Disobedience

In: English and Literature

Submitted By blaine
Words 1322
Pages 6
This is a critique of Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem by Eric Fromm, written in 1963. Fromm states in his article that disobedience is what originally

set the human race on the path to thinking on their own, but obedience to authority in the

end will be what kills us all. Overall his article has several compelling reasons to believe

his theory, but it is also not completely believable for several reasons. There are several

points that are debatable and his high use of emotion alone could cause one to question

his article on a whole. Fromm being a psychoanalyst, sociologist, historian, and

philosopher may have contributed to his using the pull of emotion so much.

In his article Fromm states that history began with an act of disobedience and that

history will possibly end with an act of obedience. Adam and Eve’s disobedience caused

humans to then rely on themselves, and that until this happened humans were not able to

fully develop the ability to reason or love. Similar to Adam and Eve, other cultures also

have their own stories of how history began with disobedience. Through disobedience

man has continued to evolve spiritually and intellectually, through this enlightening was

learned that not all disobedience is a virtue and not all obedience is vice.

Fromm defines autonomous obedience or humanistic conscience as obeying

yourself, and this is not submissive. Heteronomous obedience or authoritarian

conscience is obeying a power outside your own person such as another person or society

laws, and this type of obedience is submissive. Fromm goes on to define rational and

irrational authority. He defines rational authority as being when two or more parties have

the same idea or goal. He uses the example of a teacher to student, all work is to further

the student.…...

Similar Documents

Pro Civil Disobedience

...Pro Civil Disobedience Civil disobedience is a righteous way for a person or a group to make their point to the world. Great leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Dr. MLK) and Mohandas K. Gandhi (Gandhi) harnessed the idea and brought it to its prominence. Civil disobedience in its purest form is a particularly strong concept because it requires a self-purification process. This process enlightens civil resisters to the reality of longsuffering for a cause without any type of retaliation. Also, there are arguments against civil disobedience. One such argument is “wait” because change will come. Another is that civil disobedience precipitates violence. These arguments are extremely weak. Because of these weak arguments along with the strong concept of self-purification, I am a proponent of civil disobedience. Dr. MLK was a firm believer in the self-purification process. In Letter from Birmingham Jail, he speaks of undertaking a process of self-purification. “We began a series of workshops on nonviolence and we repeatedly asked ourselves: ‘Are you able to accept blows without retaliation?’ ‘Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail (King 158)?’” Dr. MLK knew that in order to appeal to the public, they must endure the punishment without retaliation. This is explained when he says, “Laying out our case before the conscience of the local and national community (King 158).” Dr. MLK had a grasp on the notion that if his people were to become violent,......

Words: 732 - Pages: 3

Hacktivism & Civil Disobedience

...TomMendez Hacktivism and Civil Disobedience Hacktivism, though preferred by hackers and hacktivists to be kept without a definition, is generally thought of as hacking for a political cause. Hackers, those who have deep knowledge and understanding of the Internet and computer systems and networks, thrive on the openness and freedom the internet provides. Steven Levy’s “Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution” published nearly three decades ago outlines the hacker’s creeds: 1. Access to computers should be unlimited and total. 2. All information should be free. 3. Mistrust authority – promote decentralization. 4. Hackers should be judged by their hacking not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position. 5. You create art and beauty on a computer. 6. Computers can change your life for the better. The operating system Linux, still widely used today, was created to conform to this ethical code. Linux pioneer Richard Stallman with the help of Linus Torvalds developed the GNU/Linux operating system. The software was made available under the General Public License, nicknamed “copyleft” (as opposed to copyright), meaning that the software was free to have and modify for anyone so long as users make the source freely available to others. This has created an open global community that “thrives on the free flow and sharing of information” (metac0m 1). Metac0m, the editor of The Hacktivist Magazine tells us “Hackers abhor censorship.......

Words: 1801 - Pages: 8

Civil Disobedience

...Civil Disobedience Civil Disobedience was a common topic between Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. Each of these historic figures had varying views on what should be accepted in the light of civil disobedience. Thoreau felt that there should be a more violent take on what you believed in, while Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. felt that the people should have a peaceful nonviolent protest. The views of these offers vary due to the time period but they are all based on the same idea, civil disobedience. Thoreau, Gandhi, and King Jr. all expressed their views of civil disobedience differently. In Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”, he expressed his own ideas of civil disobedience with his words and actions. He showed his disagreement with the government’s policies by refusing to pay his taxes, and not reacting to how he was treated when he was jailed for the night. He believed that “the government is best which governs least” (Thoreau 392). In saying this he means that he would like to see a government that does not control the people harshly and lets them express their thoughts freely. Hare and Madden believe that civil disobedience should be “directed specifically to exert pressure that is likely to change an unjust situation” (Parker 37). While Thoreau suggests a more forceful approach, Gandhi hopes for a passive approach, Gandhi suggests a more peaceful approach when dealing with civil disobedience. He believes that if the people use force to acquire......

