Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) was born in Frankfurt, Germany on March 23, 1900. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 1922. Fromm’s loosely constructed theory of personality emphasized social influences and trends.   

 Fromm maintained that people are lonely, and seeking social contact. Basically a social animal, the greater independence one achieves, the greater loneliness is experienced. To counteract loneliness, people use myths, religions, and totalitarianism to bind themselves to each other. For Fromm, there are only two solutions to the problem: join with others in a spirit of love, or conform to society.

Fromm proposed five basic needs: relatedness (creating relationships), transcendence, rootedness (putting down roots), identity (uniqueness), and orientation (a consistent frame of reference).

According to Fromm, personality is composed of temperment (inherited. unchangeable characteristics) and character (which is learned). Individual character is developed within one’s environment and social character is a result of reaction to society.

For more on Anna Freud, check out this video on the NeoFreudians.


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