Ego or I; I or Ego

The alienated person looks at himself as he would look at an outsider: I have an image of myself. I don’t have to stress here whether our image is right or wrong, but that we see ourselves as a package and from the outside. When we think „I,“ we really experience ourselves as we experience another person, although we shouldn’t experience another person that way either. (…) This ego concept is an alienated concept of the image I have of myself as a thing (…).

The concept of self, as I see it, is the experience of my self as „I“ in the process of being the subject of my action. By „action“ I don’t mean primarily that I do this or that, but in the process of being the subject of my human experience. I feel, I think, I taste, I hear, I love. And there are many more things, which are all the range, all the expression of human faculties. If I am not synthetic, but the authentic subject of my activities, then indeed, I experience myself in the moment of being active as the one who acts. But I do not experience myself as the ego. ― (1992g [1959]: Dealing with the Unconscious in Psychotherapeutic Practice, in: E. Fromm, Beyond Freud: From Individual to Social Psychoanalysis, New York (American Mental Health Foundation) 2010, pp. 96f.)