no reason to suppose that people are less honest than they used to be; this is merely one of the delusions associated with Goldwater fever. In fact, the rogue on a heroic scale has disappeared along with the other heroes, to be replaced by a collective administrative policy. But we do seem to be shiftier than people used to be; less able or less inclined to assume responsibility for the outcomes of the processes we take part in. The corporate form, the professional organization, and the committee are far more sophisticated and effective at concealing the reality of a decision than the blank cartridge traditionally placed in the musket of one member of a firing squad.



If we cannot trust our commitments to our social roles, we are thrown back upon ourselves as individuals; but our selves are weaker than they would have grown to be in a less shifty and impersonal social order. It has been rather widely noted by practicing analysts that, since the time of Freud, there has been a major change in the kind of difficulty that brings patients into therapy. There is now a much smaller proportion of hysterical or obsessive-compulsive neuroses, and a much larger proportion of what are called “character disorders.” What this means, among other things, is that a far larger proportion of Freud’s patients than of those of a contemporary analyst felt their symptoms to be ego-alien; felt, that is, that they had a self of their own to which the symptoms were alien. They came to Freud to have their real self restored, and this is what he undertook. Their paralyzed leg, their terror of horses, their impotence were somehow not like them at all. They were, of course, deceiving themselves, and could only be helped by being brought to face their own deceptions. But the point is that they had a self to deceive—a self that was much more real to them than their symptoms, and whose life the symptoms had disturbed.

But a character-neurotic does not feel his problem to be the intrusion of the repressed upon an otherwise functional, established self. His whole life is a symptom; he is miserable, not because his symptoms make him so, but because they interfere with his perception of reality and keep him from getting the satisfactions he needs. He is not exactly fooling himself; his self is still immanent. This, to be sure, is exactly Fromm’s point in noting that the character structure which develops in interaction with social institutions like ours suffers from its very incapacity for freedom, spontaneity, and love. Moreover, he is perfectly consistent in then seeking the roots of the difficulty in an unwholesome society, rather than attempting merely to treat the individuals who have been, and will continue to be, its victims.

But the sick society is, of course, an expression of the present needs, accommodations, concessions, and mutual arrangements of its victims in their present state; all there is to work with is what we are now. Fromm is right in maintaining that those who fear freedom, however numerous, are gravely ill and have usually been gravely mistreated. But this does not make it less likely that they will atrociously mishandle freedom. It makes it more likely.

This is a political issue of the first priority; though, perhaps, no question of fundamental policy is involved. I do not believe that one man or one social group “gives” freedom to another; morally, it is not his to give or withhold; and, practically, he usually does withhold it as long as he can profitably remain dominant—and no longer. What is presented as a decision to abdicate, or grant national sovereignty, or extend the franchise is usually a belated rationalization of social and economic changes that occurred some time before; there has been an interaction of social forces, but not a decision. Moreover, these forces bear no consistent relationship whatever to the moral issues involved or thought to be involved. Since the world is even now rational enough that people who have a great deal of anything which is difficult to get and hold on to usually must want it badly—the converse of this statement is emphatically false—then the power elites of most societies are quite probably even sicker than the people they dominate; since power over others and enormous wealth are not greatly coveted by healthy people. This reasoning tends to support the moral implications of Fromm’s position, since even the sickest and most frightened or truculent slaves are likely to be more rational and healthier than those who would willingly have reduced them to such a condition.

Nevertheless, if a French restaurateur with a family business in Oran, or a white Southern bus driver were to complain to me that he had been feeling a little nervous lately, I think I should be inclined to sympathize. And I am not sure that I would recommend Erich Fromm’s work to him in order to get him to look forward more enthusiastically to the joys of general liberation and spontaneity. Liberation and spontaneity are more valuable than anything else I could name; and more of them for one individual means more for all, rather than less, which is a desirable property in itself. But they can be very costly, too; especially if large increments of them come to be distributed in strange and unwieldy ways in a society that is unfamiliar with them in these particular forms.