Words: 669 - Pages: 3

Martin Luther King's Civil Disobedience

...else. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” he did not seek to solve all issues through writing, but to give the “white man” a general consensus of the situation and seek their understanding, not only as a civil rights advocate, but as a “Clergyman and Christian Brother.” The African-American community sought to negotiate peacefully with the city fathers, but they refused. The question then arose: Why they did not turn to violent action after the constant failure of nonviolent negotiation? Dr. King understood that, “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue,” otherwise meaning that the only way civil disobedience can be successful is if the oppressor recognizes it as a volatile action against their past actions. If the African American community began using violence as their means of gaining grounds in the civil rights race, the oppressor would have simply turned the violence against them. This can be compared to the Native Americans attempting to stop the government from forcing them away from their land using bows and arrows, while the military had guns and bombs. Regardless of the determination and will power the African Americans possessed, if they had attempted violent action, they would have been crushed. Nonviolent actions alone such as sit-ins, marches, and direct action may or may not be successful, but as long as they did not......

Words: 1139 - Pages: 5

Civil Disobedience

...Civil Disobedience [1] I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — "That government is best which governs least";(1) and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war,(2) the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure. [2]    This American government — what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary...

Words: 4281 - Pages: 18

Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem

...DISOBEDIENCE AS A PSYCHOLOGICAL AND MORAL PROBLEM 2 “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem” Erich Fromm Erich Fromm’s essay “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem” suggests that humankind’s evolution has, and continues to rely on man’s capability to exercise disobedience. While discussing the positions of disobedience being considered a vice, and obedience being a virtue, Fromm reflects upon the history of Adam and Eve believing that “eating the forbidden fruit” was man’s first act of disobedience. This is the point that broke the bond between man and nature requiring man to be dependant upon his own powers, while rewarding him with his “complete” humanity, freedom, and independence. Another example Fromm discusses is the Greek myth of Prometheus’ defiance of the gods. Prometheus proclaimed that he “would rather be chained to this rock than be the obedient servant of the gods.” These are just a couple acts of defiance throughout the course history that have contributed to man’s evolution. Through acts of disobedience, man has continued to evolve spiritually, as well as intellectually. In addition, Fromm goes on to explain that just as disobedience has been the construct for humankind, blind obedience has the power to wipe it out it altogether. Fromm believes that the driving force catapulting man into the position of ultimately destroying all civilization is that, while currently living in the......

Words: 766 - Pages: 4

Disobedience Ayn Ran Erich Fromm

...Fromm’s essay ”Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem,” he discusses and compares the impact of human obedience and disobedience to ones self and to human society. While discussing both obedience and disobedience, Fromm opens his essay with “For centuries, kings, priests, feudal lords, industrial bosses, and parents have insisted that obedience is a virtue and that disobedience is a vice.” Immediately after this statement, he gives strong points of views opposing the statement of disobedience being a vice. In the “Anthem,” Ayn Rand tells a story about a place in unspecified future period, where people no longer have their own individual rights, and collectivism is leading the entire society. It's a dystopian sci-fi novella set in the future when mankind has entered another dark age as a result of the evils of society. She introduces a boy named Equality 7-2521 who is disobedient to the Council of Vocations and experiences self-growth and freedom. Disobedience is an act of courage, necessary for the individual to fight against the unreasonable demands of authority. Fromm writes, “Human history began with an act of disobedience, and it is not unlikely that it will be, terminated by an act of obedience,” supporting his statement that obedience might as well “cause the end of human history.” He uses religious and mythological figures to demonstrate disobedience being the foundation to human progression. “Human history was ushered in by an act of disobedience......

