to have or to be

by Erich Fromm (video of him talking about this book on his page) (1976)


Only those spiritual and intellectual leaders of our epoch who have a paternity in this extension of man’s horizons are invited to participate in the Series: those who are aware of the truth that beyond the divisiveness among men there exists a primordial unitive power since we are all bound together by a common humanity more fundamental than any unity of dogma; those who recognize that the centrifugal force which has scattered and atomized mankind must be replaced by an integrating structure and process capable of bestowing meaning and purpose on existence; those who realize that science itself, when not inhibited by the limitations of its own methodology, when chastened and humbled, commits man to an indeterminate range of yet undreamed consequences that may flow from it.


we seem to inhabit a world of dynamic process and structure. Therefore we need a calculus of potentiality rather than one of probability, 

a dialectic of polarity, one in which unity and diversity are redefined as simultaneous and necessary poles of the same essence


our problem is to discover a principle of differentiation and yet relationship lucid enough to justify and to purify scientific, philosophic and all other knowledge, both discursive and intuitive, by accepting their interdependence. This is the crisis in consciousness made articulate through the crisis in science. This is the new awakening


an understanding of what the issues are, though not a sufficient condition, is a necessary prerequisite for directing action toward constructive solutions.

huge.. i don’t think we know what the (deep enough) issues are.. so we keep going after shiny/bandaids..


we have no choice but to admit that the unfreedom against which freedom is measured must be retained with it, namely, that the aspect of truth out of which the night view appears to emerge, the darkness of our time, is as little abandonable as is man’s subjective advance.

There is a growing awareness that equality may not be evaluated in mere numerical terms but is proportionate and analogical in its reality.

For when equality is equated with interchangeability, individuality is negated and the human person transmuted into a faceless mask


our epistemological problem consists in our finding the proper balance between our lack of an *all-embracing principle relevant to our way of evaluating life and in our power to express ourselves in a logically consistent manner

Nature operates out of necessity; there is *no alternative in nature, no will, no freedom, no choice as there is for man. Man must have convictions and values to live for, and this also is recognized and accepted by those scientists who are at the same time philosophers. For they then realize that duty and devotion to our task, be it a task of acting or of understanding, will become weaker and rarer unless **guidance is sought in a metaphysics that transcends our historical and scientific views or in a religion that transcends and yet pervades the work we are carrying on in the light of day

*? no alt in nature..?

**guidance by metaphysics…? (the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space)

i think we just have to listen.. and that nature does have alts..


In spite of the infinite obligation of men and in spite of their finite power, in spite of the intransigence of nationalisms, and in spite of the homelessness of moral passions rendered ineffectual by the technological outlook, beneath the apparent turmoil and upheaval of the present, and out of the transformations of this dynamic period with the unfolding of a world-consciousness, the purpose of World Perspectives is to help quicken the “unshaken heart of well-rounded truth” and interpret the significant elements of the World Age now taking shape out of the core of that undimmed continuity of the creative process which restores man to mankind while deepening and enhancing his communion and his symbiotic relationship with the universe.   –

up to this page was via .. RUTH NANDA ANSHEN


The essential element in their thinking is the distinction between those needs (desires) that are only subjectively felt and whose satisfaction leads to momentary pleasure, and those needs that are rooted in *human nature and whose realization is conducive to human growth and produces **eudaimonia, i.e., “well-being.” In other words, they were concerned with the distinction between purely subjectively felt needs and objectively ***valid needs—part of the former being harmful to human growth and the latter being in accordance with the requirements of human nature. The theory that the aim of life is the fulfillment of every human desire was clearly voiced, for the first time since Aristippus, by philosophers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was a concept that would easily arise when “profit” ceased to mean “profit for the soul” (as it does in the Bible and, even later, in Spinoza), but came to mean material, ****monetary profit, in the period when the middle class threw away not only its political shackles but also all bonds of love and solidarity and believed that being only for oneself meant being more rather than less oneself.

*human nature


***maté basic needs

****made up money


La Mettrie even recommends drugs as giving at least the illusion of happiness

rat park ness

The concept of unlimited pleasure forms a strange contradiction to the ideal of disciplined work, similar to the contradiction between the acceptance of an obsessional work ethic and the ideal of complete laziness during the rest of the day and during vacations. The endless assembly line belt and the bureaucratic routine on the one hand, and television, the automobile, and sex on the other, make the contradictory combination possible. Obsessional work alone would drive people just as crazy as would complete laziness. With the combination, they can live. Besides, both contradictory attitudes correspond to an economic necessity: twentiethcentury capitalism is based on maximal consumption of the goods and services produced as well as on routinized teamwork.

laziness.. luxury to do whatever we want.. we don’t know that that alone would drive people crazy.. we just know we’re crazy now..

even without theoretical analysis the observable data show most clearly that our kind of “pursuit of happiness” does not produce well-being. 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

hari present in society law


Ours is the greatest social experiment ever made to solve the question whether pleasure (as a passive affect in contrast to the active affect, wellbeing and joy) can be a satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. For the first time in history the satisfaction of the pleasure drive is not only the privilege of a minority but is possible for more than half the population. The experiment has already answered the question in the negative.

right.. huge not to throw – laziness..  into mix though.. we haven’t yet tried to experiment beyond partial ness.. so we still don’t know us


The development of this economic system was no longer determined by the question: What is good for Man? but by the question: What is good for the growth of the system?

