I have been reading Marx’s Concept of Man by Erich Fromm and would like to share some of the reading here on my blog.
“Corresponding to his concept of the wealthy man is Marx’s view of the difference between the sense of having and the sense of being. “Private property,” he says, “has made us so stupid and partial that an object is only ours when we have it, when it exists for us as capital or when it is directly eaten, drunk, worn, inhabited, etc., in short, utilized in some way…
Thus all the physical and intellectual senses have been replaced by the simple alienation of all these senses; the sense of having. The human being had to be reduced to this absolute poverty in order to be able to give birth to all his inner wealth.”
“The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre or to balls, or to the public house (pub), and the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you will be able to save and the greater will become your treasure which neither moth nor rust will corrupt-your capital. The less you are, the less you express your life the more you have, the greater is your alienated life and the greater is the saving of your alienated being.
Everything, which the economist takes from you in the way of life and humanity, he restores to you in the form of money and wealth. …When one owns the master, one also owns the servant, and one has no need of the master’s servant. Thus all passions and activities must be submerged in avarice*. Marx recognized that the science of capitalistic economy, despite its worldly and pleasure-seeking appearance, “is a truly moral science, the most moral of all science. Its principal thesis is the renunciation of life and of human needs. The worker must have just what is necessary for him to want to live, and he must want to live to have this, only in order to have this.”
Avarice: the excessive desire to accumulate riches; greed