Words: 893 - Pages: 4

The Bhagavad- Gita: Influence on Civil Disobedience Advocates

...Ivyanne London Dr. Bryan English 2010 7 December 2012 The Bhagavad- Gita: Influence on Civil Disobedience Advocates Civil disobedience can be described as the nonviolent means of bringing about social change. The Bhagavad- Gita is a philosophical poem that attempts to ask difficult questions of universal issues that deal with the topic of civil disobedience. The messages that are told throughout the poem have had major influences on civil disobedience advocates such as Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. This work offers explanations that can be applied to dilemmas that can’t be resolved with a simple form of action. According to the Theosophical Society of America, The Bhagavad- Gita, commonly known as the “Gita” has been passed back and forth between America and India through these civil disobedience activists. They each had influences on each other along with the Gita. Some reoccurring themes that may have influenced Thoreau, Gandhi, and King include questions about the right way to live, seeking higher knowledge, and how no action is still a form of action. The version of The Bhagavad- Gita that is told in The Norton Anthology of World Literature, 3rd edition, begins with the moment of crisis in Arjuna’s mind. Arjuna is the middle son of his five brothers who are apart of the Pandavas. He is apart of the warrior caste and is the most skilled and feared archer of his time. They are about to engage in war with their cousins, the Kauravas,......

Words: 1781 - Pages: 8

Civil Disobedience

...Neguisa Sheikhpour Civil Disobedience In his essay, “Civil Disobedience,” Henry David Thoreau discusses the injustice of the government and how it wrongfully forces people to do its will. Thoreau believes “that government is best which governs not at all,” but he also acknowledges that government serves a purpose. He writes, “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation I which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.” Thoreau realizes that society is not ready to live free government control but he sees that people are blindly obeying authority without listening to their conscience. It is not enough for one to have the right opinion, one must take action against what they consciously believe is wrong. According to Thoreau, there are three ways to deal with unjust laws: ignore our own opinions and obey the laws, obey the laws while trying to change them, or break the laws and accept the consequences. Thoreau admits that it is not practical for everyone to fight the government but he asks those people “at least, to wash his hands of and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give is practically his support.” There is no problem with respecting the law, but when the law is so wrong and so unjust, people have a duty and obligation to make it right. Some would say that Thoreau is an anarchist because of his reference to a “government that is best which governs not at all,” but......

Words: 346 - Pages: 2

Civil Disobedience

...In Antigone, Sophocles presents a perfect example of civil disobedience. Antigone does what she feels she morally needs to do, no matter the consequences that she will be faced with afterwards. She disobeys the laws of state in order to be true to herself. Fate deals Antigone a bad hand, but she is able to stand up for what she believes in and give her brother what she feels that he rightly deserves. After Antigone’s brothers kill each other fighting over the power to rule, Creon becomes the new ruler. He sees Polynices as a traitor because Polynices brought in troops to attack Thebes. Creon does not feel he deserves a proper religious burial; He forbids anyone to burying Polynices. Creon thinks his body should just rot instead. Burial was very important in this time because they believed a proper burial was essential for afterlife. Antigone thinks her brother deserves to be buried and she will not let anything stop her from giving Polynices a proper burial. Antigone is following her moral compass and disregarding Creon’s opinions on the matter. It is important that Antigone was a hero and stood up for what she believed. Civil disobedience is doing what is morally justified even if it does break laws of the state. Civil disobedience is necessary for change to occur. Without people, or heroes, like Antigone, government or even life would never improve. Some rules are meant to be broken. Government is meant to be for the people, but sometimes laws can only......

Words: 491 - Pages: 2

Civil Disobedience

...crossing lines and getting in trouble, but can also be one the most effective way to get noticed. If an opinion is not being noticed, citizens can make it a priority to be heard because without a voice there can be no guidelines. In government, boundaries are needed to lead its citizens towards a righteous path; however, if a citizen leans toward another path of righteousness a voice is needed to be heard. Citizens should not be lurking in the shadows and keeping an opinion bottled up to never be heard. If an idea or belief gets shot down, a citizen can try again to make their idea noticed. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses civil disobedience in “ Letter from Birmingham Jail,” as “ Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (173). Although civil disobedience can alter life drastically, it does not mean to continue on the path of insanity, but to stand up for what you believe is just. While standing up for justice is admirable, however, it is not always easy. In Iran, the government can take disciplinary action towards its citizens striking fear and panic into their souls. In the book The Complete Persepolis written by Marjane Satrapi, in which she discusses a hectic life in Iran. In chapter fourteen “The Wine,” Satrapi discusses how the government takes disciplinary action towards the citizens who chose to rebel by having a party. The citizens found at the party are......