One tried to hide the sharpness of this conflict by making the assumption that what was good for the growth of the system (or even for a single big corporation) was also good for the people. This construction was bolstered by an auxiliary construction: that the very qualities that the system required of human beings—egotism, selfishness, and greed—were innate in human nature; hence, not only the system but human nature itself fostered them. Societies in which egotism, selfishness, and greed did not exist were supposed to be “primitive,” their inhabitants “childlike.”

People refused to recognize that these traits were not natural drives that caused industrial society to exist, but that they were the products of social circumstances.

sci of people ness

Not least in importance is another factor: people’s relation to nature became deeply hostile. Being “freaks of nature” who by the very conditions of our existence are within nature and by the gift of our reason transcend it, we have tried to solve our existential problem by giving up the Messianic vision of harmony between humankind and nature by conquering nature, by transforming it to our own purposes until the conquest has become more and more equivalent to destruction. Our spirit of conquest and hostility has blinded us to the facts that natural resources have their limits and can eventually be exhausted, and that nature will fight back against human rapaciousness

Industrial society has contempt for nature—as well as for all things not machine-made and for all people who are not machine makers (the nonwhite races, with the recent exceptions of Japan and China). People are attracted today to the mechanical, the powerful machine, the lifeless, and ever increasingly to destruction.


Thus far the argument here has been that the character traits engendered by our socioeconomic system, i.e., *by our way of living, are pathogenic and eventually produce a sick person and, thus, a sick society. There is, however, a second argument from an entirely different viewpoint in favor of profound psychological changes in Man as an alternative to economic and ecological catastrophe

*hari present in society law


ef schumacher – radically change social system

For the first time in history the physical survival of the human race depends on a radical change of the human heart. However, a change of the human heart is possible only to the extent that drastic economic and social changes occur that give the human heart the chance for change and the courage and the vision to achieve it.


How is it possible that the strongest of all instincts, that for survival, seems to have ceased to motivate us? One of the most obvious explanations is that the leaders undertake many actions that make it possible for them to pretend they are doing something effective to avoid a catastrophe: endless conferences, resolutions, disarmament talks, all give the impression that the problems are recognized and something is being done to resolve them.


Aside from these explanations for fatal human passivity in matters of life and death, there is another, which is one of my reasons for writing this book. I refer to

the view that we have no alternatives to the models of corporate capitalism, social democratic or Soviet socialism, or technocratic “fascism with a smiling face.” The popularity of this view is largely due to the fact that little effort has been made to study the feasibility of entirely new social models and to experiment with them.

Indeed, as long as the problems of social reconstruction will not, even if only partly, take the place of the preoccupation of our best minds with science and technique,

the imagination will be lacking to visualize new and realistic alternatives.

The main thrust of this book is the analysis of the two basic modes of existence: the mode of having and the mode of being.


part one – understanding diff between having/being


The difference is striking. Tennyson reacts to the flower by wanting to have it. He “plucks” it “root and all.” And while he ends with an intellectual speculation about the flower’s possible function for his attaining insight into the nature of God and man, the flower itself is killed as a result of his interest in it. Tennyson, as we see him in his poem, may be compared to the Western scientist who seeks the truth by means of dismembering life.


What Basho wants is to see, and not only to look at the flower, but to be at one, to “one” himself with it—and to let it live.


For Goethe the flower is so much alive that it speaks and warns him; and he solves the problem differently from either Tennyson or Basho. He takes the flower “with all its roots” and plants it again so that its life is not destroyed. Goethe stands, as it were, between Tennyson and Basho: for him, at the crucial moment, the force of life is stronger than the force of mere intellectual curiosity. Needless to say that in this beautiful poem Goethe expresses the core of his concept of investigating nature


The difference is rather between a society centered around persons and one centered around things.

It is not that Western Man cannot fully understand Eastern systems, such as Zen Buddhism (as Jung thought), but that modern Man cannot understand the spirit of a society that is not centered in property and greed.

A certain change in the emphasis on having and being is apparent in the growing use of nouns and the decreasing use of verbs in Western languages in the past few centuries. .... But to express an activity by to have in connection with a noun is an erroneous use of language, because processes and activities cannot be possessed; they can only be experienced.


Bauer’s “critical critique” is a small, but very important essay on love in which reference is made to the following statement by Bauer: “Love is a cruel goddess, who like all deities, wants to possess the whole man and who is not content until he has sacrificed to her not only his soul but also his physical self. Her cult is suffering; the peak of this cult is self-sacrifice, is suicide” (my translation). …the use of the noun instead of the verb. .. He has ceased to be an active person who feels; instead he has become an alienated worshiper of an idol, and he is lost when out of touch with his idol.

Here is a typical, if slightly exaggerated, example of today’s language. ….Some decades ago, instead of “I have a problem,” the patient probably would have said, “I am troubled”; instead of “I have insomnia,” “I cannot sleep”; instead of “I have a happy marriage,” “I am happily married.” The more recent speech style indicates the prevailing high degree of alienation. By saying “I have a problem” instead of “I am troubled,” subjective experience is eliminated: the I of experience is replaced by the it of possession. I have transformed my feeling into something I possess: the problem. But “problem” is an abstract expression for all kinds of difficulties. I cannot have a problem, because it is not a thing that can be owned; it, however, can have me. That is to say, I have transformed myself into “a problem” and am now owned by my creation. This way of speaking betrays a hidden, unconscious alienation.


One can have a sore throat, for one has a throat, or an aching tooth, for one has teeth. Insomnia, on the contrary, is not a bodily sensation but a state of mind, that of not being able to sleep. If I speak of “having insomnia” instead of saying “I cannot sleep,” I betray my wish to push away the experience of anxiety, restlessness, tension that prevents me from sleeping, and to deal with the mental phenomenon as if it were a bodily symptom. For another example: To say, “I have great love for you,” is meaningless. Love is not a thing that one can have, but a process, an inner activity that one is the subject of. I can love, I can be in love, but in loving, I have .. . nothing. In fact, the less I have, the more I can love.

