Posts tagged ‘phylogenetically’

February 13, 2013

The Unsoluble Dichotomy

He visualizes his own end: death. Never is he free from the dichotomy of existence: he cannot rid himself of his mind, even if he should want to; he cannot rid himself of his body as long as he is alive — and his body makes him want to be alive. Reason, man’s blessing, is also his curse; it forces him to cope everlastingly with the task of solving an insoluble dichotomy. Human existence is different in this respect from that of all other organisms; it is in a state of constant and unavoidable disequilibrium. Man’s life cannot “be lived’ by repeating the pattern of his species; he must live. Man is the only animal than can be bored, that can feel evicted from paradise. Man is the only animal who finds hos own existence a problem which he has to solve and from which he cannot escape. He cannot go back to the pre-human state of harmony with nature; he must proceed to develop his reason until he becomes the master of nature, and of himself. But man’s birth ontogenetically as well as phylogenetically is essentially a negative effect. He lacks the instinctive adaptation to nature, he lacks physical strength, he is the most helpless of all animals at birth, and in need of protection for a much longer period of time than any of them.

(Fromm 1955:23)

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