Words: 924 - Pages: 4

Civil Disobedience in Gotham City

...Batman’s Civil Disobedience in Gotham city Hugo A. Sanchez English 102 10/24/14 Abstract In this paper, I argue that the film and comic Batman the Dark Knight Returns, can be compared to Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience in the way that Batman disobeys the law by returning back to Gotham city and fighting crime. I also show that Batman displays civil disobedience when he does his best to protect Gotham city and fight the government, promising to never give up. I show that, much like Thoreau, Batman is solitary and engages in his own war by himself against the police department, criminals, and army. Just as Thoreau willingly goes to jail for his beliefs about the Mexican War, Batman fights for what he believes to be right, not only for him, but for the people of Gotham city. Batman’s Civil Disobedience in Gotham City When corruption arises, there is always a person who questions the injustice. Acts of civil disobedience are shown in modern society today, whether in society or through the media. Many individuals who are portrayed as heroes are people who break the law and fight for the power and authority that the citizens have lost due to their rights being taken away. A person must be able to accept the outcomes and consequences of their own actions when they disobey. Being civilly disobedient is not only about breaking a law. The actions of these individuals spread ideas. In the end, the outcome of the struggle may involve a change in a law like the way......

Words: 2529 - Pages: 11

Psychoanalytical Essay on Civil Disobedience

...In Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, his argument is “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.” Revolutionary writing characteristics would be finding a voice of your own and being independent. Some evidence of that in this quote would be that the quote is saying to be independent and do what you believe is right and screw the law. Even though the Stamp Act was the law it wasn’t right so the people of Boston had a Revolutionary idea to fight back. That was what gave our independence. We followed what we believed was right and started a revolution with it. Romantic writing was started when there was this shift from faith in reason to faith in feelings, senses, and imagination. It was about being free and trusting your instinct. Like in Moulin Rouge, the main character wanted to be a writer so he followed his gut, moved to France, and believed in love to inspire his righting. Evidence of Romantic writing characteristics in the quote would be that you follow your gut and do what you have faith in as right. The law was reason. Following what you believed as right instead was the shift. Transcendental writing was belief in nature, less need for objects, more focus on the inner self, and self-reliance. Transcendentalism was the belief that knowledge could be derived not just trust through the senses, but through intuition and contemplation of the......

Words: 505 - Pages: 3

En 209 Civil Disobedience Critical Essay

...Lloyd Wyse Melissa Hull EN 209-014 April 18, 2012 Critical Essay: Civil Disobedience Civil disobedience is the active refusal to comply with certain laws or demands of a government, such as paying fines or taxes. Although it is not necessarily on-violent, it has classically been attributed to nonviolent resistance. The etymological origin of the term is from Henry David Thoreau’s essay Resistance to Government, written in 1849, which was eventually renamed to Essay on Civil Disobedience. Since its republication in 1866, Thoreau’s essay has inspired many important activists over the course of history. Its messages have resonated within countless people unsatisfied or disgusted with the law of the land; one of the most prominent lessons it teaches is that an unjust government can only be corrected by the defiance of its people. As long as there is an imperfect government, there will be a need for civil disobedience. Citizens of nations from all over the globe still read and learn from Civil Disobedience because even in modern times a perfect government does not exist. In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau prompts the reader to take direct action against injustice. He argues that the government is a representative of corruption and injustice that, like a machine, fuels the enabling of its wrongdoings through enforcement of law. He states that an individual’s silent compliance with the law is essentially the same as cooperation with injustices that the lawmaker commits. In......

Words: 1563 - Pages: 7

Obey or Disobedience

...AMO Obey Or Disobedience ROUGH DRAFT In the story by Fromm, his outlook on obedience and disobedience is that we have the ability to obey but the capacity to disobey is something that society has influenced us to do naturally. Obedience and disobedience has always been part of a never ending cycle that is consistently going round and round. Throughout history it has been evident that soldier’s obey their commander’s, that knights uphold the ruling of their king, and that their disobedience is about the shifting of power. So, too, is our nation being part of that cycle and repeating history. Our nation’s soldiers obey orders given by the President. Whether they are right or wrong it is an order they obeyed countless of times. Society may never understand or have a clue of what is going on behind the scene, but society has an imagination of what a soldier should be, obedient. Back in the 1960s when Vietnam War was going on and the draft was implemented, it was difficult for some to adapt to the idea of going to war. Society has never understood why it is different to sign up for the Armed Forces than to be drafted into the Armed Forces. For someone that is volunteering their life for the nation is something they do by choice. They have a firm belief that is what is what they are meant to do for the good of mankind. They are willing to give up their freedom to become defenders and they are the ones that use it wisely. With those that were drafted they......

Words: 877 - Pages: 4