To those who believe that to have is a most natural category of human existence it may come as a surprise to learn that many languages have no word for “to have.” In Hebrew, for instance, “I have” must be expressed by the indirect form jesh li (“it is to me”). In fact, languages that express possession in this way, rather than by “I have,” predominate.


suggests that the word for to have develops in connection with the development of private property, while it is absent in societies with predominantly functional property, that is, possession for use.


3. In the being mode of existence, we must identify two forms of being. One is in contrast to having, as exemplified in the Du Marais statement, and means aliveness and authentic relatedness to the world. The other form of being is in contrast to appearing and refers to the true nature, the true reality, of a person or a thing in contrast to deceptive appearances as exemplified in the etymology of being (Benveniste).

videri ness

The position that being is a permanent, timeless, and unchangeable substance and the opposite of becoming, as expressed by Parmenides, Plato, and the scholastic “realists,” makes sense only on the basis of the idealistic notion that a thought (idea) is the ultimate reality. If the idea of love (in Plato’s sense) is more real than the experience of loving, one can say that love as an idea is permanent and unchangeable. But when we start out with the reality of human beings existing, loving, hating, suffering, then there is no being that is not at the same time becoming and changing. Living structures can be only if they become; they can exist only if they change. Change and growth are inherent qualities of the life process.


“identification” should not be used loosely, when one should better talk of imitation or subordination.)

Further attention is given to the many forms of everyday consumerism later on in this volume. I might only remark here that as far as leisure time is concerned, automobiles, television, travel, and sex are the main objects of present-day consumerism, and while we speak of them as leisure-time activities, we would do better to call them leisure-time passivities.


Because the society we live in is devoted to acquiring property and making a profit, we rarely see any evidence of the being mode of existence and most people see the having mode as the most natural mode of existence, even the only acceptable way of life.


Memory entrusted to paper is another form of alienated remembering. By writing down what I want to remember I am sure to have that information, and I do not try to engrave it on my brain. I am sure of my possession—except that when I have lost my notes, I have lost my memory of the information, too. My capacity to remember has left me, for my memory bank had become an externalized part of me, in the form of my notes.

hlb ness


In contrast are those who approach a situation by preparing nothing in advance, not bolstering themselves up in any way. Instead, they respond spontaneously and productively; they forget about themselves, about the knowledge, the positions they have. Their egos do not stand in their own way, and it is precisely for this reason that they can fully respond to the other person and that person’s ideas. They give birth to new ideas, because they are not holding onto anything and can thus produce and give.

no prep.. no agenda.. holmgren indigenous law

While the having persons rely on what they have, the being persons rely on the fact that they are, that they are alive and that something new will be born if only they have the courage to let go and to respond.

let go..

They come fully alive in the conversation, because they do not stifle themselves by anxious concern with what they have. Their own aliveness is infectious and often helps the other person to transcend his or her egocentricity. Thus

the conversation ceases to be an exchange of commodities (information, knowledge, status) and becomes a dialogue in which it does not matter any more who is right. The duelists begin to dance together, and they part not with triumph or sorrow—which are equally sterile—but with joy.

2 convos.. as the day.. a nother way..


The so-called excellent students are the ones who can most accurately repeat what each of the various philosophers had to say. They are like a well-informed guide at a museum. What they do not learn is that which goes beyond this kind of property knowledge. They do not learn to question the philosophers, to talk to them; they do not learn to be aware of the philosophers’ own contradictions, of their leaving out certain problems or evading issues; they do not learn to distinguish between what was new and what the authors could not help thinking because it was the “common sense” of their time; they do not learn to hear so that they are able to distinguish when the authors speak only from their brain and when their brain and heart speak together; they do not learn to discover whether the authors are authentic or fake; and many more things. The mode of being readers will often come to the conclusion that even a highly praised book is entirely without value or is of very limited value. Or they may have fully understood a book, sometimes better than had the author, who may have considered everything he or she wrote as being equally important


That people take uniforms and titles for the real qualities of competence is not something that happens quite of itself. Those who have these symbols of authority and those who benefit therefrom must dull their subject people’s realistic, i.e., critical, thinking and make them believe the fiction. Anybody who will think about it knows the machinations of propaganda, the methods by which critical judgment is destroyed, how the mind is lulled into submission by clichés, how people are made dumb because they become dependent and lose their capacity to trust their eyes and judgment. They are blinded to reality by the fiction they believe.

Knowing does not mean to be in possession of the truth; it means to penetrate the surface and to strive critically and actively in order to approach truth ever more closely. This quality of creative penetration is expressed in the Hebrew jadoa, which means to know and to love, in the sense of male sexual penetration


Our education generally tries to train people to have knowledge as a possession, by and large commensurate with the amount of property or social prestige they are likely to have in later life. The minimum they receive is the amount they will need in order to function properly in their work. In addition they are each given a “luxury-knowledge package” to enhance their feeling of worth, with the size of each such package being in accord with the person’s probable social prestige. The schools are the factories in which these overall knowledge packages are produced—although schools usually claim they mean to bring the students in touch with the highest achievements of the human mind. Many undergraduate colleges are particularly adroit in nurturing these illusions. From Indian thought and art to existentialism and surrealism, a vast smorgasbord of knowledge is offered from which students pick a little here, a little there, and in the name of spontaneity and freedom are not urged to concentrate on one subject, not even ever to finish reading an entire book. (Ivan Illich’s radical critique of the school system brings many of its failings into focus.)


