Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Upcoming SlideShare
What to Upload to SlideShare
What to Upload to SlideShare
Loading in …3
×
1 of 22

Identity according to fromm

1

Share

Download to read offline

Erich Fromm

Related Books

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

Identity according to fromm

  1. 1. IDENTITY
  2. 2. • Identity is the awareness of oneself as a separate entity. • It is the feeling of “I-am-I” which “makes decisions, is aware of himself and of his neighbor as different persons, he must be able to sense himself as the subject of his actions.” • Fromm says “the infant, still feeling one with the mother, cannot yet say “I”, nor has he any need for it. Only after he has conceived of the outer world as as separate and different from himself does he come to the awareness of himself as a distinct being, and one of the last words he learns to use is ‘I’, in reference to himself.” (See The Sane Society, 1955)
  3. 3. • The sense of identity is the feeling of unity in oneself with nature and surrounding environment. (See Rainer Funk, Courage to be Human, (New York: Continuum, 1982) • Although this experience of identity is normally tied with a group, class, or clan, it becomes more strongly realized when the individual experiences himself as a productive activity. Or in the Mahler’s words, identity is the self-constancy of the individual. (See Margaret Mahler, Fred Pine, and Anni Bergman, The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant: Symbiosis and Individuation (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1975) • Noonan then explains, it is becoming a self-determining subject, which is the active force in the order of things. (See Jeff Noonan, Critical Humanism and the Politics of Difference, (London: McGill-Queen’s University Press 2003)
  4. 4. • The experience therefore of the “I” as an active force in society allows the individual to acquire the capacity towards self-consciousness i.e. I can determine my action through my conscious activity as an individual. (See Robert Dunn, Identity Crisis: Social Critique of Post Modernity, 1998) • identity means the wish that life’s decisions depend on the self and not on outside forces. It is the aspiration to become the instrument of one’s will and not of other men’s acts of the will. ( See Peter Zima, Subjectivity and Identity: Between Modernity and Post Modernity 2015)
  5. 5. • “Nobody will ever be able to define me, and only I, myself, can assume responsibility for my identity and handle it—this is precisely where the essence of my personal autonomy, freedom, vulnerability, and even curse, if you will, lies.” (See Leonidas Donskis, Troubled Identity in the Modern World, 2009) • Personhood is an ontological category. Person refers to who you are, the nature of your being. And your being as a person can never be completely known, defined, or exhausted by any concepts. You are unfinalizable (Bakhtin 1984). The final word can never be spoken about you….a person, you simultaneously constitute yourself, and you are constituted by relationality. I am not only in this relationship with you, but I am for our relationship and from it (See Jon Frederickson, “The Problem of Relationality” in Jon Mills (Ed), Relational and Intersubjective Perspectives in Psychoanalysis: A Critique 2005)
  6. 6. • Fromm asks “How do I know that I am I?” • This is the question which was raised, in a philosophical form, by Descartes. He answered the quest for identity by saying, "I doubt—hence I think, I think—hence I am." This answer put all the emphasis on the experience of "I" as the subject of any thinking activity, and failed to see that the "I" is experienced also in the process of feeling and creative action. (The Sane Society, 1955)
  7. 7. • Taylor reiterated this when he says, • Being true to myself means being true to my own originality, and that is something only I can articulate and discover. In articulating it, I am also defining myself. I am realizing a potentiality that is properly my own. (See Stephen A. Mitchell, Influence and Autonomy in Psychoanalysis 2013) • Burston argues, • Realizing that I have but one life to live, that no one experiences or acts in the world in precisely the same way I do, and that no one else is responsible for the choices I make imparts a much greater sense of urgency, clarity and resolve to the lives of people who are simply ‘muddling through’, or wallowing in fear, indecision and self-pity. (Daniel Burston, “Psychotherapy and Postmodernism: Agency, Authenticity, and Alienation in Contemporary Therapeutic Discourse”, in Psychotherapy and Politics International, 2006).
