This could be the wrong place for this thread but I'm not sure because it has a political aswell as a cultural aspect.

I guess that two of my favourite authors are Erich Fromm and George Orwell, however, they seem to have a couple of major differences of opinion and I'm trying to work out which makes the most sense of if they can be reconciled, I hope that some of you will want to discuss this too.

Anyway, Orwell lived in a kind of horror of totalitarian ideology and believed that triviality or the everyday and mundane was a good thing, he wrote an essay to the common toad, often the most significant things in his books are overlooked by those who read or analyse them and he wrote about too (one of his greatest biographers wroter about it too). For instance when the animals in animal farm gather the apples and the pigs take them and some of the animals say "I thought we were going to share them", that's a pivotal point, as important or more important than the more systemic revision of the values written up on the wall and betrayal. In 1984 Winston buys a snow globe, precisely because it is a pointless thing, and it is deliberately smashed by the thought police when they make their arrest for the same reason.

In his political manifesto Lion and The Unicorn Orwell heaps praise upon english people having hobbies, valuing privacy and family life, he considers these qualities which will make socialism without totalitarianism possible. Its precisely because there is this triviality which is a protected sphere which is important. I've always wondered about because elsewhere he wrote about how creeping fascism or totalitariansim would come in the guise of the familiar, including the lion and the unicorn rather than a swastika, so he could either be sincere in the advocacy of socialism or testing that thesis. Then again he has promoted socialism elsewhere in other books very unambiguously but that's not at stake right now, he seems to think the trivial is important and good.

On the other hand Fromm in his book To Have or To Be? Attacks triviality, in conversation no less than any other kind and seems to be the sort of person who'd hate small talk. Now he goes on to explain that there are a lot of reasons for feeling this way, that it feeds a culture in which there isnt to be any concentration, effort, attention, conflict or difficulty. Fromm makes as strong a case against triviality as Orwell does in favour of it. Although not linked overtly to ideology, at least not in this book (Fromm's prescriptions are vaguely socialist and sometimes contradictory by his own analysis I think, ie recommending elite cultural guidance by some kind of board of guardians while criticising when this exists already to preserve the status quo). It is in order to serve a greater humanism that triviality should be put aside.

Although Orwell's point is that triviality serves this greater humanism too.

So I'm undecided about this, what are your thougths about it?