What they do not see is that they no longer are the same people they were when they were in love with each other; that the error that one can have love has led them to cease loving. Now, instead of loving each other, they settle for owning together what they have: money, social standing, a home, children. Thus, in some cases, the marriage initiated on the basis of love becomes transformed into a friendly ownership, a corporation in which the two egotisms are pooled into one: that of the “family.”


On the Shabbat one lives as if one has nothing, pursuing no aim except being, that is, expressing one’s essential powers: praying, studying, eating, drinking, singing, making love.

The Shabbat is a day of joy because on that day one is fully oneself. This is the reason the Talmud calls a Shabbat the anticipation of the Messianic Time, and the Messianic Time the unending Shabbat: the day on which property and money as well as mourning and sadness are tabu; a day on which time is defeated and pure being rules.


Tertullian (third century) considered all trade to be the result of cupidity, and he denies its necessity among people who are free from greed. He declares that trade always carries with it the danger of idolatry. Avarice (extreme greed for wealth or material gain) he calls the root of all evil.

exchange/compare et al

I could go on for many pages quoting the views of the church fathers that private property and the egotistical use of any possession is immoral. Yet even the foregoing few statements indicate the continuity of the rejection of the having orientation as we find it from Old Testament times, throughout early Christianity, and into the later centuries. Even Aquinas, battling against the openly communist sects, concludes that the institution of private property is justified only inasmuch as it best serves the purposes of satisfying the welfare of all. Classic Buddhism emphasizes even more strongly than the Old and New Testaments the central importance of giving up craving for possessions of any kind, including one’s own ego, the concept of a lasting substance, and even the craving for one’s perfection.


Eckhart ( has described and analyzed the difference between the having and being modes of existence with a penetration and clarity not surpassed by any teacher.


To understand Eckhart’s position, it is necessary to grasp the true meaning of these words. When he says that “a man ought to be empty of his own knowledge,” he does not mean that one should forget what one knows, but rather one should forget that one knows. This is to say that we should not look at our knowledge as a possession, in which we find security and which gives us a sense of identity; we should not be “filled” with our knowledge, or hang onto it, or crave it. Knowledge should not assume the quality of a dogma, which enslaves us. All this belongs to the mode of having.

In the mode of being, knowledge is nothing but the penetrating activity of thought—without ever becoming an invitation to stand still in order to find certainty.


While they are not in themselves “bad,” they become bad; that is, when we hold onto them

let go of the things you have to cling to..

take care that your emphasis is laid on being good and not on the number or kind of things to be done. …Our being is the reality, the spirit that moves us, the character that impels our behavior; in contrast, the deeds or opinions that are separated from our dynamic core have no reality


part two – analyze fund diff between h&b


Our judgments are extremely biased because we live in a society that rests on private property, profit, and power as the pillars of its existence. To acquire, to own, and to make a profit are the sacred and unalienable rights of the individual in the industrial society.*

This kind of property may be called private property (from Latin privare, “to deprive of”), because the person or persons who own it are its sole masters, with full power to deprive others of its use or enjoyment.


But the vast majority of people own no property in a real sense of capital and capital goods, and the puzzling question arises: How can such people fulfill or even cope with their passion for acquiring and keeping property, or how can they feel like owners of property when they haven’t any property to speak of?

Perhaps the greatest enjoyment is 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.


Persons are transformed into things; their relations to each other assume the character of ownership. “Individualism,” which in its positive sense means liberation from social chains, means, in the negative sense, “self-ownership,” the right—and the duty—to invest one’s energy in the success of one’s own person. Our ego is the most important object of our property feeling, for it comprises many things: our body, our name, our social status, our possessions (including our knowledge), the image we have of ourselves and the image we want others to have of us. ..the ego is felt as a thing we each possess, and that this “thing” is the basis of our sense of identity. This discussion of property must take into account that an import


Ideas and beliefs can also become property, as can even habits. For instance, anyone who eats an identical breakfast at the same time each morning can be disturbed by even a slight change in that routine, because his habit has become a property whose loss endangers his security

these young people dare to be, and they are not interested in what they get in return or what they can keep.


Society, and the family as its psychosocial agent, has to solve a difficult problem: How to break a person’s will without his being aware of it? Yet by a complicated process of indoctrination, rewards, punishments, and fitting ideology, it solves this task by and large so well that most people believe they are following their own will and are unaware that their will itself is conditioned and manipulated. The greatest difficulty in this suppression of the will exists with regard to sexuality, because we deal here with a strong tendency of the natural order that is less easy to manipulate than many other desires. For this reason people try harder to fight their sexual desires than almost any other human desire. No need to cite the various forms of the vilification of sex from moral grounds (its evilness) to health grounds (masturbation does physical harm). The church had to forbid birth control and extramarital sex, and it still sticks to these principles even today when prudence would recommend a more tolerant course. The effort made to suppress sex would be beyond our understanding if it were for the sake of sex as such. Not sex, however, but the breaking of human will is the reason for vilifying sex. A great number of the so-called primitive societies have no sex tabu whatever. Since they function without exploitation and domination, they do not have to break the individual’s will. They can afford not to stigmatize sex and to enjoy the pleasure of sexual relations without guilt feelings. Most remarkable in these societies is that this sexual freedom does not lead to sexual greed; that after a period of relatively transient sexual relations couples find each other; that they then have no desire to swap partners, but are also free to separate when love has gone. For these not-property-oriented groups sexual enjoyment is an expression of being, not the result of sexual possessiveness. In saying this I do not imply that we should return to living as these primitive societies do—not that we could, even if we wanted to, for the simple reason that the process of individuation and individual differentiation and distance that civilization has brought about gives individual love a different quality from that in primitive society. We cannot regress; we can only move forward. What matters is that new forms of propertylessness will do away with the sexual greed that is characteristic of all having societies.


