Paper Example. The Three Escape Mechanisms

Published: 2023-03-04
Paper Example. The Three Escape Mechanisms
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories:  Personality Pressure Emotional intelligence
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 584 words
5 min read

Erich Fromm was interested in understanding both the irrational and rational aspects of humans. In his works. Fromm states that man is gifted with reason, and his life is being aware of itself. Individuals have an awareness of themselves and others around them. This awareness brand individuals as separate entities. The more a person acquires freedom, the more he becomes lonely and helpless. Fromm says that the perception of independence is frightening to many people and as such, they adopt behaviors towards escaping from it (Deslandes 2018). He concludes that there are three freedom escape mechanisms, namely; authoritarianism, destructiveness, and automaton conformity. In this paper, I will discuss the three freedom escape mechanisms and describe how one's social class or religion may predispose one to seek comfort in authoritarianism.

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Types of Escape Mechanisms


This is the mechanism of escape where individuals tend to fuse themselves with others by becoming part of their authoritarian system. Individuals may achieve this fusion in two ways; submitting to the authorities of others through becoming compliant and passive, taking influence over others to feel the power. In both methods, individuals escape their separate identities. The significant versions of authoritarianism are masochism and sadism.


In this form, authoritarians respond to a painful existence by eliminating themselves while others respond by striking out to the world. Destructiveness, therefore, results in vandalism, humiliation, crime, and terrorism.

Automaton Conformity

Conformists are built upon the equal relations of equity and use it as an escape mechanism for freedom through hiding in the mass cultures. Conformists blend with society as avoidance to standing out.

How Social Class May Lead to Adoption of Authoritarianism

According to Fromm, family dysfunctions relate to one's choice of the form of escape. Each individual must practice whether to dominate or subject to authority in a society. These families are subject to influence and reflect the society and culture around them. Fromm felt that individuals in the community believe that their way of doing things is the right way. This social unconsciousness could only be examined through economic systems.

An example is a receptive orientation, type of social class, according to the economy. These types of people wait for the world to come to them, believing in getting all they need. They only see good things and satisfactions coming from outside them; they are products of symbiotic families. They are involved with the version of authoritarianism called masochistic. The receptive is not always negative. However, in their moderate form, they are accepting the optimistic.


In conclusion, there are three forms of escape mechanisms, according to Erich Fromm. The human mind is given the ability to differentiate from an individual to the surrounding world. However, this freedom of self-discovery scares people as it results in loneliness and helplessness. Therefore, people adopted escape mechanisms (Deslandes 2018). The first type of arrangement is known as authoritarianism. Authoritarianism occurs as a result of people fusing their identities with others. It is associated with two versions, namely, masochistic and sadism. Authoritarianism is characterized by the submission of an individual to authority or the authorization of an individual to the weaker. The other escape mechanism is known as destructiveness. Destructiveness occurs as a result of the authoritarian eliminating themselves or striking to the world. The final arrangement is automaton conformity, which is characterized by the blending in to social norms out of the fear of standing out.


Deslandes, G. (2018). Book Review: Erich Fromm Escape from freedom: Revisiting Erich Fromm in the light of contemporary authoritarianism.

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