flatness and indifference

The announcement of the bombing of a city and the death of hundreds of people is shamelessly followed or interrupted by an advertisement for soap or wine. The same speaker with the same suggestive, ingratiating and authoritative voice, which he has just used to impress you with the seriousness of the political situation, impresses now upon his audience the merits of the particular brand of soap, which pays for the news broadcast.

Newsreels let pictures of torpedoed ships be followed by those of a fashion show . . . . Because of all this we cease to be genuinely related to what we hear . . . . our emotions and our critical judgement become hampered, and eventually our attitude to what is going on in the world assumes a quality of flatness and indifference.

In the name of “freedom” life loses all its structure; it is composed of many little pieces, each separate from the other and lacking any sense as a whole.

Fromm, Erich. Escape from Freedom. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1941. 250–251. Print.


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