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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  March 31, 2013 1:15am-2:15am EDT

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>> and now, transcend text about the life and work of erich fromm, author of "escape from freedom" another works. this is a little under an hour. [applause] >> there is one more chair here.
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it's really nice tonight, not only to have in terms of amnesty , but the head of the board from new york joining us. so amnesty is going to receive quite a bit of emphasis tonight. for 46 years, i've given a talk with questions along the way. i am not going to stop now. so anytime something can turn you, let's deal with it, okay? wow, how does one get into erich fromm? when i was 18 years old, i watched a program, i'm mike
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wallace interview of fromm. wallace introduced in is the most important psychoanalyst since storage, which may have been true. but in the course of the interview, it became clear this is only one of fromm/. he made it clear he was a political activist commended scholar, founder of amnesty, student of the holocaust, someone concerned with love and a just published the book the art of loving, which sold 33 million copies. so it became clear there were many lives, not one nice. so as an 18-year-old about to go to college, i asked my father, do we have any books on fromm?
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he points to the cabinet, we have all the books on fromm. where were you? so i took it set up to and looked at the diverse lines and i'd like to go through some of them with you. the psychoanalyst clinician was pretty clear. she called it not opposition to freud, that dancing with word. in this dance with freud, fromm has two basic kinds deaths. when he calls care or structure, something i'd been nice. she's some kind of energy with ms shaped by the external social milieu in different ways different conditions than people to give us our basic character.
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a good, bad, mixed character. so unlike freud, where the energizer central, first set to the external social structures are central. the other concept essential relatedness. and this is quite a greek from freud. perforate the mls was natural in the projected transferred his or her baggage onto the analyst. the analyst and how much of a present. that is not what it fromm central relatedness is. what he basically sees as the sole of the clinician and the
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soul of the client, the patient connecting, intersecting on a deep emotional basis. that is the clinician is active and shows himself or herself totally unlike authority and orthodox posture. this can lead to benefits obviously, but it can also lead to problems. when the clinician opens himself or herself totally to the patient, the clinician is giving away a lot, showing a lot, attaching to the patient in odd ways. in fromm's case, it led to a lot of what we call ethical
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breaches. key among other things -- jerry told me the story about how he went to visit fromm and he got up there and proceeded to tell him for three hours about his patient, elizabeth taylor. that's not kosher. my fear account is 19 at this point, all i. martha graham, on and on. but this is all the risk of central relatedness. you get charged up and lose fat to this site are supposed to take care of that client, that
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patient. so martha graham, i have a long list. if you want the details, i'll give you later. so this is from the ignition. they care or structure in the central relatedness. in both cases it's the social that is central and the interaction with the other that is central. okay, fromm's second wife is a common index scholar. the mother is deeply depressed. the father is manic as heck and they hate each other and here's fromm is caught in middle of that. so i can escape, he first five
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and angle and befriends him. and then you find some other scholars and rabbis and thinks that becoming a rabbi and looking a old testament is a way to stabilize yourself, hold on amidst the horror of that household. it's not sufficiently emphasized how central this quality was not only emotionally, but in his scholarship. his dissertation. he got a dissertation in the mid-1920s and sociology in the summer has said it's basically an honda has said it's lovejoy, were jovial, open up was what life should be about as his life
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was. if you want to get a favorite fromm it's not escape from freedom, art of loving. it is the shelby is god's. it's the most beautiful thing he's ever written on the old testament. he treats the words of the old testament like music and you listen to the old testament. just a remarkable book, read it. fish is this import talmudic scholar. by the mid-1920s he clearly has a pathetic disposition. universal ethics that should
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apply globally. so this is a second fromm, they'll talmudic scholar. the third is a political activist inherent amnesty comes into play. when we sell 33 million copies of the book, when you write at least 15 bucks, not one that sells less than a million copies, you are dealing with massive royalties. but he gives it all away. and what does he give it to? as josh mentioned he found sang with that, the main peace group in the 1950s and 60s.
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he found adlai stevenson 1956 run for the president be. a few friends william fulbright run for the senate. he found that is the real architect of gene mccarthy's 1968 piece, presidential peace against the war in vietnam. and i can go on and on. i never thought a political role would be this massive. but his favorite of all with amnesty international and it's his favorite because he gave millions of dollars to amnesty when he died. i was the principal beneficiary. amnesty was formed in the early
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60s. fromm was one of the founders. in fromm kept it afloat for the first 20 years refunding, a lot of fun name. amnesty was pretty shaky its first decade, would've folded probably without fromm's updates now what i am suggesting here is recall people like gates, going back to andrew carnegie, the big money people who deal with causes that are removed from us, but a major philanthropist for progressive political causes. i'd like to just mention a few
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of the causes he was involved in. two cases. one, probably the most important, most skillful case amnesty ever had, his cousin hide bron was an ostrich and tristan mason got out alive. the man was the editor of a libra newspaper in west berlin and the stasi kidnapped they made him go fishing with his hands in icy water and he was almost dead inside to realize they've got to get the guy out quick. so he mobilizes amnesty early
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on. all the others i really co-opt her to. so amnesty pleads for the worst of the stalinists to basically release him and of course he ignores him, so the situation is getting worse. so fromm knows that bertrand russell is close to khrushchev, so one day he shows up in wales with a ticket to go to moscow, explaining you go and get khrushchev to intervene. wow, russell goes. her chest communicates with over. oelrich says no.
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so then from communicates and says so what does he want to look good? khrushchev says he wants not to lose face. to lose face if you let them come back to west germany. from says that the. no problem. then of course the comeback to west berlin. the deal is pulled off. that's the kind of negotiator. i never knew this was possible. it's simply an oil of how this guy knew how to operate.
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one other operation that most of us didn't know initiative developed much more than the amnesty trout. amnesty in the first years is very concerned with europe and all over that area. so what sub to does is make contact with dissident intellectuals in poland, czechoslovakia, yugoslavia and so forth and they made them put the book out together on the program they come up with they called the third wave and that is they are not going to be part of the stalinist state yurok
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receipt. they're growing a third way and they call it democratic socialists. both with small letters have not caught on. dissident intellectuals picked that up and ran with it. [inaudible] >> on the child. >> thank you. so when i'm telling you this thing is they had idea of whatsoever, that this guy could be central to deal putting up
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and buying the third way. not this all-in-one a cover not to west capitalist way. and more flexible independent way. so one other item and i'll move for. you won't hurt as a guide named kennedy. kennedy read an article put out here in the article of 1960 was the case for unilateral disarmament. the u.s. takes a big step to get rid of nuclear weapons, propagandized a whole world to make soviet states that big
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step, but getting nuclear weapons out. a guy named jfk read the article anyone not to jerry holden who is here, young editor of the list at the time and said is this the same fromm favorite escape from freedom? in the campaign, fromm had advocated an agency powered with money. kennedy late fall says he is going to do that if elected and he does and that is the idea jfk picks up. at this point, kennedy instructs his national security advisor,
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george bundy that he wants them all foreign-policy issue range of opinions, not one opinion, not to come of a long continuum. so kennedy gets every single position on every issue that from create. then of course we know 50 years ago, october 1962, the cuban missile crisis in the world came very close to being blown out. after -- that 10 days after, kennedy called fromm. we of course don't have the content, though he said how do you avoid a mess like this
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again? in june of 63, kennedy gives his famous american university speech, his most important foreign-policy speech. and what does he say? essentially, i don't like the russians come you don't like the russians, but were going to get loan up if we don't deal with the russians seriously. we have to do it in a sequential way, pushing for a disarmament position, have them push, so forth. some of the words and sentence are in the american university speech. i could go on and on, but it's amazing how much political action you see.
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he's got other lives as an émigre from the holocaust, of course you expect him to focus on it and it led to the escape from freedom book and make 1041. but he comes that has during experience fairly typical, having the struggle to barely get his mother out and others in the family. she came across if there's one single great documents in the study that the family newsletter put out from berlin. she would move. it was her city, not have letters. she got a newsletter out that
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somehow caught through censorship and it's a magnificent document. every member of the family scattered all over the world right littleness hearing there about how their lives are going. a new child is born. uncle so-and-so is ill or whatever. that newsletter holds the family together in fromm is part of that family and he gets in and contributes. that is important to the victims of the holocaust. end of 41 and freedom, which we still look at this classic on the general problem of dictatorships. what's going on? sadomasochism and the person
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below, jewish or told. people are real people. there obstructions. you get that all in "escape from freedom" and you develop necrophilia and by ophelia. necrophilia is a hitler who hates life. by ophelia is someone like gandhi who celebrates life. the problem is to somehow throughout necrophilia and this moves us into his fifth wife i called the prophet of love. the prophet of bayou celia.
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we have to explain why the art of love and 56 sold 33 million copies and still is selling and i bet you could find several in this bookstore. the theme of the book doesn't alone explain it. self-love leads to the love of the humanity. that's the broad and. but there's other things that matter that are important. love letters. that's the backs think this whole project. love letters between the third of my sway in him.
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his second wife committed suicide. his third wife worked in you think, here is the chairman jewish intellectual. she's not jewish. she is an astrologer, lakes tai chi, blake scored métis and has probably never been in a book her life and yet that clicks. d. like love letters? okay. he raced three or four a day. even when he's living with her he drops off love letters. it is 10:00 a.m. now. i go to the office.
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maybe you call me after first cup of tea. i am yours, totally yours, totally erich. another love letter. i love you so that occurs, but the hurt is sweet and wonderful. the best of them is a letter when she saw fit new york and he knows she's on the cheap side and say stop it. go spending, go to the museum. to the good stuff. and then he ends the love letter, life is extravagance. life is to be lived. life is not to follow the next time. what are the about?
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got to remember the sociologists say the mundane experiences are the most import of all. he's right. art of loving is authentic but these love letters of a man in love became central to it in the expressions here are more important. for some reason i tried my students to get them to read escape from freedom. no, it's art of loving. sue is a profit of love. now just let me finish up with some conclusions, perhaps around for discussion.
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today erich fromm would be called a manic depressive. he picks up in the household semantic father, depressed mother. my own view is that is nonsense. he develops whatever he has, what do you call him mini depressive or anything, he picks up a number of coping devices that make it more at is that anyone in this whole room. he picks up the writing. every day you do zen meditation. always you of a small friendship circle, including a guy i used to teach across the street. always you do politics of various sorts and always the most important you find love in your life.
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and when you put these together, you have someone who functions very well. does it matter what we label him? maybe we should label the shrinks who labeled me. so there is a serious statement on the whole business of serious mental illness that i think there is a developing literature. if you cope into nice and don't hurt others are active and happy of my coming immediately and james criteria for happiness. the second is clear that he's a global educator. all his books all over the world. and what he does is he takes
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concepts, it feels like schaller, freud, marx and makes them clear, not simplified the clear so people all over the world can understand them. and for that role, pope john xxiii said you are a global teacher. he was right. had one good pope. now in addition to being a global communicator, here's something i want to bring amnesty right into. everywhere since 1956, the hungarian revolt under attack and dictatorship, said to his
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red. every single time, especially "escape from freedom." prop 67, poland early 80s, soviet collapse the 89, 91. and thanks to josh erik sprague, what we're able to do here through representatives in the field of amnesty and transnational biscuit reports. a real single thing i asked. go into a bookstore and see if they are reading him now. tunisia, to nice. a crest and the national police force. after the revolt was filled with
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books. and this goes on and so forth. they are certainly not in syria now. but even arab spring are still getting that cycle. finally in the last point in terms of legacy, said she was part of the generation of the mid-20th century that is, cries massive casualties of world war ii. in his story that yellow, richard snyder estimates
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80 million. wow, this generation said enough. countries are problems. countries kill. we've got to get beyond nationstates and create what einstein called world government. oneworld. this is a movement that einstein, roosevelt, henry wallace are involved in in fromm is, too. although fromm can shovel lines of dollars to support the movement. so these are a think his major contribution. and maybe you have 10 or 12 questions. [applause]
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>> were looking back to it today of what i think when the einstein manifesto. reach this state. do we have, and if we don't have such intellectuals now, but i'm not sure come that maybe we do. do we have that respect for the intellectual now? we could send somebody to reran and talk to them and overcome these obstacles, or do we not have people like that anymore? >> that's supposed to be an easy question?
