Psychoanalysis & Zen Buddhism by Erich Fromm

by stephenpalmersf

The beauty of this book is exactly the opposite of what a reader might expect. It would seem from the title to be esoteric, even part unintelligible to the average reader, but in fact it’s a beautifully concise exposition of Erich Fromm’s core understanding of the human condition. He opens with a survey of psychoanalysis, relates it to Freud’s work and to his own, describes his core understanding of what he calls ‘social man’ and ‘universal man,’ delves into the three types of social filter which act upon our conscious minds, then compares and contrasts his version of psychoanalysis with Zen Buddhism. It’s a triumph of lucid exposition.

I remember buying this many years ago with another of his works, thinking that this would be the less interesting of the two. In fact, that position was soon reversed. This deserves to be a classic text.