All data indicate that heteronomous interference with the child’s and the later person’s growth process is the deepest root of mental pathology, especially of destructiveness.

It must be clearly understood, though, that *freedom is not laissez-faire and arbitrariness. Human beings have a specific structure—like any other species—and can grow only in terms of this structure. Freedom does not mean freedom from all guiding principles. It means the freedom to grow according to the laws of the structure of human existence (autonomous restrictions). It means obedience to the laws that govern optimal human development. Any authority that furthers this goal is “rational authority” when this furtherance is achieved by way of helping to mobilize the child’s activity, critical thinking, and faith in life. It is “irrational authority” when it imposes on the child heteronomous norms that serve the purposes of the authority, but not the purposes of the child’s specific structure.

*dang.. why can’t we let go of this.. he just said prior to.. how it worked with sex..

Language is an important factor in fortifying the having orientation. The name of a person—and we all have names (and maybe numbers if the present-day trend toward depersonalization continues)—creates the illusion that he or she is a final, immortal being. The person and the name become equivalent; the name demonstrates that the person is a lasting, indestructible substance—and not a process

this is huge..


Once we have given such percepts a name, the name seems to guarantee the final and unchangeable reality of the percept.


What matters here is not a certain conviction as such, but the fanaticism that supports it. This, like all fanaticism, suggests the suspicion that it serves to cover other, and usually the opposite, impulses.

If everybody’s possessions are functional and personal, then whether someOne has somewhat more than another person does not constitute a social problem, for since possession is not essential, envy does not grow.

On the other hand, those who are concerned with equality in the sense that each one’s share must be exactly equal to anyone else’s show that their own having orientation is as strong as ever, except that it is denied by their preoccupation with exact equality. Behind this concern their real motivation is visible: envy.

fuller too much law et al


existential having; for human existence requires that we have, keep, take care of, and use certain things in order to survive. ..rooted in human existence.

Existential having is not in conflict with being; characterological having necessarily is. 


Most of us know more about the mode of having than we do about the mode of being, because having is by far the more frequently experienced mode in our culture

Having refers to things and things are fixed and describable. Being refers to experience, and human experience is in principle not describable. What is fully describable is our persona—the mask we each wear, the ego we present—for this persona is in itself a thing. In contrast,

the living human being is not a dead image and cannot be described like a thing. In fact, the living human being cannot be described at all.

Only in the process of mutual alive relatedness can the other and I overcome the barrier of separateness, inasmuch as we both participate in the dance of life. Yet our full identification of each other can never be achieved.


Even a single act of behavior cannot be fully described. One could write pages of description of the *Mona Lisa’s smile, and still the pictured smile would not have been caught in words—but not because her smile is so “mysterious.” Everybody’s smile is mysterious (unless it is the learned, synthetic smile of the marketplace). No one can fully describe the expression of interest, enthusiasm, biophilia, or of hate or narcissism that one may see in the eyes of another person, or the variety of facial expressions, of gaits, of postures, of intonations that exists among people

*compare law

The moment that I express what I experience exclusively in thought and words, the experience has gone: it has dried up, is dead, a mere thought. Hence being is indescribable in words and is communicable only by sharing my experience. In the structure of having, the dead word rules; in the structure of being, the alive and inexpressible experience rules. (Of course, in the being mode there is also thinking that is alive and productive.)


most people find giving up their having orientation too difficult; any attempt to do so arouses their intense anxiety and feels like giving up all security, like being thrown into the ocean when one does not know how to swim. …What holds them back is the illusion that they could not walk by themselves, that they would collapse if they were not supported by the things they have.


The modern sense of activity makes no distinction between activity and mere busyness. But there is a fundamental difference between the two that corresponds to the terms “alienated” and “nonalienated” in respect to activities.


That Aristotle did not share our present concepts of activity and passivity becomes unmistakably clear if we will consider that for him the highest form of praxis, i.e., of activity—even above political activity—is the contemplative life, devoted to the search for truth. The idea that contemplation was a form of inactivity was unthinkable for him. Aristotle considers contemplative life the activity of the best part in us, the nous. The slave can enjoy sensuous pleasure, even as the free do. But eudaimonia, “well-being,” consists not in pleasures but in activities in accordance with virtue (Nichomachean Ethics, 1177a, 2 ff.).

eudaimoniative surplus


But factually, greediness, ambition, and so forth are forms of insanity, although usually one does not think of them as ‘illness’ (Ethics, 4, prop. 44). In this statement, so foreign to the thinking of our time, Spinoza considers passions that do not correspond to the needs of human nature as pathological; in fact, he goes so far as to call them a form of insanity.

Marx’s whole critique of capitalism and his vision of socialism are rooted in the concept that human self-activity is paralyzed in the capitalist system and that the goal is to restore full humanity by restoring activity in all spheres of life.


Of near contemporaries none has perceived the passive character of modern activity as penetratingly as has Albert Schweitzer, who, in his study of the decay and restoration of civilization, saw modern Man as unfree, incomplete, unconcentrated, pathologically dependent, and “absolutely passive.”

Thus far I have described the meaning of being by contrasting it to having. But a second, equally important meaning of being is revealed by contrasting it to appearing.

