The concept of human freedom is the focus of Erich Fromm in his philosophical scholars. He posits that freedom as a concept, related to human lifestyle, has two fold meanings for the modern man. They are: freedom from traditional authorities and freedom to actualize one’s destiny by shaping it across time and space. The twofold meaning of freedom, as espoused by Erich Fromm, will, thus, be the focus of this paper.
In the conceptualization of Erich Fromm, the traditional authority functions to deny an individual’s liberty, personal sovereignty and ability to champion the course of his or her own life. The first freedom entails liberating oneself from the traditional authorities such as governments and political rule that is repressive and suppressive. Thus, the truest meaning for a modern man is his ability to become an individual who is not limited by traditional authorities and cultural norms. However, Erich Fromm added a quick rejoinder stating that this type of freedom renders an individual isolated, powerless and makes him an instrument for a purposes outside his true self, thereby leading to self-alienation. This state of freedom weakens and frightens man making him submissive to other unfolding forms of bondage.
The freedom for actualization of individual destiny is also considered by Erich Fromm in his thesis. He contends that freedom can only be alluded, if to a large extent one has reached a level where there is no higher power beyond unique, individual self. In this second freedom, also known as positive freedom, man is the centre and the purpose of his own life. Therefore, one exercises his/her own individuality to enhance growth and realization of his destiny. All the inherent potentialities are thus exploited and developed without any external limitations with man’s destiny being the goal. Erich posits the sense of freedom as critically driven by dynamism and eradication of repression, alienating and inhibiting powers of submission and subordination.
In conclusion, Erich Fromm discusses freedom in a twofold perspective. The first perspective entails elimination of traditional authorities and put some limitations on man as he evolves to submit under other authorities after the liberation. The second perspective is more realistic and represents the existence of inherent potentials that only needs to be harnessed and directed towards one’s destiny.