threat to a religious attitude – part 2

[if you read the last post, you may be curious what Erich Fromm meant by a “marketing orientation.” This passage will help explain – and will sound quite prophetic of our contemporary drive toward “personal branding”]:

Inevitably man’s attitude toward himself is conditioned by these standards of success. His feeling of self-esteem is not based primarily on the value of his powers and the use he makes of them in a given society. It depends on his salability on the market, or the opinion others have about his “attractiveness.” He experiences himself as a commodity designed to attract the most favorable, the most expensive terms…. Commodity man hopefully displays his label, tries to stand out from the assortment on the counter and to be worthy of the highest price tag, but if he is passed by while others are snapped up he is convicted of inferiority and worthlessness. However high he may be rated in terms of both human qualities and utility, he may have the ill-luck – and must bear the blame – of being out of fashion….

It is hardly surprising that under these circumstances man’s sense of his value must suffer severely. The conditions for his self-esteem are beyond his control. He is dependent on others for approval and in constant need of it; helplessness and insecurity are the inevitable results. Man loses his own identity in the marketing orientation; he becomes alienated from himself.

РErich Fromm, Psychoanalysis and Religion

[in a few days – one last passage from Fromm, getting back to the effect of this modern human struggle on religion.]

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