エーリッヒ・フロム（ Erich Fromm ）は、人間は基本的に下記2つの矛盾した傾向を自己の内部に持つ存在であると説明。
Personality Theories: Erich Fromm
A helpful page from C. George Boeree’s site on
A helpful page from C. George Boeree’s site on
Fromm was always interested in trying to understand the really evil people of this world -- not just one's who were confused or mislead or stupid or sick, but the one's who, with full consciousness of the evil of their acts, performed them anyway: Hitler, Stalin, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and so on, large and small.
All the orientations we've talked about, productive and non-productive, in the having mode or the being mode, have one thing in common: They are all efforts at life. Like Horney, Fromm believed that even the most miserable neurotic is at the least trying to cope with life. They are, to use his word, biophilous, life-loving.
But there is another type of person he calls necrophilous -- the lovers of death. They have the passionate attraction to all that is dead, decayed, putrid, sickly; it is the passion to transform that which is alive into something unalive; to destroy for the sake of destruction; the exclusive interest in all that is purely mechanical. It is the passion "to tear apart living structures."
If you think back to high school, you may remember a few misfits: They were real horror movie aficionados. They may have made models of torture devices and guillotines. They loved to play war games. They liked to blow things up with their chemistry sets. They got a kick out of torturing small animals. They treasured their guns. They were really into mechanical devices. The more sophisticated the technology, the happier they were. Beavis and Butthead are modeled after these kids.
I remember watching an interview on TV once, back during the little war in Nicaragua. There were plenty of American mercenaries among the Contras, and one in particular had caught the reporters eye. He was a munitions expert -- someone who blew up bridges, buildings, and, of course, the occasional enemy soldier. When asked how he got into this line of work, he smiled and told the reporter that he might not like the story. You see, when he was a kid, he liked to put firecrackers up the backside of little birds he had caught, light the fuses, let them go, and watch them blow up. This man was a necrophiliac.
Fromm makes a few guesses as to how such a person happens. He suggested that there may be some genetic flaw that prevents them from feeling or responding to affection. It may also be a matter of a life so full of frustration that the person spends the rest of their life in a rage. And finally, he suggests that it may be a matter of growing up with a necrophilous mother, so that the child has no one to learn love from. It is very possible that some combination of these factors is at work. And yet there is still the idea that these people know what they are doing, are conscious of their evil, and choose it. It is a subject that would bear more study!
Fear of life = love of death, March 9, 2009
This review is from: The Heart of Man (Paperback)
More than 40 years later, this short but insightful volume remains one of the best in-depth discussions of the human psyche at its darkest. Erich Fromm brings all his decades of knowledge & experience to this descent into the roots of what he aptly calls "necrophilia", a literal love of death born from an overwhelming fear of life.
What's especially fascinating is that as he analyzes the psychology of the necrophiliac, we can immediately recognize so many of the people who run & ruin our world today, from the most personal level to the global. We've all met them, and all too often suffered because of them. Their obsessive fear & compulsive need to control that fear invariably affects the rest of us, precisely because we refuse to meekly submit to their murderous control.
But what exactly does Fromm mean by "necrophiliac," anyway?
To condense his rich book into a few lines is an impossible task, but here's the gist of it: the necrophiliac personality fears life because of its messiness, its randomness, its uncontrollability. And so he (it's so often "he," by the way) does his best to control it through brute force, fear, torture, and ultimately death.
And how do we recognize these necrophiliacs?
No matter what their political, religious, or ideological affiliations, they share the same basic traits & worldview. They worship strength, toughness, a lack of tender emotions; they glorify the mechanical & do their best to become machines themselves: they loathe yet are fascinated by decay, disease, filth. Hence they often have rigid ideas about sexuality (one of the most uncontrollable aspects of living things), and espouse strict, letter-of-the-law moral codes concerning it ... although their private lives are frequently an immersion in what they publically denounce as disgusting.
A familiar picture begins to take shape: the stern, self-righteous, excessively judgmental, often uniformed strong man, one who prides himself on being able to make "the tough decisions," untroubled by reflection or regret. The uniform can be military, or a business suit, or a minister's collar, or any clothing that embodies status -- because it's status, rank, and power that matters most to them. And they have no problem killing others in the name of some greater good, if anything seeing it as an outward emblem of their unyielding virtue.
The poet Lew Welch wrote about this sort of mentality in "The Basic Con" - "Those who can't find anything to live for, / always invent something to die for. / Then they want the rest of us to / die for it too." Whether it's for their god, their politics, their bank accounts, or their own desperate need to believe in their own superiority, they project their inner loathing & emptiness onto the rest of us, making us scapegoats for their own inability to face the uncertainty & wonder of life. They must have answers for everything, and can't tolerate questions, or doubts, or ambiguity.
This is a book that, all too sadly, will never be outdated. Each new generation faces the same necrophiliac mindset, dressed up in the latest fashions of the day, as recent history has taught us. All the more reason to keep this book in print -- most urgently recommended! Comments (2)
Erich Fromm: Resolving Conflicts Without Warpt.1