Fromm: Maturity and Mental Health

Erich Fromm, writing about different views on maturity and mental health in his book The Sane Society, has this to say about the popular view in the West:

The concept of “maturity” and “mental health” in this view, corresponds to the desirable attitude of a worker or employee in industry or business. To give one example for this adjustment concept, I take a definition by Dr. Strecker, on emotional maturity. “I define maturity,” he says, “as the ability to stick to a job, the capacity to give more on any job than is asked for, reliability, persistence to carry out a plan regardless of the difficulties, the ability to work with other people under organization and authority, the ability to make decisions, a will to life, flexibility, independence, and tolerance.” It is quite clear that what Strecker here describes as maturity are the virtues of a good worker, employee or soldier in the big social organisations of our time; they are qualities which are usually mentioned in advertisements for a junior executive. To him and many others who think like him, maturity is the same as adjustment to our society, without ever raising the question whether this adjustment is to a healthy or a pathological way of conducting one’s life.

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