escape or embrace

I’ve been thinking more about that article I linked to last night, the concepts of “positive liberty” and so forth. Wikipedia — sometimes useful — pointed out that Erich Fromm wrote on the subject well before Isaiah Berlin did.

Based on some quick summaries I think I like Fromm. A political psychologist, a Jew who left Germany as the Nazis came to power, he theorized about why people support authoritarian rule (extremely relevant then and now!), argued that true freedom is defiance of social expectations, was firmly against warmongering and nuclear proliferation, and supported humanistic democratic socialism. One of the reviews I’ve read describes Fromm as the antithesis of Ayn Rand. Sounds good to me!

So I’m definitely going to read some of his work, and I might have a theme for the next album.

I feel like what Fromm was getting at is what got watered down to a vague “be yourself,” meaninglessly repeated by children’s media while I was growing up. A much less strongly reinforced message than all of the entertainment, advertising, news, peers, authority figures, family etc. driving home the lesson that you better not be yourself. And that’s a shame.

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