Day 325 Simply Sunday – Erich Fromm

This post was inspired by an episode of CSI Las Vegas while the excerpt below is borrowed from

To Have or To Be (1976) was Erich Fromm’s last major work. In it he argues that two ways of existence were competing for ‘the spirit of mankind’ – having and being. The having mode looks to things and material possessions and is based on aggression and greed. The being mode is rooted in love and is concerned with shared experience and productive activity. The dominance of the having mode (as he argued in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness) was bringing the world to the edge of disaster (ecological, social and psychological). Erich Fromm argued that only a fundamental change in human character ‘from a preponderance of the having mode to a preponderance of the being mode of existence can save us from a psychological and economic catastrophe’ (1976: 165) and set out some ways forward.

In the light of the recent world financial crisis you have to think he wasn’t far off the mark with his prediction. All I can say is stop having and start being as it is a far better state to live in.


More sports memorabilia that has been hidden away in a box in the top of a wardrobe somewhere out of sight our of mind.

Sport Souvenirs

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. Hubby made the bed
  2. Finding the giddy up to finally wash the car and do the ironing.
  3. International food – My family love variety and so do I
  4. Beautiful spring weather – I know I have mentioned this more than once but it us usually hot as Hades by now but it is just nice a I am loving it.
  5. Liam is getting back into his old life – It’s as scary as hell for me but I have to be brave and trusting.

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Did Liam get back on his bike?? or rather a new bike, since his was mangled beyond repair?

    Being is really so much more fun than having!

    • Hi Willow,
      no Liam is not allowed near a bike of any kind for at least two months yet. Then the Brain Injury Clinic will test his balance and decision making skills before unleashing him into the real world. Then I will have to face the scary possibility of him getting his motorcycle licence back. His licence will be suspended due to the brain injury until they feel his is OK to be tested for capability in that area. Of course he is chomping at the bit but is realistic about all the precautions. There is always the risk even if he is OK to ride that another freak accident could happen and he just can’t afford another hit to the head right now. Brains are amazing things but the heal slowly.

      Being alive it a bit more important than having a bike at the moment. 🙂

  2. I’m SO, so glad everything is turning out for you and your family! Haven’t checked out the e-book (go you!) yet – but I will – as I’m trying not to go on the computer on the weekends!

    • Hi Loretta,
      Thank you, Liam is doing very well indeed. It is going to be hard to hold him down for long but his brain will need at least 12 months to mend properly and he needs to be very careful between now and then.

      Good for you staying away from the computer on the weekends. I seem to spend half my life on mine lately, naughty me!

  3. A friend at work, who’s partner is a psychologist, was talking to me about the idea that there are collectors and doers. Maybe this concept is based on Erich Fromm’s work. Collectors are people who are constantly striving to achieve something, whether it is a qualification or a new job etc, they think they will be happy when …. Doers are people who live in the moment and are happy now.

    Up until now I have certainly been a collector, but when I turned 40 recently, it made me think that I’ve got my whole life strategy wrong. By 40, under collector thinking, you should be a “success”, a high flying senior position at work, a house in the right neighbourhood, a fancy car, kids at private school … I have none of that. But when I look at people I grew up with, I doing pretty well. The problem with being a collector, is that you are constantly focused on what you don’t have – which, when you think about it, probably is the sole cause of unhappiness.

    I think I’m still only at “recovering collector” stage, but I agree whole-heartedly – you gotta stop having and start being.

    P.S. So glad to hear that Liam is recovering so well.

    • Hi Isabella,
      I couldn’t have said that better myself I think you hit the nail right on the head there.
      I think I am a “recovering collector” too. I have certainly learned to do without the material things and I don’t give a hoot about what other people have that I don’t. I still feel that I haven’t really achieved any sort of true potential in my professional life though. In fact I don’t even have a professional life at the moment but I must admit I don’t miss it either.