Before I married my loving and creative late husband I said this to him, "What I love about you Bill is that you are a human being first and a Christian second". What I meant to convey to him was this. He didn't have of all the trappings based on the kind of dogma, referencing the idea of original sin, attached to organized religion that isn't biblical in it's origin, but he knew in the depth of his heart that we're are all created in the image of God, and this is the blessing, not the curse left over from Adam and Eve.
My late husband Bill was a creative free thinker, both wounded and wise and cared deeply about life, love, and his fellow human beings.
Eric Fromm I believe was wounded and wise as well, an atheist, a philosophical humanist, civil rights activist against nuclear weapons and was involved in the protection of the environment.
He once stated in an interview. "I didn't want to participate in any division of the human race, whether religious or political."
Fromm saw authoritarianism, including religious beliefs, as being a threat to human freedom.
Through his purpose in life, and his work as a psychoanalyst, meant that he was actively engaged with the preservation of the human spirit, regardless of his religious beliefs, and he was greatly influenced by a number of individuals, in particular Rabbi Salman Baruch Rabinkow, who was his most influential mentor introducing him to mystical Chabad.
My friend Rabbi Brian has a wonderful insightful website I subscribe to, Religion Outside The Box. Today he posted a great article written by his good friend Bill Johnson, about being ourselves, that I'm certain Eric Fromm would greatly appreciate and love.
Below are a few related quotes that give pause to meditate on, and I would compare them to being much like Sutras.
- “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” Hafiz
- “Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.” Søren Kierkegaard
- “God has entrusted me with myself.” Epictetus
- “You have been taught that there is something wrong with you and that you are imperfect, but there isn’t and you’re not.” Cheri Huber
- “Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.” C Assaad
- “Now all that is left is for you to become yourself.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- “O God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is.” Macrina Wiederkehr
I think Eric Fromm believed in the basic goodness of humanity, although he was greatly affected by man's inhumanity that he was witness to during war time. Also in his own family he'd grown up with a mother who suffered from depression and a very moody father.
He dedicated himself to creativeness, and to the preservation of the human spirit through love. I ask myself isn't this what all religions could do, and what all human beings could aspire to, if there was only to will to do so?
I don't believe an individual needs to profess themselves as Christian in order to be a person who intrinsically understands what it means to love. I think Eric Fromm was one such person.
"Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either."
- Eric Fromm
In The Art of Listening Eric Fromm provides a list of six points about listening which is the largest part of understanding communication, language and culture. I think listening is directly connected to learning 'the art of loving.'
" The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots."