Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.
Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an ordination of character which determines the relatedness of the person to the whole world as a whole, not toward one object of love
Infantile love follows the principle: I love because I am loved. Mature love follows the principle: I am loved because I love. Immature love says: I love you because I need you. Mature love says: I need you because I love you.
Modern man has transformed himself into a commodity; he experiences his life energy as an investment with which he should make the highest profit, considering his position and the situation on the personality market. He is alienated from himself, from his fellow men and from nature. His main aim is profitable exchange of his skills, knowledge, and of himself, his personality package with others who are equally intent on a fair and profitable exchange. Life has no goal except the one to move, no principle except the one of fair exchange, no satisfaction except the one to consume.p97.
If the meaning of life has become doubtful, if one's relations to others and to oneself do not offer security, then fame is one means to silence one's doubts. It has a function to be compared with that of the Egyptian pyramids or the Christian faith in immortality: it elevates one's individual life from its limitations and instability to the plane of indestructability; if one's name is known to one's contemporaries and if one can hope that it will last for centuries, then one's life has meaning and significance by this very reflection of it in the judgments of others.
We are a society of notoriously unhappy people: lonely, anxious, depressed, destructive, dependent — people who are glad when we have killed the time we are trying so hard to save.
The development of man's intellectual capacities has far outstripped the development of his emotions. Man's brain lives in the twentieth century; the heart of most men lives still in the Stone Age. The majority of men have not yet acquired the maturity to be independent, to be rational, to be objective. They need myths and idols to endure the fact that man is all by himself, that there is no authority which gives meaning to life except man himself.
The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born when we die - although it is the tragic fate of most individuals to die before they are born.
To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern – and to take the jump and to stake everything on these values.
There is nothing inhuman, evil, or irrational which does not give some comfort, provided it is shared by a group.
If faith cannot be reconciled with rational thinking, it has to be eliminated as an anachronistic remnant of earlier stages of culture and replaced by science dealing with facts and theories which are intelligible and can be validated.
Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love. Where this active concern is lacking, there is no love.
Modern man thinks he loses something - time - when he does not do things quickly. Yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains, except kill it.
For despite what some people say, love is not only a sweet falling bound to come and quickly go away.
The real opposition is that between the ego-bound man, whose existence is structured by the principle of having, and the free man, who has overcome his egocentricity.
Ethical principles stand above the existence of the nation and that by adhering to these principles an individual belongs to the community of all those who share, who have shared, and who will share this belief.
The right to express out thoughts, however, means something only if we are able to have thoughts of our own; freedom from external authority is a lasting gain only if the inner psychological conditions are such that we are able to establish our own individuality.
The more man gains freedom in the sense of emerging from the original oneness with man and nature and the more he becomes an 'individual,' he has no choice but to unite himself with the world in the spontaneity of love and productive work or else to seek a kind of security by such ties with the world that destroys his freedom and the integrity of his individual self.
The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots.
The supreme principle of socialism is that man takes precedence over things, life over property, and hence, work over capital; that power follows creation, and not possession; that man must not be governed by circumstances, but circumstances must be governed by man.
Man can attempt to become one with the world by submission to a person, to a group, to an institution, to God. In this way, he transcends the separateness of his individual existence by becoming part of somebody or something bigger than himself, and experiences his identity in connection with the power to which he has submitted.
Millions are impressed by the victories of power and take it for the sign of strength. To be sure, power over people is an expression of superior strength in a purely material sense. If I have the power over another person to kill him, I am stronger than he is. But in a psychological sense, the lust for power is not rooted in strength but in weakness. It is the expression of inability of the individual self to stand alone and live. It is the desperate attempt to gain secondary strength where genuine strength is lacking.
People do not see that the main question is not : Am I loved? which is to a large extent the question : Am I approved of? Am I protected? Am I admired? The main question is: Can I love?
Freud was so imbued with the spirit of his culture that he could not go beyond certain limits which were set by it. These very limits became limitations for his understanding even of the sick individual, they handicapped his understanding of the normal individual and of the irrational phenomena operating in social life.
Although there are certain needs, such as hunger, thirst, sex, which are common to man, those drives which make for the differences in men's characters, like love and hatred, the lust for power and the yearning for submission, the enjoyment of sensuous pleasure and the fear of it, are all products of the social process. The most beautiful as well as the most ugly inclinations of man are not part of a fixed and biologically given human nature, but result from the social process which creates man. In other words, society has not only a suppressing function - although it has that too - but it has also a creative function.
Progress in social psychology is necessary to counteract the dangers which arise from the progress in physics and medicine.
since men are equal and thus have the same wish for happiness, and since there is not enough wealth to satisfy them all to the same extent, they necessarily fight against each other and want power to secure the future enjoyment of what they have at present.
the key problem of psychology is that of the specific kind of relatedness of the individual towards the world and not that of the satisfaction or frustration of this or that instinctual need per se
The pathology of normalcy rarely deteriorates to graver forms of mental illness because society produces the antidote against such deterioration. When pathological processes become socially patterned, they lose their individual character. On the contrary, the sick individual finds himself at home with all other similarly sick individuals. The whole culture is geared to this kind of pathology and arranged the means to give satisfactions which fit the pathology. The result is that the average individual does not experience the separateness and isolation the fully schizophrenic person feels. He feels at ease among those who suffer from the same deformation, in fact, it is the fully sane person who feels isolated in the insane society - and he may suffer so much from the incapacity to communicate that it is he who may become psychotic.
We consume, as we produce, without any concrete relatedness to the objects with which we deal; We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them.
We... have created a greater material wealth than any other society in the history of the human race. Yet we have managed to kill off millions of our population in an arrangement which we call war.
There were always men who looked beyond the dimensions of their own society- and while they may have been called fools or criminals in their time they are the roster of great men as far as the record of human history is concerned- and visualized something which can be called universally human and which is not identical with what a particular society assumes human nature to be. There were always men who were bold and imaginative enough to see beyond the frontiers of their own existence.
If man were infinitely malleable, there would have been nor revolutions; there would have been no change because a culture would have succeeded in making man submit to its patterns without resistance. But man, being only relatively malleable, has always reacted with protest against conditions which made the disequilibrium between the social order and his human needs too drastic or unbearable. The attempt to reduce this disequilibrium and the need to establish a more acceptable and desirable solution is at the very core of the dynamism of the evolution of man in history. Man's protest arose not only because of material suffering; specifically human needs...are an equally strong motivation for revolution and the dynamics of change.
What holds true for the individual holds true for a society. It is never static; if it does not grow, it decays; if it does not transcend the status quo for the better, it changes for the worse. Often we, the individual or the people who make up a society, have the illusion we could stand still and not alter the given situation in the one or the other direction. This is one of the most dangerous illusions. The moment we stand still, we begin to decay.
Both the mentally healthy and the neurotic are driven by the need to find an answer [to the problem of human existence], the only difference being that one answer corresponds more to the total needs of man, and hence is more conducive to the unfolding of his powers and to his happiness than the other. All cultures provide for a patterned system in which certain solutions are predominant, hence certain strivings and satisfactions.... The deviate from the cultural pattern is just as much in search of an answer as his more well-adjusted brother. His answer may be better or worse than the one given by his culture - it is always another answer to the same fundamental question raised by human existence. In this sense all cultures are religious and every neurosis is a private form of religion, provided we mean by religion an attempt to answer the problem of human existence.
It is the task of the science of man to arrive eventually at a correct description of what deserves to be called human nature. What has often been called human nature is but one of its many manifestations - and often a pathological one - and the function of such mistaken definition usually has been to defend a particular type of society as being the necessary one.
In spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power-almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving. Could it be that only those things are considered worthy of being learned with which one can earn money or prestige, and that love, which only profits the soul, but is profitless in the modern sense, is a luxury we have no right to spend energy on?
Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but moving, growing, working together; even when there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves, rather than by fleeing from themselves. There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned; this is the fruit by which love is recognized.