Erich Fromm’s basic thesis is that modern-day
people have been torn away from their prehistoric
union with nature and also with one another, yet they
have the power of reasoning, foresight, and
Trained in Freudian psychoanalysis and influenced
by Karl Marx, Karen Horney, and other socially
oriented theorists, Fromm developed a theory of
personality that emphasizes the influence of socio-
biological factors, history, economics, and class
structure. His humanistic psychoanalysis
assumes that humanity’s separation from the natural
world has produced feelings of loneliness and
isolation, a condition called basic anxiety.
3. His humanistic psychoanalysis looks at people from
a historical and cultural perspective rather than a
strictly psychological one. It is more concerned with
those characteristics common to a culture.
Fromm’s theory is a rather unique blend of Freud
and Marx. Freud emphasized the unconscious,
biological drives, repression, and so on. Marx, on the
other hand, saw people as determined by their
society, and most especially by their economic
4. Fromm’s Basic Assumptions
Fromm believed that humans have been torn away
from their prehistoric union with nature and left with
no powerful instincts to adapt to a changing world.
But because humans have acquired the ability to
reason, they can think about their isolated condition
– a situation Fromm called the human dilemma.
People experience this basic dilemma because they
have become separate form nature and yet have the
capacity to be aware of themselves as isolated
5. HUMAN NEEDS
These existential needs have emerged during the
evolution of human culture, growing out of their
attempts to find answer to their existence.
It can only be addressed by fulfilling our uniquely
human needs. Fromm identified five of these
distinctively human or existential needs.
6. I. RELATEDNESS
Drives people to unite with another person through
submission, power and love.
A person can submit to another, to a group, or to an
institution in order to become one with the world
A person seeks additional power, and as a result, they
become more and more dependent on their partners
and less of an individual.
Fromm defined love as a “union with somebody, or
something outside oneself under the condition of
retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own
7. II. TRANSCENDENCE
Is the need for people to rise above their passive
existence and create or destroy life.
Humans can be creative in other ways. They can
create art, religion, ideas, laws, material
production and love.
But we can also transcend life by destroying it and
thus rising above our slain victims.
Malignant Aggression (to kill for reasons)
8. III. ROOTEDNESS
Is the need for a consistent structure in people’s
To feel at home again in the world.
Fromm was influenced by Johann Jakob
Bachofen’s ideas on early matriarchal societies.
Bachofen held that the mother was the central
figure in these ancient social groups.
9. IV. SENSE OF IDENTITY
Capacity to be aware of ourselves as a separate
People were identified by their social roles.
The identity of most people still resides in their
attachment to others or to institutions such as the
nations, religion, occupation, or social group.
10. V. FRAME OF ORIENTATION
Consistent way of looking at the world.
11. SUMMARY OF FROMM’S HUMAN NEEDS
Transcendence Destructiveness Creativeness
Rootedness Fixation Wholeness
Sense of Adjustment to a
Irrational goals Rational goals
12. I. AUTHORITARIANISM
Tendency to give up the independence of one’s
own individual self and to fuse one’s self with
somebody or something outside oneself.
• Results from basic feelings of powerlessness,
weakness, and inferiority, and is aimed at joining the
self to a more powerful person or institution.
• more neurotic and more socially harmful.
13. II. DESTRUCTIVENESS
is rooted in the feelings of aloneness, isolation
people who conform try to escape from a sense
of aloneness and isolation by giving up their
individuality and becoming whatever other people
desire them to be.
14. 1. RECEPTIVE ORIENTATIONS
feel that the source of all good lies outside
themselves and that the only way they can
relate to the world is to receive things.
lack of self-confidence
15. 2. EXPLOITATIVE ORIENTATIONS
They aggressively take what they desire
rather than passively receive it.
16. 3. HOARDING ORIENTATIONS
Seek to save that which they have already
Lack of creativity
17. 4. MARKETING ORIENTATIONS
Marketing characters see themselves as
commodities, with their personal value
dependent on their exchange value, that is,
their ability to sell themselves.
18. 5. PRODUCTIVE ORIENTATIONS
-as a means of creative self-expression
-concerned with the growth and
development of themselves as well as
c. Reasoning / thinking
-which cannot be separated from
productive work and love.
19. PERSONALITY DISORDERS
◦ Means love of death and usually refers to
a sexual perversion in which a person
desire sexual contact with a corpse.
◦ Infatuation with self
◦ Extreme dependence on the mother or