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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Human Needs: Relatedness

    I've always liked Erich Fromm's definition of human needs, also his definition of neurosis as what arises when needs are blocked and people seek their satisfaction in a way that isnt working out for them.

    http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/fromm.html

    I've probably linked this page before but it gives a good summary of Fromm's conceptualisation of human needs towards its finish. Anyway, I'd like to discuss the need for relatedness in this thread, I might post threads about the other needs if it proves popular.

    1. Relatedness

    As human beings, we are aware of our separateness from each other, and seek to overcome it. Fromm calls this our need for relatedness, and views it as love in the broadest sense. Love, he says, "is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self." (p 37 of The Sane Society). It allows us to transcend our separateness without denying us our uniqueness.

    The need is so powerful that sometimes we seek it in unhealthy ways. For example, some seek to eliminate their isolation by submitting themselves to another person, to a group, or to their conception of a God. Others look to eliminate their isolation by dominating others. Either way, these are not satisfying: Your separateness is not overcome.

    Another way some attempt to overcome this need is by denying it. The opposite of relatedness is what Fromm calls narcissism. Narcissism -- the love of self -- is natural in infants, in that they don't perceive themselves as separate from the world and others to begin with. But in adults, it is a source of pathology. Like the schizophrenic, the narcissist has only one reality: the world of his own thoughts, feelings, and needs. His world becomes what he wants it to be, and he loses contact with reality.
    I think this IS convincing.

    I think that it is similar to Karen Horney's theorising of neurotic trends, including moving away (withdrawal), moving towards (obssessiveness) and moving against (aggression/domination) others, steming from basic anxiety which has developed from growing up with hostility in their homelife. It is also like Bowlby's theorising of attachment and the development of an attachment style based upon the earliest relationship with carers.

    A lot of trolling behaviour and other assholery I think reflects frustrated or failed attempts at relatedness and relating. The bookstores are packed with advice on how to better relate to others and the PUA books are a funny combination of advice for peopel who could fit into either healthy or unhealthy relatedness camps.

    What are your views about this human needs do you think it is valid and do you think these or any other theorising of it are valid?

  2. #2
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Default

    As human beings, we are aware of our separateness from each other, and seek to overcome it. Fromm calls this our need for relatedness, and views it as love in the broadest sense. Love, he says, "is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self." (p 37 of The Sane Society). It allows us to transcend our separateness without denying us our uniqueness.
    I stumble over the words reading material like this. What is meant by "union with somebody"? What is the nature of this union - a relationship? a specific kind of relationship? agreement on common goals?

    Generalization about something fundamental like human needs needs to be made with a great deal of care, and interpreted with many grains of salt. If humans do have a need to overcome their separateness from each other, they experience it in varying degrees, and can satisfy it in a variety of healthy ways. Such a generalization, therefore, seems quite limited in utility.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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