The productive orientation. There is a healthy personality as well, which Fromm occasionally refers to as the person without a mask. This is the person who, without disavowing his or her biological and social nature, nevertheless does not shirk away from freedom and responsibility. This person comes out of a family that loves without overwhelming the individual, that prefers reason to rules, and freedom to conformity.
The society that gives rise to the productive type (on more than a chance basis) doesn't exist yet, according to Fromm. He does, of course, have some ideas about what it will be like. He calls it humanistic communitarian socialism. That's quite a mouthful, and made up of words that aren't exactly popular in the USA, but let me explain: Humanistic means oriented towards human beings, and not towards some higher entity -- not the all-powerful State nor someone's conception of God. Communitarian means composed of small communities (Gemeinschaften, in German), as opposed to big government or corporations. Socialism means everyone is responsible for the welfare of everyone else. Thus understood, it's hard to argue with Fromm's idealism!
Fromm says that the first four orientations (which others might call neurotic) are living in the having mode. They focus on consuming, obtaining, possessing.... They are defined by what they have. Fromm says that "I have it" tends to become "it has me," and we become driven by our possessions!
The productive orientation , on the other hand, lives in the being mode. What you are is defined by your actions in this world. You live without a mask, experiencing life, relating to people, being yourself.
He says that most people, being so used to the having mode, use the word have to describe their problems: "Doctor, I have a problem: I have insomnia. Although I have a beautiful home, wonderful children, and a happy marriage, I have many worries." He is looking to the therapist to remove the bad things, and let him keep the good ones, a little like asking a surgeon to take out your gall bladder. What you should be saying is more like "I am troubled. I am happily married, yet I cannot sleep...." By saying you have a problem, you are avoiding facing the fact that you are the problem -- i.e. you avoid, once again, taking responsibility for your life.
The obvious objection that we have is that Fromm's vision would be too good to be true. Nevertheless, achieving resilient communities would involve social and psychological as well as technical and political issues. Studying Fromm would give us a start on this.
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