Behaviorism deals with this mask as if it were a reliable scientific datum; true insight is focused on the inner reality, which is usually neither conscious nor directly observable.


If we ask, then: What is unconscious? the answer must be: Aside from irrational passions, almost the whole of knowledge of reality. The unconscious is basically determined by society, which produces irrational passions and provides its members with various kinds of fiction and thus forces the truth to become the prisoner of the alleged rationality

We know almost everything that is important to know about human behavior, just as our ancestors had a remarkable knowledge about the movements of the stars. But while they were aware of their knowledge and used it, we repress our knowledge immediately, because if it were conscious it would make life too difficult and, as we persuade ourselves, too “dangerous.”


In contemporary society the having mode of existing is assumed to be rooted in human nature and, hence, virtually unchangeable. The same idea is expressed in the dogma that people are basically lazy, passive by nature, and that they do not want to work or to do anything else, unless they are driven by the incentive of material gain . . . or hunger . . . or the fear of punishment. This dogma is doubted by hardly anybody, and it determines our methods of education and of work. But it is little more than an expression of the wish to prove the value of our social arrangements by imputing to them that they follow the needs of human nature. To the members of many different societies of both past and present, the conceptof innate human selfishness and laziness would appear as fantastic as the reverse sounds to us. The truth is that both the having and the being modes of existence are potentialities of human nature, that our biological urge for survival tends to further the having mode, but that selfishness and laziness are not the only propensities inherent in human beings.

are they inherent…?

We human beings have an inherent and deeply rooted desire to be: to express our faculties, to be active, to be related to others, to escape the prison cell of selfishness

disagree with the list of why this is true.. ie: that kids are lazy because material not presented in engaging way and if it were they would be engaged.. or the worker that would be engaged if led by some energetic leader.. why does something have to be presented.. led? esp w/in a book about having/being.. seems if we think we need to present/lead.. we’re having.. in a not good for humanity way..


The human desire to experience union with others is rooted in the specific conditions of existence that characterize the human species and is one of the strongest motivators of human behavior. By the combination of minimal instinctive determination and maximal development of the capacity for reason, we human beings have lost our original oneness with nature. In order not to feel utterly isolated—which would, in fact, condemn us to insanity—we need to find a new unity: with our fellow beings and with nature. This human need for unity with others is experienced in many ways: in the symbiotic tie to mother, an idol, one’s tribe, one’s nation, one’s class, one’s religion, one’s fraternity, one’s professional organization. Often, of course, these ties overlap, and often they assume an ecstatic form, as among members of certain religious sects or of a lynch mob, or in the outbursts of national hysteria in the case of war. The outbreak of the First World War, for example, occasioned one of the most drastic of these ecstatic forms of “union.” Suddenly, from one day to the next, people gave up their lifelong convictions of pacifism, antimilitarism, socialism; scientists threw away their lifelong training in objectivity, critical thinking, and impartiality in order to join the big We.


A society whose principles are acquisition, profit, and property produces a social character oriented around having, and once the dominant pattern is established, nobody wants to be an outsider, or indeed an outcast; in order to avoid this risk everybody adapts to the majority, who have in common only their mutual antagonism. As a consequence of the dominant attitude of selfishness, the leaders of our society believe that people can be motivated only by the expectation of material advantages, i.e., by rewards, and that they will not react to appeals for solidarity and sacrifice. Hence, except in times of war, these appeals are rarely made, and the chances to observe the possible results of such appeals are lost. Only a radically different socioeconomic structure and a radically different picture of human nature could show that bribery is not the only way (or the best way) to influence people.


In the being mode, private having (private property) has little affective importance, because I do not need to own something in order to enjoy it, or even in order to use it. In the being mode, more than one person—in fact millions of people—can share in the enjoyment of the same object, since none need—or want—to have it, as a condition of enjoying it. This not only avoids strife; it creates one of the deepest forms of human happiness: shared enjoyment. Nothing unites people more (without restricting their individuality) than sharing their admiration and love for a person; sharing an idea, a piece of music, a painting, a symbol; sharing in a ritual—and sharing sorrow. The experience of sharing makes and keeps the relation between two individuals alive; it is the basis of all great religious, political, and philosophical movements. Of course, this holds true only as long as and to the extent that the individuals genuinely love or admire. When religious and political movements ossify, when bureaucracy manages the people by means of suggestions and threats, the sharing stops.


Joy is not the ecstatic fire of the moment. Joy is the glow that accompanies being. Pleasure and thrill are conducive to sadness after the so-called peak has been reached; for the thrill has been experienced, but the vessel has not grown. One’s inner powers have not increased.


Society, though, is not made up of heroes. As long as the tables were set for only a minority, and the majority had to serve the minority’s purposes and be satisfied with what was left over,

the sense that disobedience is sin had to be cultivated.

Both state and church cultivated it, and both worked together, because both had to protect their own hierarchies. The state needed religion to have an ideology that fused disobedience and sin; the church needed believers whom the state had trained in the virtues of obedience. Both used the institution of the family, whose function it was to train the child in obedience from the first moment it showed a will of its own (usually, at the latest, with the beginning of toilet training).

The self will of the child had to be broken in order to prepare it for its proper functioning later on as a citizen.

Sin in the conventional theological and secular sense is a concept within the authoritarian structure, and this structure belongs to the having mode of existence. Our human center does not lie in ourselves, but in the authority to which we submit. We do not arrive at well-being by our own productive activity, but by passive obedience and the ensuing approval by the authority


we live in the mode of having to the degree that we internalize the authoritarian structure of our society. 

