The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

With the newspapers and websites abuzz with the american electorate’s choice of a misogynist, racist bigot to the esteemed position of “leader of the free world”, I was contemplating the destructive pathologies which infect human societies. The shift of European politics to the “right” exposes a primal fear of “The Other”, a fear curled like a venomous snake in our collective consciousness.

‘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.’

Erich Fromm, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

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