The Pequod Review:
Man for Himself continues the themes of Erich Fromm's earlier book Escape from Freedom (1941), as he explores the psychology of ethics and especially the lack of purpose or moral direction that pervades modern life. Throughout the book, Fromm has wonderfully sharp observations:
There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as "moral indignation," which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.
Today the lack of faith is an expression of profound confusion and despair. Once skepticism and rationalism were progressive forces for the development of thought; now they have become rationalizations for relativism and uncertainty.
The failure of modern culture lies not in its principle of individualism, not in the idea that moral virtue is the same as the pursuit of self-interest, but in the deterioration of the meaning of self-interest; not in the fact that people are too much concerned with their self-interest, but that they are not concerned enough with the interest of their real self; not in the fact that they are too selfish, but that they do not love themselves.
While it is virtually forgotten today, this is in many ways a superior book to Escape from Freedom.