The Only Certainty That Exists; Erich Fromm

Metaphorcast 8/2-8, 2021

Listen to this episode here

Have you ever thought about to what extent your doubts color your attitude towards life?  Or for that matter your faith?  

In his book Man For Himself, psychologist Erich Fromm makes a distinction between different kinds of doubt and faith: the rational kind and the irrational kind.

Irrational doubt iis tied to an uneasy feeling that “nothing is certain.”  For some it is an attitude of indifference, for others it is more compulsive.  Rational doubt on the other hand is how children learn to think for themselves, and how adults go on to further develop their personality.

Rational doubt is essential to modern thought, and all the discoveries that have contributed to what we know now.

Irrational faith, he says, is “rooted in the submission to a power”.  This type of faith has made a muck of many things, from witch hunts to the Inquisition.  It is easy to see why this is not a good idea.

Perhaps less easy, however, is to see the value of embracing a “rational faith”; a faith that is rooted in one’s own experience and in “the confidence of one’s own power of thought, judgement and observation.”    

Whereas irrational doubt gives a vague sense of nothing being certain, and irrational faith strips one’s power away, rational faith restores power by providing the only certainty that exists. 

Any guesses for what you think Fromm’s definition of “the only certainty that exists” is?

Remember this certainty is based on the powers that come from within, and a dedication to rationality.

Ok so here it is:  the only certainty that exists is the certainty growing from productive activity.

For Fromm, the basis of rational faith is productiveness, and to live by faith is to live productively.  In this way, we connect to our true powers and find certainty.

These are real powers; powers of reason, love, strength and potential.  In embracing meaningful and productive activity you can count on the certainty of your own growth, the certainty of your own powers.  There’s no denying them just as there is no denying the productive activity of an apple tree making apples.  

Henry Miller said that “the goal of life is not to possess power but to radiate it.”

Happy radiant Leo Season and remember: when in doubt, stay productive to revive your faith and keep in touch with the certainty of your own powers.

As always, 

Happy astro pondering!

https://www.happyastropondering.com/

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