Throughout his scientific work, Erich Fromm pursued the twin goal of uncovering the social unconscious of the individual as well as the unconscious of social entities. As Fromm wrote in 1936, "The problem within psychology and sociology is the dialectic intertwining of natural and historical factors. Freud has wrongly based psychology totally on natural factors."
On these themes, the present book consists of four dynamic sections:
- (1) Man's Impulse Structure and Its Relation to Culture
- (2) Psychic Needs and Society (1956 lecture)
- (3) Dealing with the Unconscious (1959 lecture), and
- (4) The Relevance of Psychoanalysis for the Future (1975 lecture)
It is an intensive understanding of psychoanalytic theory, relating Freudian insights and practices to the needs of society; dealing with the unconscious in psychotherapeutic practice; and considering the relevance of Freud's discoveries for therapy today.