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[laughter] we run across the street in annual conference to figure out what it is. you can obviously in this time, chomsky is obvious, robert but it is obvious, but dionne that it's hard. there is an historian, russell jacoby wrote a book a few decades ago called the last intellectual and the themis academe was cut in and out, preventing it. but academe is not a place for public intellectuals, rather a research tenure process makes that impossible. and no, erik erikson came out to teach without any decrees that all in 1960 and the faculty was overwhelmingly opposed. no publications, no degrees.
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so luckily, recent told by me he's going to be the best teacher in the history of harvard, which he was. so my furies note. also on the world probably better, but not great. that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. that okay? >> absolutely. >> i love how you talked about all the separate lives over time and they were very discreet as some of them overlapped. have you had any thought if you were to be alive today and do you think he would have evolved into another life or can you need a particular one? state that i like it is easy
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questions. what would happen? i think he would be very distressed the way the world is going, towards syria, all the updates on his world would be upset. but i think he would have liked? he would've voted for obama in 08 at least because the idea of obama as a world president who spoke in berlin before a million people, what to kenya, this globalism and he'd be saying, where did he lose all that? obama was that i hope will be a public intellectual. if the general upset but some
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hope. one thing i know he'd hate, if he did he the world of the smartphone. he was the most anti-technology person you can imagine. [inaudible] -- is troubling on a lot of levels away today be talked about as a boundary problem. she was not just a practicing psychiatrist. he was a proponent of psychoanalysis, a teacher at world leader in that area. my question is, did they have clearly from something you said, some of these affairs created problem within the analysis and didn't he have some said they be the fourth or fifth affair that
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this behavior did create problems in the analysis and had to be correct. to ask a serious question, was there no supervision? >> that's a good question. i think the essential relatedness was a commissioned score of the patient's quarter basic is dangerous stuff. it's not fair the clinician should be different if you're going to help the patient. it creates problems bad of course the psychoanalyst clinicians do not have a rigid taboo i had to do with patient,
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that exist nonetheless. i said there was some good in him where he would look at a patient and say this is a bigger paycheck. he or she is healthy. i can interact with the. you're right, it's just inexcusable. >> typically a person with boundary problems has boundary problems wherever they go. i would ask how this boundary problems such if we can label it as such, how it shows up in the lives of the others taught about. >> okay, i would take that and combine it with the fact we are today with today with someone who sees himself as a prophet. he's got the answer.
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after 1950, he does not listen to top-of-the-line scholars at the frankfurt school at all. so if you trot on your own views is the truth and see yourself as a prophet of those views, there's no boundary problem because you have rounder extension over everything. in other words, it's a real problem. [laughter] >> he believed in character structure as being formed in a milieu in which you grew up. aside from the problem between his parent commented he grew up in a family that had found her
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problems? >> i think the problem when he grew up, i would put it as a family with boundary problem. he is between a mother who is depressed and wanted to be a girl and a father who is manic as heck and doesn't want his. and he is right in there trying to hold it together until he realizes he can't. and not make it into to your other questions. it's pretty heavy duty took a lot of life like that. >> appointed head be not such a great therapist is interesting. i said in the 80s with roberta -- [inaudible] as one of the finest therapists he ever knew. i wonder if you might have a few
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brief words about their relationship. >> well, if they're married. she's analyzing him and that go on and have an affair and then get. she should be doing this to one of her patients. in the marriage was troubled from the beginning. [laughter] it was troubled in this sense that he's a member of the frankfurt school for social reese urged. no one in the institute got very. that was a taboo. the mythology was marriage gets in the way of your productivity
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and so forth. word bp is a taboo. he doesn't want a baby to his work. she wants a baby. she's towards the end of her cycle. she wants very badly.
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