Thomas Aquinas’ concept of authority, disobedience, and sin is a humanistic one: i.e., sin is not disobedience of irrational authority, but the violation of human wellbeing…for Thomas, the human good (bonum humanum) is determined neither arbitrarily by purely subjective desires, nor by instinctively given desires (“natural,” in the Stoic sense), nor by God’s arbitrary will. It is determined by our rational understanding of human nature and of the norms that, based on this nature, are conducive to our optimum growth and well-being.


Since the sin of separateness is not an act of disobedience, it does not need to be forgiven. But it does need to be healed; and love, not acceptance of punishment, is the healing factor.


The instruction on how to die is indeed the same as the instruction on how to live. The more we rid ourselves of the craving for possession in all its forms, particularly our ego-boundness, the less strong is the fear of dying, since there is nothing to lose.*

The mode of being exists only in the here and now (hic et nunc). The mode of having exists only in time: past, present, and future.

Being is not necessarily outside of time, but time is not the dimension that governs being


In the mode of being, we respect time, but we do not submit to it.


Via the machine, time has become our ruler. Only in our free hours do we seem to have a certain choice. Yet we usually organize our leisure as we organize our work. Or we rebel against tyrant time by being absolutely lazy. By not doing anything except disobeying time’s demands, we have the illusion that we are free, when we are, in fact, only paroled from our time-prison.


part three – the new man and the new society


Motherly love is mercy and compassion…Fatherly love, on the contrary, is conditional; ..Father’s love is justice.


I have called this phenomenon the marketing character because it is based on experiencing oneself as a commodity, and one’s value not as “use value” but as “exchange value.” The living being becomes a commodity on the “personality market.” The principle of evaluation is the same on both the personality and the commodity markets: on the one, personalities are offered for sale; on the other, commodities. Value in both cases is their exchange value, for which “use value” is a necessary but not a sufficient condition

Success depends largely on how well persons sell themselves on the market, how well they get their personalities across, how nice a “package” they are; whether they are “cheerful,” “sound,” “aggressive,” “reliable,” “ambitious”; furthermore, what their family backgrounds are, what clubs they belong to, and whether they know the “right” people.


A person is not concerned with his or her life and happiness, but with becoming salable


The aim of socialism was to give the whole population the same pleasure of consumption as capitalism gave only to a minority. Socialism and communism were built on the bourgeois concept of materialism.


every socialist or communist party that could claim to represent Marxian thought would have to be based on the conviction that the Soviet regimes are not socialist systems in any sense, that socialism is incompatible with a bureaucratic, thing-centered, consumption-oriented social system, that it is incompatible with the materialism and cerebralization that characterize the Soviet, like the capitalist, system


Albert Schweitzer…He sees industrial society characterized not only by lack of freedom but also by “overeffort” (Uberanstrengung). “For two or three centuries many individuals have lived only as working beings and not as human beings.”


Insight separated from practice remains ineffective.


New social forms that will be the basis of being will not arise without many designs, models, studies, and experiments that begin to bridge the gap between what is necessary and what is possible. This will eventually amount to large-scale, long-run planning and to short-term proposals for first steps.

a nother way

. If human beings are ever to become free and to cease feeding industry by pathological consumption, a radical change in the economic system is necessary: we must put an end to the present situation where a healthy economy is possible only at the price of unhealthy human beings.


The traditional formula “Production for use instead of for profit” is insufficient because it does not qualify what kind of use is referred to: healthy or pathological. At this point a most difficult practical question arises: Who is to determine which needs are healthy and which are pathogenic? Of one thing we can be certain: to force citizens to consume what the state decides is best—even if it is the best—is out of the question. Bureaucratic control that would forcibly block consumption would only make people all the more consumption hungry. Sane consumption can take place only if an ever-increasing number of people want to change their consumption patterns and their lifestyles. And this is possible only if people are offered a type of consumption that is more attractive than the one they are used to. This cannot happen overnight or by decree, but will require a slow educational process, and in this the government must play an important role

rat park

In contrast to the existing FDA, the decisions of the new humanist body of experts would not be implemented by force, but would serve only as guidelines, to be submitted to the citizens for discussion. We have already become very much aware of the problem of healthful and unhealthful food; the results of the experts’ investigations will help to increase society’s recognition of all other sane and pathological needs

in a rat park situation.. we could just all listen deeper..  no need for fda ness.. no inspectors of inspectors..


A large educational campaign in favor of sane consumption would have to accompany these efforts.

no.. just gershenfeld sel and trust.. 100%

This argument is based on the assumption that consumers want what is good for them, which is, of course, blatantly untrue (in the case of drugs, or perhaps even cigarettes, nobody would use this argument).

or blatantly true.. we just haven’t given ourselves a shot at it yet

Sane consumption is possible only if we can drastically curb the right of the stockholders and management of big enterprises to determine their production solely on the basis of profit and expansion.

yeah.. drastically.. as in.. to zero.. make it (money et al) irrelevant


Active participation in political life requires maximum decentralization throughout industry and politics.

agreed.. and max.. is way beyond what anyone is thinking/considering/believing is possible..

ie: hlb that io dance.. redefine decision making.. because public consensus always oppresses someone..

The bureaucratic method is governed by statistical data: the bureaucrats base their decisions on fixed rules arrived at from statistical data, rather than on response to the living beings who stand before them; they decide issues according to what is statistically most likely to be the case, at the risk of hurting the *5 or 10 percent of those who do not fit that pattern

rather *95-100%


Bureaucrats fear personal responsibility and seek refuge behind their rules; their security and pride lie in their loyalty to rules, not in their loyalty to the laws of the human heart.