  8. 8. • in the maturation of identity, when seen from the outside, refers to some physical features, particular system of relations and certain behavioral patterns. However, when seen from the inside, identity is the natural experience of the self, i.e. my own understanding of my own position within a social network as a unique individual. • This understanding of one’s position along the social sphere is the re-acclamation of my own narrative in the course of history. It is my exclusive rights as a storyteller, a symbolic transmission belt that bridges my past and future by transmitting tradition. Identity is therefore a passport to a self-legitimizing narrative of my community, group, or nation.
  9. 9. • The final word can never be spoken about you….a person, you simultaneously constitute yourself, and you are constituted by relationality. I am not only in this relationship with you, but I am for our relationship and from it (See Jon Frederickson,2005) • Identity with a group or community is the individual’s foundation. It is his basis for legitimacy claims, moral claims and political claims. In spite of the insecurities and anxieties in a highly competitive world, identity relation allows the individual to legitimate his own self. ( See Robert Dunn, 1998)
  10. 10. • although modernity painted in us the formation of a sense of identity, only a minority achieve this kind of experience. • Majority of us, says Fromm, were swayed into submission and dependence. The search of a true identity was directed into status identification where conformity becomes the name of the game. • Our sense of “I” is fostered when we engrossed ourselves with the experience of conformity. Conformity here means that the sense of identity is transformed into a group or community where its image is inflated as something superior from the rest, and this is agreed upon by the members with considerable rational judgment. (See Erich Fromm, The Heart of Man, (New York: Harper and Row, 1964) • However, Fromm maintains, “In as much that the individual still experience his “I” within the group, that he is not different from the others, and still recognized as a ‘regular fellow’, the individual still acknowledge the immanence of the “I”. (The Sane Society, 1955)
  11. 11. • It then contributes in some ways to that ontological security in so far that it sustains trust in the continuity of the past, present, and future and connects such trust into routinized social practices. See Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity, 1990) • Thus, identity becomes the emotional and cognitive representation of an individual of his own community which now allows him to consciously estimate his group from other groups. (See Cf. Tatiana Panfilova, “Identity as a Problem of Today” in Fromm Forum , 2010)
  12. 12. • In ever-widening circles of social life the child is identified with society, because local society is a sample of the self's personal world as well as being a sample of truly external phenomena. In this way a true independence develops, with the child able to live a personal existence that is satisfactory, while involved in society's affairs. • See D.W. Winnicott, The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment: Studies in Emotional Development,(London: Karnac Books, 1997) (Italics mine)
  13. 13. • Bauman argues, the apparatuses of techno-industrial machinery travels even faster than the most advanced means of transportation made available to us. This means that the boundaries between the “inside” and “outside” the community could no longer be drawn, let alone sustained. (See Bauman, Community, 2001) • The rapid expansion of mass media, the urbanization of the countryside, and the standardization of life through mass consumption leads to the fluidity of the self which now exhibits social continuity through normative patterning while simultaneously existing in a state of flux through social adaptation. (See Dunn)
  14. 14. • Unconscious ways of incorporating into the culture industry • First, the individual is turned into a consumer, and increasingly a consumer of signs and images. While social identities persist (for example, employee, parent, student), these identities are now subsumed by the role of consumption, which increasingly shapes and conditions the individual’s social orientations and relationships. • Second, the sources of identity formation change as tangible, role- based relationships are subordinated to the disembodied visual images of mass culture.
  15. 15. • Third, identity formation is exteriorized in the sense that its locus shifts from the inner self to the outer world of objects and images comprising commodified culture. Identity formation in postmodernity (as in premodernity) thus deeply roots itself in culture but in the form of the commodity rather than the group. • Fourth, and as a consequence, the self loses its sense of autonomy from the outside world. Assaulted by market-based systems of signification, identity now becomes chronically unstable, inconsistent, and incoherent. …Images, fashions, and lifestyles manufactured by the media industries become sources of self-image and vehicles by which the self perceives others. (See Dunn)