Even morally—as well as practically—the restoration of freedom and growth is not a simple issue. For me, the perfect paradigm of Fromm’s work is The Tempest. Many of his subtlest and most telling points are illustrated in Shakespeare’s treatment of both character and incident. It is wholly Frommian, for example, that we should see Ariel as just as much a victim as Caliban; though Prospero thinks that he loves the one and hates the other, he uses both for his own purposes and permits neither his own freedom to develop. Ariel, in some ways, is worse off. For he knows that he wishes to be free but does not question even in his own mind Prospero’s assertion that he is being treated lovingly. Caliban at least snarls back and plots revenge, though in his pathetic dependency and need for affection he sets the drunken Trinculo and his fellows up as objects of worship and mistakes his bondage to them for freedom from Prospero.

Explicit in The Tempest is the power of human love to resist enchantment and delusion—the healthy mortality of Ferdinand and Miranda, who are not really a very intelligent young couple, is enough in the end to induce Prospero to abjure magic in favor of rational authority; not for their sake but for his own. In the epilogue he can say: “Now my charms are all o’erthrown/And what strength I have’s mine own,” and return to Milan to claim his just heritage as Duke. Rational authority, in contrast to authority based on pretense, charisma, or intimidation, is a very positive concept on which Fromm places great emphasis. The power to distinguish and accept rational authority, based on the authoritative individual’s actual competence and derived from his responsibility to use his competence for mutual social benefit, is for Fromm an important sign of maturity.

For just this reason, The Tempest seems to me to illustrate the limitations of Fromm’s position, so far as it has yet evolved, as well as its subtlety and strength. For Caliban’s tragedy is not really softened when the play ends. Prospero’s magic is enough to enslave Caliban; but once he has done it his own reversion to rationality and growth cannot free Caliban again. Slavery and degradation are not reversible experiences.

The actual parallels are a bit too close to modern life for comfort:

Caliban: This island’s mine, by
    Sycorax my mother
Which thou takest from me. When
    thou earnest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest
    much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in’t, and
    teach me how
To name the bigger light, and
    how the less,
That burn by day and night; and
    then I loved thee
And showed thee all the qualities
    of the isle
The fresh springs, brine-pits,
    barren place and fertile:
Cursed be I that did so! . . .
For I am all the subjects
    that you have
Which first was mine own king:
    and here you sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you
    do keep from me
The rest o’ the island.

Prospero: Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kind-
    ness! I have used thee,
Filth as thou art, with human care,
    and lodged thee
In mine own cell, till thou
    didst seek to violate
The honour of my child.

Caliban: O ho, O ho: would’t
    had been done!
Thou dids’t prevent me; I had
    peopled else
This isle with Calibans.

Prospero: Abhorred slave,
Which any print of goodness
    wilt not take,
Being capable of all ill! I
    pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak,
    taught thee each hour
One thing or other; when thou
    dids’t not, savage
Know thine own meaning, but
    woulds’t gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow’d
    thy purposes
With words that made them known.
But thy vile race,
Though thou dids’t learn, had
    that in’t which good natures
Could not abide to be with;
    therefore wast thou
Deservedly confined into this rock
Who hadst deserved more than a prison.

In the end, of course, Prospero does free Caliban; that is, he tells him he is free, and leaves him on the island that once was his. “I’ll be wise hereafter,” Caliban pledges, “and seek for grace.” Prospero departs with his daughter and handsome son-in-law, for Milan. A more prophetic Shakespeare might, perhaps, have made him Duke of Brussels.



