Erich Fromm and the Discontents of Materialism

In his book To Have or to Be, Erich Fromm analyzes the profound sense of dissatisfaction that is present in the materialistic societies of the West. He conceptionalizes the problem as two opposite ways of life: one that is centered around having vs. one that is centered around being. Fromm begins his book with an analysis of the ideologicalContinue reading “Erich Fromm and the Discontents of Materialism”

Erich Fromm on Group Narcissism

In his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Erich Fromm discusses group narcissism as one of the most important causes for aggression. Ordinary narcissism is, according to Fromm, the attempt to feel safe by convincing oneself of one’s intrinsic superiority, as opposed to trying to overcome existential anxieties through work and connection to others, which would beContinue reading “Erich Fromm on Group Narcissism”

Plato’s allegory of the cave

In his work Republic, Plato presents the allegory of the cave, which is one of the best-known philosophical allegories. Plato describes the process of gaining insight and the problems that come with it. Plato describes the unenlightened man as shackled to a wall, deep inside a dark cave. His head is fixed in a certain position, such thatContinue reading “Plato’s allegory of the cave”

Erich Fromm and the Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

In his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Erich Fromm provides an analysis of human aggression. He discusses the differences between aggression in animals and in humans, and discusses how the specifically human forms of cruelty are connected to existential needs. Fromm delineates three important existential needs: the need to be one with the world andContinue reading “Erich Fromm and the Anatomy of Human Destructiveness”

David Foster Wallace on Learning How To Think

In the commencement speech This is Water, David Foster Wallace speaks about the goal of education. He reminds the audience that this goal should be developing the ability to think, rather than accumulating factual knowledge. The ability to think, according to Wallace, is the awareness that allows you to consciously decide what you think about and howContinue reading “David Foster Wallace on Learning How To Think”

Opinions

In Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta, the Buddha teaches the meaninglessness of holding on to opinions. This is the key part of the story: I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After anContinue reading “Opinions”

On Narcissism

Donald Trump has sparked interest in the phenomenon of narcissism. The characteristics of narcissism are: grandiosity sense of entitlement lack of integrity lack of empathy manipulation (lying, blackmail, gaslighting) superficial charm impoverished internal world, emptiness Narcissists suffer from an inability to regulate their self-esteem, which leaves them caught between grandiosity and feelings of shameful inadequacy,Continue reading “On Narcissism”

Morgan Scott Peck and the Path of Spiritual Growth

Morgan Scott Peck’s book “The Road Less Traveled” is a popular self-help book. The book is Peck’s attempt to condense the main insights he gained from his work as a psychiatrist into written form. What makes it compelling is that he conveys psychological insight in a language that is accessible to readers who are notContinue reading “Morgan Scott Peck and the Path of Spiritual Growth”