According to the prophets of the Old Testament, the essential point is that the idolator is a person who prays to the product of his own hands. He takes a piece of wood. With one part, he buds himself a fire in order, for example, to bake a cake; with the other part of the wood, he carves a figure in order to pray to it. Yet what he prays to are merely things. These „things“ have a nose and do not smell, they have ears and do not hear, and they have a mouth and do not speak. ― (1992 [1961]: Modern Man and the Future, in: E. Fromm, On Being Human, New York (Continuum) 1994, pp. 23f.)

Freuds discovery of the phenomenon of transference had much wider implications than he himself (…) could see. In discovering transference he discovered a special case of one of the most powerful strivings in man, that of idolatry (alienation). It is striving that is rooted in the ambiguity of man’s existence and that has the aim of finding an answer to the uncertainty of life by trans-forming a person, an institution, an idea into an absolute, i.e., into an idol by the submission to which the illusion of certainty is created. It is hardly possible to overestimate the psychological and social significance of idolatry in the course of history, that great illusion which hobbles activity and independence. ― (1989a [1974-75]: The Art of Being, New York (Continuum) 1993, p. 61.)