KZ: In his book “Man for Himself” Erich Fromm speaks of “orientation of character”. He differentiates his theory of character from that of Freud by focusing on two ways an individual relates to the world. Freud analyzed character in terms of libido organization, whereas Fromm says that in the process of living, we relate to the world by: 1) acquiring and assimilating things—”Assimilation”, and 2) reacting to people—”Socialization”. Fromm asserted that these two ways of relating to the world were not instinctive, but an individual’s response to the peculiar circumstances of his or her life; he also believed that people are never exclusively one type of orientation. These two ways of relating to life’s circumstances lead to basic character-orientations. Fromm lists four types of nonproductive character orientation, which he called receptive, exploitative, hoarding, and marketing, and one positive character orientation, which he called productive. Receptive and exploitative orientations are basically how an individual may relate to other people and are socialization attributes of character. A hoarding orientation is an acquiring and assimilating materials/valuables character trait. The marketing orientation arises in response to the human situation in the modern era. The current needs of the market determine value. It is a relativistic ethic. In contrast, the productive orientation is an objective ethic. Despite the existential struggles of humanity, each human has the potential for love, reason and productive work in life. Fromm writes, “It is the paradox of human existence that man must simultaneously seek for closeness and for independence; for oneness with others and at the same time for the preservation of his uniqueness and particularity. …the answer to this paradox – and to the moral problems of man – is productiveness.” Love, reason, and productive work are what Fromm asks of humans in the 21st century. I’m not certain we’re up to it.
Me: Fromm is one of my favorite authors and references. His thinking is as integrative and wise as any I’ve read. His books The Art of Loving and Escape From Freedom set the stage for the kind of personal mental integrative process we need to foster and acculturate in order to evolve.
FS: I don’t believe in unicorns.
Me: Frank, I don’t know if you were referencing me in your unicorn statement. If so, I would only ask: Do you believe in wisdom? And even if you don’t, don’t you think that it is preferable to a counsel of despair?
JV: You could have saved yourself the trouble of writing this sermon. I don’t think it’s going to convince anyone here. Perhaps you should look for a pulpit somewhere else? Over and out.
Me: John V: Your sermon reference is a false, scientistic conflating of religion with what I’m actually saying. The wisdom/natural philosophy I’m advocating is a lot more in line with cutting edge science than the pre-quantum physics scientistic/quasi-religious orthodoxy you’re dramatizing. Also, am I supposed to say everything in some stoic and completely ineffective way? No, that’s only for the orthodox, SELF assured and static to intone.
And apparently you and your reality filters missed this:
The definition of the natural philosophical concept of grace is a dynamic, interactive, integrative and abundant free flowingness which also describes the cosmos and the temporal universe on the planet we live on.
KZ: The committee for my clinical degree (clinical psychology) was made up of an Adlerian, a Freudian, two students of Rogers, and a student of Fromm. They fought constantly. I learned a lot from the fights but took me an extra year to complete the degree because I had to satisfy each of them.
Me: Ha! Such is the educational hazards of higher education. Congratulations on that integrative effort. 🙂
RL: Ken, Through much of my life I suffered from recurring bouts of “heart hysteria,” fear of death through heart failure. My first bout happened when I was 18, in the Air Force, and I was treated in a San Francisco military hospital. I was sent to a psychologist where a very young and attractive assistant interviewed me with questions that I found quite surprising: she wanted to know about my sex life and my relations with my family of a possible intimate nature. I thought she was screwy. Then the psychologist had a few sessions with me during which he asked nothing, he simply sat in a chair, with a pencil and pad and said, “tell me what comes into your mind.” Since nothing much came into my mind not much happened in the sessions. He sent me to take physical therapy without ever giving me any explanations. Twenty years later, in a stressful time, I had another bout of heart hysteria. I visited a psychologists in the Veterans Hospital in Nebraska. He was a pill pusher mostly. I concluded that in the first case I had been treated by a Freudian and in the second by a behaviorists. Neither did much help. I just decided, when driving one day, to stop taking the Valium pills the behaviorist had prescribed, rolled down my car window and threw the prescription box out. So much for psychology.
Me: Robert, Yes, an excellent example of the stupidities of psychological scientism and the commonsensical quality of wisdom which cuts through all of any extraneous complexity by simply acting in present time……with finality. It’s a perfectly reflective demonstration of the resolving power of tying a digital monetary policy directly to the point of terminal ending, summing, expression and tipping point of retail sale.
When you integrate science and wisdom you can eliminate religiosity and recognize deeper insights, and when you fail to do so you’re leaving your mind open to the creeping, creaking orthodoxies that have plagued both science and religion since time immemorial.