North Korean's Fear of Freedom
On watching the huge funeral procession of leader Kim Jong-Il
in Pyongyang, while thousands of people who had gathered on the
snow-bound streets to observe the procession could be heard wailing as
the hearse passed, I suddenly realized that the real problem of North
Korea lies not in its unmonitored nuclear capabilities, but rather in
its people and in their ostensible fear of freedom.
Those Koreans, as they hysterically wept, were not mourning the
leader Kim Jong-Il, but they were shedding real tears and expressing
genuine feelings of insecurity, loneliness and vulnerability.
with such psychological profile could well prove more dangerous than
nuclear warheads, for nuclear weapons could be deactivated or dumped,
but how could we rehabilitate millions who regard the pledge to die for
their semi-god leader, the noblest cause they could live for.
Could freedom turn into a burden that makes some of us choose to relinquish it, and instead lead a life of submission?
“Could freedom turn into a burden that makes some of us choose to relinquish it, and instead lead a life of submission?”
The Fear of Freedom
he world renowned psychologist, sociologist and philosopher, Erich Fromm
sees right to the heart of our contradictory needs for community and
for freedom like no other writer before or since. In his book ‘Fear of Freedom’
Fromm warns that the price of community is indeed high, and it is the
individual who pays.
Fascism and authoritarianism may seem like receding
shadows for some, but are cruel realities for many.
Freedom, argues Fromm, became an important issue in the 20th century,
being seen as something to be fought for and defended. However, it has
not always occupied such a prominent place in people’s thinking and, as
an experience, is not necessarily something that is unambiguously
The psychological reading into Kim Jong-Il’s funeral lament
The basic entity of the social process is the individual, his desires
and fears, his passions and reason, his propensities for good and for
evil. To understand the dynamics of the social process we must
understand the dynamics of the psychological processes operating within
the individual, just as to understand the individual we must see him in
the context of culture that moulds him.
In his book” The Fear of Freedom” Fromm argues that modern man, freed
from the bonds of pre-individualistic society, which simultaneously
gave him security and limited him, has not gained freedom in the
positive sense of the realization of his individual self; that is the
expression of his intellectual, emotional and sensuous potentialities.
Freedom though it has brought him independence and rationality, has
made him isolated and, thereby, anxious and powerless. This isolation is
unbearable and the alternatives he is confronted with are either to
escape from the burden of this freedom into new dependencies and
submission, or to advance to the full realization of positive freedom
which is based upon uniqueness and individuality of man.
Fromm’s book is a diagnosis rather than a prognosis- an analysis rather
than a solution- its results have a bearing on our source of action.