Eichmann was an extreme example of a bureaucrat. Eichmann did not send the hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths because he hated them; he neither hated nor loved anyone. Eichmann “did his duty”: he was dutiful when he sent the Jews to their deaths; he was just as dutiful when he was charged simply with expediting their emigration from Germany. All that mattered to him was to obey the rules; he felt guilty only when he had disobeyed them. He stated (damaging his own case by this) that he felt guilty on only two counts: for having played truant as a child, and for having disobeyed orders to take shelter during an air raid. This does not imply that there was not an element of sadism in Eichmann and in many other bureaucrats, i.e., the satisfaction of controlling other living beings. But this sadistic streak is only secondary to the primary elements in bureaucrats: their lack of human response and their worship of rules.

when the bureaucrat in a hospital refuses to admit a critically sick person because the rules require that the patient be sent by a physician, that bureaucrat acts no differently than Eichmann did. Neither do the social workers who decide to let a client starve, rather than violate a certain rule in their bureaucratic code. This bureaucratic attitude exists not only among administrators; it lives among physicians, nurses, schoolteachers, professors—as well as in many husbands in relation to their wives and in many parents in relation to their children. Once the living human being is reduced to a number, the true bureaucrats can commit acts of utter cruelty, not because they are driven by cruelty of a magnitude commensurate to their deeds, but because they feel no human bond to their subjects. While less vile than the sadists, the bureaucrats are more dangerous, because in them there is not even a conflict between conscience and duty: their conscience is doing their duty; human beings as objects of empathy and compassion do not exist for them.


The new social scientists must devise plans for new forms of nonbureaucratic large-scale administration that is directed by response (that reflects “responsibility”) to people and situations rather than by the mere application of rules. Nonbureaucratic administration is possible provided we take into account the potential spontaneity of response in the administrator and do not make a fetish of economizing.

rather.. people their own admin and.. disengage from economizing..measuring.. et al

show that the damage caused by drug addiction is only a fraction of the damage done by our methods of brainwashing, from subliminal suggestions to such semihypnotic devices as constant repetition …


Obviously, the most efficient way for economic help to be given (especially, for instance, in terms of services) is a matter for economic experts to determine.

oy.. not so much.. just the people.. listening..


The guaranteed yearly income would ensure real freedom and independence.

not real freedom.. we’d circle back around.. we need to disengage from measuring transactions


People today are yearning for human beings who have wisdom and convictions and the courage to act according to their convictions.

Our only hope lies in the energizing attraction of a new vision. To propose this or that reform that does not change the system is useless in the long run because it does not carry with it the impelling force of a strong motivation. The “utopian” goal is more realistic than the “realism” of today’s leaders. The realization of the new society and new Man is possible only if the old motivations of profit, power, and intellect are replaced by new ones: being, sharing, understanding; if the marketing character is replaced by the productive, loving character; if cybernetic religion is replaced by a new radical-humanistic spirit.

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

a nother way


from michael hardt and antonio negri‘s multitude:


best safeguard is that experimentation be conducted democratically and openly, under common control, something that private ownership prevents.. what we need most today in this regard are mobilizations that give us the power to intervene democratically in the scientific process..

let go.. democratic admin killing us just as well

the primary issue, is not that humans are changing nature but that nature is ceasing to be common, that it is becoming private property and exclusively controlled by its new owners.

hardt/negri property law.. but too.. (and quite huge).. humans already changed natural nature.. ie: whales ness


in both cases, the info and knowledge is produced by human labor, experience and ingenuity, but in neither case can that labor be isolated to an individual..

the legal justification of private ownership is undermined by the common, social nature of production. when the traditional capitalist right or title to property declines, then there tends to be nothing left to protect private property except violence.

? – tragedy of the non common.. always needing some for of violence

private property has made us so stupid and one-sided.. that we denigrate all forms of being for the simple sense of having – marx

erich frommto be or to have ness


all human senses, including knowing, thinking, feeling, loving – in short, all of life – is corrupted by private property..

hardt/negri property law

marx makes clear however that he does not want to go back to any kind of primitive communal ownership.. he focuses rather on the contradiction in the logic of capital that points toward a new future resolution

mostly.. because that ‘primitive communal ownership’.. was still tragedy of the non common.. we haven’t yet let go enough (of ownership, control, et al) to see what legit free people are like

private property makes us stupid in part by making us think that everything valuable must be owned privately by someone.. economists never tire of telling us that a good cannot be preserved and utilized efficiently unless it is owned privately.. the truth is, however that the *vast majority of our world is not private property, and our social life functions only thanks to that fact..

*is any?

as we have seen.. in addition to traditional forms of property (land, railroads).. new goods (genetic info, knowledges, plants, animals) are becoming private property.. this is an ie of what we called earlier the expropriation of the common..

was already expropriation of common.. calling anything property in first place

still we could not interact and communicate in our daily lives if languages, forms of speech, gestures, methods of conflict resolution, ways of loving, and the vast majority of the practices of living were not common.. science would come to standstill if our great accumulations of knowledge, info, and methods of study were not common.. *social life depends on the common..

yeah.. wow.. loaded.. because.. all this is currently about sea world.. (non legit.. non alive.. ie:language as control/enclosure, most/all data non legit, most/all people not alive/themselves.. et al)

so it’s really that *social whale life depends on the non common

perhaps some day in future we ill look back and see how stupid we were in this period to let private property monopolize so many forms of wealth, posing obstacles to innovation and corrupting life.. before we discovered how to entrust social life *entirely to the common

*that last part is huge and key.. i don’t think we grok the necessity of entirely ness.. in order for the common to be common\ing


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people