Predatory Things of the Century

Dr. Michael LaitmanOpinion (from Psyfactor): “‘Prophets of the Old Testament called those people who worshiped objects and things that they made with their own hands “the idolaters.” Their “gods” were things made of wood or stone.

‘The meaning of idol worshipping is in transferring all feelings, the force of love, and power of thought onto external objects. Contemporary people are idolaters. We perceive ourselves only through things we own.’ (Eric Fromm)

“The world of things continues to grow. A human being becomes smaller next to so many objects. Contemporary people define their existence by announcing: “I buy, therefore I am.” Being a “thing,” we confirm that we are alive only because we communicate with other objects.

“Costs of houses, furniture, cars, clothes, watches, computers, TV sets are the basis for the social status of an individual. When people lose a part of their belongings, it’s as if they lose a part of themselves. When they lose everything they have, they are totally lost.

“During economic crises, those who lose a significant part of their property commit suicide; they jump out of skyscrapers’ windows. Their wealth was in fact a substitute for their personality. Committing suicide as a result of financial bankruptcy in such a system of cultural values is very logical. Suicidal acts signify the bankruptcy of a personality, individuality.

“Previously, people also associated themselves with things, but never before did inanimate objects occupy such a high ranking in the system of social recognition as happened during the last decades, when consumption turned into the means of evaluating the status of an individual.

“The program of upbringing of those who subordinate their lives to work began; a new phase was launched – a stage of turning people into ‘consumers.’ The economy needed not only disciplined workers; good, disciplined customers who kept buying new goods as they showed up on the market were extremely essential.

“Advertising of consumer behavior was meant to get rid of the centuries-old traditions of buying only necessary things. Propaganda of a new ideology made people think that happiness was all about a non-stop buying process of new things.

“Consumers stay assured that they are the ones who make a choice of whether or not to buy certain products. However, advertising expenditures frequently reach more than 50% of the cost of goods sold. This fact speaks for itself: figures show how much energy and talent are being contributed to the process of persuading consumers to continue buying.”

Comment: At this time, we evaluate and realize previous developmental stages. as we move away from the current, consumption model of society. It is happening not because we became internally richer and thus don’t need any external signs to demonstrate our significance. Rather, the desire that requires a new type of fulfillment, a realization of the purpose of our existence constantly evolves in us.

Even though affectations on stages and screens push us back, still evolvement of our aspiration to reveal the essence of life is inevitable. It will eventually lead us to acknowledgment and recognition of the wisdom of Kabbalah.


Predatory Things of the Century, a sci-fi story by Soviet writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, written in 1964 and published in the Soviet Union in 1965, and then, after a long break, in 1980. The book has an epigraph : “There is only one problem – the one and only in the world – to return people to spirituality, to spiritual mutual care.”

Erich Fromm Zeligmann (23 March 1900 , Frankfurt on Main  – 18 March 1980, Locarno), German sociologist , philosopher, social psychologist, psychoanalyst, a representative of the Frankfurt School, one of the founders of neo-Freudianism and freydo-Marksizm.

Erich Fromm was born in a family of orthodox Jews. His mother, Rose Fromm, nee Krause, was the daughter of a rabbi, who emigrated from Russia. Father, Erich Fromm Naftali, was also the son and grandson of rabbis, and while engaged in trade, preserved and maintained the family in orthodox religious traditions.

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