Wednesday, October 26, 2016

To Have or To Be by Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm (1900-1980), a prolific twentieth century author with and immense collection of profound essays and books too long to list here...a pleasure to read and ponder. 

To Have or To Be by Erich Fromm
Book Review, Five Stars
A compendium of philosophical insights into what generates humankind's driving forces.
Filled with thought provoking comparisons from political, religious, and environmental powers, Fromm states his analyses that are eye opening and relevant. I loved the books presentation of original perceptions that will make you ponder his power of thinking. This is the kind of book that will leave a lasting memory. 

Excerpts:
Erich Fromm on faith.
Faith, in the having mode, gives certainty; it claims to pronounce ultimate, unshakable knowledge, which is believable because the power of those who promulgate and protect the faith seems unshakable. Indeed, who would not choose certainty, if all it requires is to surrender one’s independence?

Erich Fromm on owning material things:
The greatest enjoyment is perhaps not so much in owning material things but in owning living beings. In a patriarchal society even the most miserable of men in the poorest of classes can be an owner of property—in his relationship to his wife, his children, his animals, over whom he can feel he is absolute master. At least for the man in a patriarchal society, having many children is the only way to own persons without needing to work to attain ownership, and with little capital investment. Considering that the whole burden of childbearing is the woman’s, it can hardly be denied that the production of children in a patriarchal society is a matter of crude exploitation of women.

Blazing Bicycle Saddles

Blazing Bicycle Saddles by James Clarke
Five Stars
This book is a collection of humorous cross-country bicycle trips by a group of South Africans.
In actuality this is about pub-crawling at a pleasurable and enjoyable pace. When their outlandish antics became humiliating they always claimed they were from Australia. Being a life-long bicycling person who loved to go through life having as good a time as possible without suffering to impress I loved the book.
It was a pleasure to read James Clarke’s lighthearted narratives. This is a fun book to read even if you are not an avid bicycler.
Excerpts from Blazing Bicycle Saddles
Pray for forgiveness
A bicycle is probably the first serious material thing a child earnestly pleads for in its prayers. Canadian comedian, Emo Phillips, said he used to pray every night for a bike until he realized that the Lord doesn’t always work that way, so he stole one and then prayed for forgiveness.
First class
Here they place bright red PRIORITY labels on my bags and with deep respect direct me to the business lounge. There are armchairs in the business lounge and one gets free snacks and drinks, and I sometimes have to be restrained. This agreeable feeling wells up again when I am ushered into the front section of the aircraft where they have reclining seats and offer French champagne and a hot towel before take-off. Sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever be able to descend again to the level of my family and friends. One shouldn’t feel guilty of course. After all, it’s not just me who is getting a free ride. Nobody in business class or first class is paying. Businessmen charge the fare to the company and politicians and officials have their fares paid by the taxpayers sitting at the back. But sometimes, when in business class, I am overcome with compassion and a strong desire to scatter my superior business class cashew nuts among the peanut-eaters in economy class, but I suppose this would simply cause an unseemly scramble – possibly even a midair riot.