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Non-reaction is a language that everyone understands. It communicates to the offender and causes him to be upset with the upset that he intended for you.

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The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis.

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In early psychoanalytic thought, narcissism was – and still, of course, is – self-love. The early psychoanalysts used to talk of libido directed at the self. That now feels a little quaint, that kind of language. But it does include the most fierce and self-displaying form of one’s individual self. And in this way, it can be dangerous. When you look at Donald Trump, you can really see someone who’s destructive to any form of life enhancement in virtually every area. And if that’s what Fromm means by malignant narcissism, then it definitely applies.

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Not only are animals unable to avail themselves of language to assert their own rights, but many fewer humans have a clear sense of kinship with animals than have a clear sense of kinship with other humans. Among beings with subjective states of awareness, animals are the untouchable caste, those whom human others would rather not acknowledge, let alone render assistance.