Neither From nor any other qualified therapist would take Caliban’s pledge as reliable evidence that the goals of therapy had been achieved; though, in any case, if we turn a child into a monster by mistreating him we certainly have no right to justify our continued mistreatment as self-defense. If we treat one another in such a way as to turn human beings into Furies, we must learn to live together as Furies, though it isn’t a very rich life. But the problem remains. Let us grant that the impulse to growth, love, and freedom in human beings is more basic than the impulse to evil, perversity, and fixation, in the sense that it appears earlier and would never be replaced by darkness and stagnation if love and freedom were accepted and cherished in our society instead of exposing the child to rejection, anxiety, and pain. More basic does not necessarily mean stronger, or even in the long run, preponderant. Caliban and Ariel are Prospero’s victims; at their worst, they are not as bad as he is in the full panoply of his sorcery. When he leaves, they are better off without him. But they will never be what they might have if he hadn’t happened to them. They may transcend the experience, use it to grow on, and be greater, but they may also turn on each other and destroy the island in impotence, terror, and hatred. Most likely, they will handle their fear of freedom by trying to be as much like him as possible, which will prevent them from making the island their own. Caliban may yet people the isle; but his eldest son will be named Prospero.

At bottom Fromm seems to me to be a Manichean. Manicheanism is the most appealing of the ancient Alexandrian heresies, and there is probably no more reason for a Jew to avoid it than any other part of the friendly persuasion of Christianity. But it certainly makes him very different from Freud. Manicheanism is complicated, but Rebecca West in St. Augustine adequately states the central point at issue:

The myth . . . has grandeur and profundity. Light and darkness, good and evil, are the same pair under different names. . . Mani . . . being an artist . . . gave the kingdom of light a personal ruler who was God, and put the kingdom of darkness under the lordship of Satan and his angels.

For long the two kingdoms were unaware of each other. Then Satan made war on the kingdom of light, and God begat Primal Man on his consort to be His champion and defender. But Primal Man was vanquished and thrown into captivity. God himself then took the field, routed evil, and released the captive. But meanwhile there had been wrought a malicious and not easily reparable confusion of the two kingdoms. Seeds of darkness had been scattered widely in the soils of light, innumerable seeds of light found themselves sown deeply in the darkness. These elements must be sorted and returned to their own. For this purpose the universe was created. It is planned as a means of deliverance for the stolen particles of light. . . . On earth man plays out a peculiar drama of the division. He is the work of Satan, who placed in his dark substance all the particles of light he could steal, so that he could control them. Man is, therefore, a house divided against itself. . . . When all the particles of light are liberated the kingdom of light will be perfected, the good angels who maintain the present universe will withdraw the prop of their power from it, and it will collapse into fiery nothingness.

Nothing goes quite as planned; and there is some reason to believe that the good angels may be going ahead with the final stages of their program before the earlier ones have been quite completed. To this, Fromm strongly objects. But his doctrine still falls afoul of the basic theological objection to Manicheanism; which is that it implies that God and Satan are evenly matched, and that the outcome of the struggle between them is, in effect, the responsibility of man. If man can overcome the division in himself and fulfill his Primal nature, light will triumph. Since even heretics mean God to win in the end, Manicheanism, in effect, demands a greater optimism about the nature of man than the record, at the time Augustine was fighting it, seemed to warrant. Sixteen hundred years later, it still does.

Optimism is not a very sound basis for love; love is not love . . . which bends with the remover to remove. Love, too, is partly a dark business; mastery of the art of loving leads lovers to accept each other as wholes and as ends in themselves. They delight in their mutual growth; but they do not expect it—lovers are not much concerned about the future. They do each other evil, and hurt each other, too; but they do not forgive or accept each other’s faults; for a whole cannot accept one of its own parts. Love grows, but it does not progress. Paolo and Francesca go to Hell together; but not to White Sands Proving Ground. Love and Life never triumph, and are never wholly defeated; they just are, and being is not a form of strategy.



1 I find John H. Schaar's Escape From Authority (Basic Books, 1961) unbearably snide, even though I agree with many of his conclusions.

2 T. W. Adorno and Others, Harper, 1950.

3 See Jakob J. Petuchowski's “Erich Fromm's Midrash on Love,” COMMENTARY, December 1956.

4 Martin Birnbach, Neo-Freudian Social Philosophy (Stanford University Press, 1961) is a superb and intellectually dexterous source on this.

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