Transcendence

Like other animals, humans are thrown into the world without their consent or will and then removed from it—again without then consent or will. But unlike other animals, human bemgs are driven by the need for transcendence, defined as the urge to rise above a passive and accidental existence and mto "the reahn of pur-posefulness and freedom" (Fromm, 1981, p. 4). Just as relatedness can be pursued through either productive or nonproductive methods, transcendence can be sought through either positive or negative approaches. People can transcend their passive nature by either creatmg life or by destroying it. Although other animals can create life through reproduction, only humans are aware of themselves as creators. Also, humans can be creative in other ways. They can create art, religions, ideas, laws, material production, and love.

To create means to be active and to care about that which we create. But we can also transcend life by destroying it and thus rising above our slain victims. In The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Fromm (1973) argued that humans are the only species to use malignant aggression: that is, to kill for reasons other than survival. Although malignant aggression is a dominant and powerful passion hi some individuals and cultures, it is not common to all humans. It apparently was unknown to many prehistoric societies as well as some contemporary "primitive" societies.

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