By alienation is meant a mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his world, as the creator of his own acts – but his acts and their consequences have become his masters, whom he obeys, or whom he may even worship. The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, are experienced as things are experienced; with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the world outside productively. ― (1955a: The Sane Society, New York (Rinehart and Winston, Inc.) 1955, pp. 120f.)

To describe the mechanism of alienation in psychological terms one can say: By alienation I project an experience, which potentially is in me, to an object over there. I alienate myself from my own human experience and project this experience on something or somebody outside, and then try to get in touch with my own human being, by being in touch with the object to which I have projected my humanity. That holds for alienation and idolatry. The two terms refer exactly to the same phenomenon. The one term is used by Hegel and Marx and the other is used by the prophets of the Old Testament. ― (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, p. 90.)

The alienation of language shows the whole complexity of alienation. Language is one of the most precious human achievements; to avoid alienation by not speaking would be foolish – yet one must be always aware of the danger of the spoken word, that it threatens to substitute itself for the living experience. The same holds true for all other achievements of man; ideas, art, any kind of man-made objects. They are man’s creations; they are valuable aids for life, yet each one of them is also a trap, a temptation to confuse life with things, experience with artifacts, feeling with surrender and submission. ― (1961b: Marx’s Concept of Man. With a Translation of Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts by T.B. Bottomore, New York (F. Ungar Publisher Co.) 1961, pp. 45f.)