Essay Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem by Erich Fromm

Essay Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem by Erich Fromm

Length: 839 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Necessary Rebellion

Erich Fromm is a psychoanalyst and sociologist who wrote many books and journals over the years. Fromm closely studied other psychologists such as Freud and Marx, and he published analytical works on both many other theories. In his essay, “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem,” Fromm explains that as humans we start out with disobedience, and make it into something horrible—something for which we must repent, feel sorry for, and act as if we won’t do it again (621).
Obedience is thought to be a high moral standard which we are to follow. On the other hand, disobedience is considered a moral flaw, wrongness, or something you just should not do. When your mother says that you can’t eat cookies for dinner, how likely are you to listen? This is an act of disobedience.
Let’s go back to biblical times for just a moment. Fromm explains that during the time Adam and Eve reside in the Garden of Eden, they live in innocence and harmony. This harmony is disrupted by the “Act of Disobedience,” which is labeled in biblical terms as the “original sin.” This act of disobedience describes the first moral flaw, and the consequential corruption of mankind. By disobeying God, Adam and Eve take the first steps towards independence and freedom. This helps them reach their spiritual and intellectual capacity. After Adam and Eve leave the Garden of Eden, they create a new harmony referred to as “the end of days” (622). To the prophets, man is right to disobey; this allows him to think for himself. In many ways, parents encourage kids to think for themselves. By simply picking out their clothes or packing their own lunch, children move away from following their parents, and towards the formation of their own identities...

... middle of paper ...

... mothers, the ability to pick out their own clothes is different from their mothers choosing what they will wear. What separates us from our parents and our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers—it’s rebellion. The differences between us define us and make us matter. And this begins in childhood. It begins with blue hair dye, blown curfews, and mouthing off. The self needs distance if it is to form.
Obedience and disobedience play a huge role in our lives as humans. We begin with disobedience. With that, though, we develop the ability to choose to obey or disobey. In doing this, we obey the highest calling that we must: human nature. No matter how we modernize as a society, the primal instincts and decisions that rise up in every human being are very much the same as they have always been. Yes, we live in the Stone Age—but what would a modern soul look like, anyway?

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Erich Fromm's Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem Essay examples

- 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....   [tags: Psychology Sociology]

Better Essays
1408 words (4 pages)

The Genocidal Killer in the Mirror” by Crispin Sartwell and Erich Fromm’s Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem

- In the pursuit of safety, acceptance, and the public good, many atrocities have been committed in places such as Abu Ghraib and My Lai, where simple, generally harmless people became the wiling torturers and murderers of innocent people. Many claim to have just been following orders, which illustrates a disturbing trend in both the modern military and modern societies as a whole; when forced into an obedient mindset, many normal and everyday people can become tools of destruction and sorrow, uncaringly inflicting pain and death upon the innocent....   [tags: compare, comparison]

Better Essays
1278 words (3.7 pages)

The Influences of Social Force on Ethical Standards in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

- The Influences of Social Force on Ethical Standards William Shakespeare, a British poet and playwright, describes in his play Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” The author thought that there is no such a thing like an absolute ethical standard, and the ethical standards are set by human beings. Then, how do people judge whether a person is ethically right or wrong. People measure the person’s behavior, based on social norms and legal obligations that the society holds....   [tags: history, dominant power, disobedience]

Better Essays
1271 words (3.6 pages)

Erich Fromm 's Escape From Freedom Essay

- When analyzing the first half of the book “Escape from Freedom” written by Erich Fromm, I gained quite a diverse perspective towards how individuals have become constructed throughout history. Fromm had summarized, humans cannot live in freedom without consequence. Furthering this, I was able to connect similarities between Fromm’s thesis and how a man such as Adolf Hitler, came into power. With such bold statements regarding the psychology of human nature, I have both positive thoughts as well as, some opposing thoughts towards his main idea....   [tags: Sociology, Individualism, Individual, Erich Fromm]

Better Essays
1135 words (3.2 pages)

Zimbardo's Psychological Experiment and Fromm's Correlation Essay

- Zimbardo’s Psychological Experiment and Fromm’s Correlation Over 4 decades ago, a Stanford psychology professor named Phillip G. Zimbardo administered an experiment that re-created a prison environment. The goal of the experiment was to simply study the process by which prisoners and guards “learn” to become compliant and authoritarian, respectively (Zimbardo 732). What would emerge from the “Stanford Prison Experiment” article were more than just compliance and authority. The experiment gave rise to the nature of evil and obedience in human beings....   [tags: prison environment recreation, unethical research]

Better Essays
958 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving

- Erich Fromm’s "The Art of Loving" Upon reading Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving, I gained a better understanding of what love really is. Fromm’s book puts love into perspective. He begins with several facts with regards to the attitude in which people treat love. They are the problems of how to be loved, the object to love as well as the confusion between the initial experience of falling in love and the permanent state of being in love, which had a great impact on me, as far as thinking about what love is....   [tags: Erich Fromm Art Loving Romantic Love Essays]

Better Essays
1171 words (3.3 pages)

The Philosophy of Erich Fromm Essay

- Philosopher Erich Fromm was born in the early 20th century and could witness all of its major developments (Cherry). Not only did it bring technological progress and new ideologies, but also bitter fruits of war unseen by mankind before. He contemplated the motives behind aggression and violence which led him to the study of psychology and sociology (Cherry). Fromm’s last work, “To Have or to Be” (1976), is the culmination of his strive to find and explain the purpose of human life. He perceived our existence as being driven by either the having or the being mode and explained this idea by using psychological finds merged with sociological evidence....   [tags: human, study, existence, desire]

Better Essays
1138 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Civil Disobedience Is A Constitutional Right

- “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law” (King, Martin L., Jr.). When the African Americans were protesting oppression it was an act of civil disobedience. When the women’s suffrage movement happened thousands of women marched in the streets, they endured hunger strikes, and submitted to arrest to gain the right to vote (Starr).In other words, America has a long history of civil disobedience....   [tags: Protest, Civil disobedience, Law]

Better Essays
1174 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Civil Disobedience

- Civil disobedience has been around for a long time. In Bible times Christians would disobey laws that would go against their beliefs, such as the law that they couldn’t preach. (Acts 4) Christians still disobey laws in many countries that do not let them practice their faith, some end up in jail or killed. In the past in this country, Thoreau wrote an essay on Civil disobedience saying that people make the law and have a right to disobey unjust laws, to try and get those laws changed. Under British rule in India, the British were harshly oppressive and only interested in exploiting products from India for their own use, causing many Indians to become extremely poor....   [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]

Free Essays
577 words (1.6 pages)

Erich Fromm Essay

- FROMM'S ORIENTATIONS TEST How well does each word apply to you. 5 (very well), 4, 3, 2, 1 (not at all). You will need to sum down for the first four orientations and sum across some of the rows, then sum down and divide by two for the last orientation. The chart should make it clear. Tender____Captivating_____ Orderly_____Witty_____Sum_____Gullible_____Arrogant_____Stubborn_____Indifferent_____ Sum_____Optimistic_____Gracious_____Reserved_____Curious_____ Sum_____Cowardly_____ Conceited_____ Suspicious_____ Unprincipled_____ Sum_____Idea...   [tags: Erich Fromm Essays]

Free Essays
3419 words (9.8 pages)