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Erich Fromm's Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem

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Erich Fromm's Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem

In "Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem," Erich Fromm (1963) argues that society will self-destruct without achieving freedom through disobedience. Fromm begins with analogies of Hebrew and Greek mythology showing how disobedience to a god freed humans. Using this correlation, Fromm shows freedom as a condition for disobedience, and vice- versa. Therefore, Fromm proclaims that without disobedience the human race could destroy itself within a generation.

Fromm’s article, first published in 1963, stems from fear of a third world war. Despite the “outdated” comment by Behrens and Rosen in the introduction, the article still applies to suggestion human nature during the War on Terrorism. Fromm (1963) Fromm predominately uses logos, with underlying pathos (appeals to emotions) when discussing religion. Fromm adds a section near the end about Hitler’s right hand man, Adolf Eichmann, which seems out of place. However, in 1963 the reference to individual players of the Holocaust such as Eichmann probably equates to the 21st century usage of Cindy Sheehan. The flow of Fromm’s article lacks logical arguments while ignoring religious values of his biblical examples, especially Adam and Even.

Believers of both Judaism and Christianity believe God created everything including man and woman. First, God created man (Adam) to live in the Garden of Eden, and then woman (Eve) from Adam's rib for companionship. God gave all of his glorious creations to them provided fruit from The Tree of Knowledge stayed uneaten. As the myth goes, Eve ate the fruit from the tree resulting in banishment for both. Fromm (1963) claims this act resulted in Adam and Eve’s freedom...

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...l itself off until the majority becomes authority. Fromm (1963) believes the need for disobedience grows as this authority increases. However, he neglects to suggest when disobedience should stop. When the majority continually stops any outbreak of disobedience, I believe over time we will accept the initial concept they wanted to fight. When we win the War on Terrorism, the people of Iraq will be free with their own constitution and government. At that time, any attempt to disobey the government might shake their foundation, but it will not “free” the insurgency as Fromm suggests.

Sources Cited (2001). Pregnancy & Childbirth Information. Retried October 10, 2005, from

Fromm, E. (1963). Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem (Ed.), Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum (pp. 357-361). New York: Pearson.

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