  16. 16. • This changes our identity as a person - Capitalist reorganization, the concentration of corporate mass media, a new globalization of capital and communications and information technologies, and the emergence of new kinds of politics and social movements underlie the demarcation and formation of a new and multilayered cultural terrain….this is the postmodernization process…(See Dunn ) • postmodernity project an image of a fluid self characterized by fragmentation, discontinuity, and a dissolution of boundaries between inner and outer worlds. (Ibid) • to consume is one form of having, and perhaps the most important one for today's affluent industrial societies. Consuming has ambiguous qualities: It relieves anxiety, because what one has cannot be taken away; but it also requires one to consume ever more, because previous consumption soon loses its satisfactory character. Modern consumers may identify themselves by the formula: I am = what I have and what I consume. ( Fromm, To Have or To Be, 1997)
  17. 17. • Life’s pulsations, tremors, and unpredictable movements which make it alive and meaningful are now transformed into storehouse of facts, events, and possessions. (See Biancoli, 2006) • With ever fast changing structures of automodernity, we lost that pristine community, that social place where we could assert our own identity. We have become “other-directed” rather than “inner directed”. (See John P. Hewitt, Dilemmas of the American Self, 1989) • It creates tremendous insecurity and helplessness which push the individual to substitute his sense of identity and replace it with a pseudo-self, i.e. the sum total of expectations others have about the individual. (See Erich Fromm, “Individual and Social Origin of Neurosis”, 1944)
  18. 18. • Fromm believes in the “center-to-center” relationship between two individuals. • “if men differed in their basic psychic and mental structure, how could we speak of humanity in more than a physiological and anatomical sense? How could we understand the art of entirely different cultures, their myths, their drama, their sculpture, were it not a fact that we all share the same human nature?” (Fromm, Beyond the Chain of Illusion, 1962) • Reason requires relatedness and a sense of self. Since the individual is the bearer of active powers, the same must expended in a form of communal sharing in order to experience human solidarity with others. (The Sane Society)
  19. 19. • “Rather, the basic or primary human reality is you and me in relation. Both individuality and relationality are essential dimensions of personhood……….Relationality "means a particular existential state of being (a mode of existence) in which being both is itself and at the same time cannot be spoken of in itself, but only as it 'relates to" (Frederickson, 2005)
  20. 20. • Just as the physiological need, hunger, causes death if not satisfied, so intellectually and spiritually healthy human life is possible only where the specifically human need for relatedness is responded to. Without this response, man becomes psychotic..” (Cf. Funk) • Fromm asserts “With his power of reason he can penetrate the surface of phenomena and understand their essence. With his power of love he can break through the wall which separates one person from another. With his power of imagination he can visualize things not yet existing; he can plan and thus begin to create.” (See Man for Himself, 1947)
  21. 21. • Fromm declares that such activity must come from within man and must generate a rebirth which is always bringing forth something productive i.e. flows and flows in itself and beyond itself. See Erich Fromm, To Have or To Be ((London: Continuum, 1997) • In To Have or To Be, Fromm says “But when we start out with the reality of human beings existing, loving, hating, suffering, then there is no being that is not at the same time becoming and changing. Living structures can be only if they become; they can exist only if they change. Change and growth are inherent qualities of the life process.” ( To Have or To Be, 1997)
  22. 22. • Fromm continues, “…if man loses his natural roots, where is he and who is he? He would stand alone, without a home; without roots; he could not bear the isolation and helplessness of this position. He would become insane. He can dispense with the natural roots only insofar as he finds new human roots and only after he has found them can he feel at home again in this world. Is it surprising, then, to find a deep craving in man not to sever the natural ties, to fight against being torn away from nature, from mother, blood and soil?” (The Sane Society, 1955)

×