I read Erich Fromm’s book To Have or To Be (1978) many years ago, and remember being impressed by the ideas put forward. So I recently sought out the copy with yellowing pages from the shelf of books that have survived regular culls over the years. I discovered that Fromm’s ideas are just as relevant today, and the problems he identified have arguably got worse.
His basic idea is simple. Having and being are two fundamental modes of experience, the relative strengths of which are key determinants of character. Modern capitalist society emphasises having things, property, money, goods and so on – so these are major determinants of character, and the society is essentially competitive. Other more co-operative societies have been more concerned with being in the world and how we relate to it.Read More »
Looking back over many years at periods when I’ve been ill or suffered pain, I can see that they were often related to times of physical or mental ‘stress’. The latter were basically of the mind and emotions. Of course mind and body are totally interlinked so this is not surprising. In fact, it seems likely that many ‘illnesses’ are actually psychosomatic, so have causes that lie deep in the psyche – mental and emotional. What proportion I do not know, but it seems likely to be a significant proportion.
Review of the book by David Fideler, subtitled:
‘Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence’.
This is a story that cannot be told too often – our story from the beginnings to now, in the tradition of such a magnificent telling as Richard Tarnas’s The Passion of the Western Mind first published in 1991.
David Fideler’s great breadth of knowledge and understanding is on show in this tour de force, as he traces human development and our relationship with the natural world over millennia.Read More »