A possible page error in the original quotation I received brings this further clarification on Fromm, despite my “last foray” comment.
When I checked the page reference in my paperback copy of Fromm’s The Sane Society, it comes from the concluding passage in the last chapter, on pp. 305-306, not on p. 352 as the original email I received indicated.
But the quotation is correct.
By the way, I can’t take credit for finding this quotation. As mentioned, it was forwarded to me by Carol Rutstein and Rob Stockman. I don’t know where it all started. If I once read it in Fromm, I had forgotten it.
I realize that Ismael’s report based on Hugh McKinley’s assertion does not amount to “proof” as the notion exists, say, in the exact sciences or in historiography. So the sceptical “it’s all speculation” comment is perfectly justified. We know from David Piff’s book, Baha’i Lore, that some Baha’i hearsay is accurate; other hearsay is pure invention.
I know that from personal experience. I heard the most bizarre stories about how Dizzy Gillespie had become a Baha’i, but it wasn’t until I sat down with Bethy McKenty, who taught John Birks the Faith, that I realized everything I had heard was nonsense. But even documentary evidence can be fabricated, and all documents have point of view, which is a type of bias.
But the textual parallels are just too similar—to my mind at least—to be coincidental. I am obviously not attempting to impose a viewpoint, which usually proves futile in any case, unless one is predisposed to accepting it. In a court of law, there are possibilities, plausibilities and probabilities. There the jury decides based on the evidence. If we apply the legal criterion , “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” then Mr. McKinley’s assertion would not pass. If we found documentary evidence from either Eric Fromm or Hugh McKinley, that would be a different story.
In “the court of scholarship” one makes an argument and it is either accepted or rejected. I frankly don’t know what the consensus is on this one.