The idol is a thing made by man’s hands, yet one before which he bows down as if he were the slave and the work of his hands were the master. When he does so he is not fully alive, because he makes himself the worshipper of a thing, that which is ‘not-life’. Instead of being an open system, with the possibility for an unforeseeable evolution, the idolater makes himself into a closed system, as closed as the image he worships. (…) ― We worship the work of our hands and the circumstances made by us (…).What are these idols? The organization, the state, power, the „future“, unlimited consumption, and even God has been transformed into an idol.― (1968f: The Condition of the American Spirit. Are We Fully Alive?, in: Newsday, Garden City, 13. 1. 1968.)

An idol is the figure to which a person has transferred his own strength and powers. The more powerful the idol grows, the more impoverished the individual himself becomes. Only by being in touch with the idol can he try to be in touch with himself. The idol, the work of his hands and fantasy, stands over and above him; its maker becomes his prisoner. Idolatry, in the sense of the Old Testament prophets, is essentially the same concept as that of „alienation.“ ― (1990f [1969]: The Dialectic Revision of Psychoanalysis, in: E. Fromm, The Revision of Psychoanalysis, Boulder (Westview Press) 1992, p. 42.)