Excerpt from Art of Loving, Erich Fromm on Capitalism

“The human problem of modern capitalism can be formulated in this way:

Modern capitalism needs men who co-operate smoothly and in large numbers; who want to consumer more and more; and whose tastes are standardized and can be easily influenced and anticipated. It needs men who feel free and independent, not subject to any authority or principle or conscience – yet willing to be commanded, to do what is expected of them, to fit into the social machine without friction; who can be guided without force, led without leaders, prompted without aim – except the one to make good, to be on the move, to function, to go ahead.

What is the outcome? Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature. He has been transformed into a commodity, experiences his life forces as an investment which must bring him the maximum profit obtainable under existing market conditions. Human relations are essentially those of alienated automatons, each basing his security on staying close to the herd, and not being different in thought, feeling or action. While everybody tries to be as close as possible to the rest, everybody remains utterly alone, pervaded by the deep sense of insecurity, anxiety and guilt which always results when human separateness cannot be overcome.

Our civilization offers many palliatives which help people to be consciously unaware of this aloneness: first of all the strict routine of bureaucratized, mechanical work, which helps people remain unaware of their most fundamental human desires, of longing for transcendence and unity. Inasmuch as the routine alone does not succeed in this, man overcomes his unconscious despair by the routine of amusement, the passive consumption of sounds and sights offered by the amusement industry; furthermore by the satisfaction of buying ever new things, and soon exchanging them for others.”

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Question from The Art of Loving – Erich Fromm, 1955

How should a man caught in this net of routine not forget that he is a man, a unique individual, one who is given only this one chance of living, with hopes and disappointments, with sorrow and fear, with the longing for love and the dread of nothing and of separateness?

Too much Studying? – Real Genius

Louis CK: Everything is amazing yet no one is happy…

Interesting comedy commentary of our times. He discusses how we have everything yet no one is happy, everthing is taken for granted. Our dependence on technology has made us impatient and we forget how much we have evolved in the last generation…

clarifying prelude to the new self….

Happy April 15th! US TAX day…..

A great graphical explanation of where our money goes within the US government machine…
Click Image to zoom

us-taxes

Poster was created by Jess Bachman and can be purchased at:
http://wallstats.com/deathandtaxes/

The Trap: Part 1: What happened to our dream of Freedom?

In this episode, Curtis examines the rise of game theory during the Cold War and the way in which its mathematical models of human behaviour filtered into economic thought.
The programme traces the development of game theory with particular reference to the work of John Nash, who believed that all humans were inherently suspicious and selfish creatures that strategised constantly Curtis examines how game theory was used to create the USA’s nuclear strategy during the Cold War. Because no nuclear war occurred, it was believed that game theory had been correct in dictating the creation and maintenance of a massive American nuclear arsenal—because the USSR had not attacked America with its nuclear weapons, the supposed deterrent must have worked.

A separate strand in the documentary is the work of R.D. Laing, whose work in psychiatry led him to model familial interactions using game theory. His conclusion was that humans are inherently selfish, shrewd, and spontaneously generate strategems during everyday interactions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trap_%28television_documentary_series%29

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