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Love or power — these are the opposing poles of a choice every child is compelled to make, very early in its life, in a drama that sets it irrevocably on its path through life. This startling new insight into a formative experience fundamental to our development is the subject of Dr. Arno Gruen’s pathbreaking contribution to the psychoanalytic view of the human soul, and what distorts it into pathology.Look for this book at your local library, or g et m ore info about this book plus purchase links to many countries at Global-Find-A-Book .
(Full disclosure: Dennis Rivers, MA, the editor of this web site, is also the publisher of the English edition of The Betrayal of the Self in the United States, through his firm, Human Development Books of Berkeley, CA.)
The Insanity of Normality: Toward Understanding Human Destructiveness
one of the most insightful books ever written about violence is now available in a paperback reprint of the 1992 edition.
In The Insanity of Normality , the psychoanalyst Arno Gruen challenges the assumption, made popular by Freud in the twentieth century, that humans are born with an innate tendency to destruction and violence. Gruen argues instead that at the root of evil lies self-hatred, a rage originating in a self-betrayal that begins in childhood, when autonomy is surrendered in exchange for the “love” of those who wield power over us. To share in that subjugating power, we create a false self, a pleasing-to-others image of ourselves that springs from powerful and deep-seated hopes of being loved and fears of being injured and humiliated.
Gruen traces this pattern of over-adaptation and smoldering rebellion through a number of case studies, sociological phenomena – from Nazism to Reaganomics – and literary works. The insanity this attitude produces, unfortunately, goes widely unrecognized precisely because it is the same cold, manipulative “realism” that modern society inculcates into its members. Gruen warns, however, that escape from this pattern lies not simply in rebellion, for the rebel remains emotionally tied to the object of his rebellion, but in the development of a personal autonomy. His elegant and far-reaching conclusion is that while autonomy is not easily attained, its absence proves catastrophic to both individual and society.
“With compassion and conviction Dr. Gruen carefully exposes the undiagnosed and undisclosed insanity unwittingly accepted as normality… This is a text for leaders and followers, for conformists and rebels alike, for members of the healing professions who seek to repair the destructive fallout from our pursuit of normality and for all who strive for a more compassionate and saner social order.” –Montague Ullman, M.D.
Look for this book at your local library, or g et m ore info about this book plus purchase links to many countries at Global-Find-A-Book .
(Full disclosure: Dennis Rivers, MA, the editor of this web site, is also the publisher of the English edition of The Insanity of Normality in the United States, through his firm, Human Development Books of Berkeley, CA.)
Preventing Violence — Prospects for Tomorrow , by James Gilligan. (NewYork: Thames and Hudson. 2001.)In this controversial and compassionate book, the distinguished psychiatrist James Gilligan proposes a radically new way of thinking about violence and how to prevent it. Violence is most often addressed in moral and legal terms: “How evil is this action, and how much punishment does it deserve?” Unfortunately, this way of thinking, the basis for our legal and political institutions, does nothing to shed light on the causes of violence. Violent criminals have been Gilligan’s teachers, and he has been their student. Prisons are microcosms of the societies in which they exist, and by examining them in detail, we can learn about society as a whole. Gilligan suggests treating violence as a public health problem. He advocates initiating radical social and economic change to attack the root causes of violence, focusing on those at increased risk of becoming violent, and dealing with those who are already violent as if they were in quarantine rather than in constraint for their punishment and for society’s revenge. The twentieth century was steeped in violence. If we attempt to understand the violence of individuals, we may come to prevent the collective violence that threatens our future far more than all the individual crimes put together. (Price: appx. $15.00. ISBN: 039575531X. Look for this book at your local library, or g et m ore info about this book plus purchase links to many countries at Global-Find-A-Book .
Drawing on firsthand experience as a prison psychiatrist, his own family history, and literature, Gilligan unveils the motives of men who commit horrifying crimes, men who will not only kill others but destroy themselves rather than suffer a loss of self-respect. With devastating clarity, Gilligan traces the role that shame plays in the etiology of murder and explains why our present penal system only exacerbates it. Brilliantly argued, harrowing in its portraits of the walking dead, Violence should be read by anyone concerned with this national epidemic and its widespread consequences. “Extraordinary. Gilligan’s recommendations concerning what does work to prevent violence…are extremely convincing…A wise and careful, enormously instructive book.”–Owen Renik, M.D., editor, Psychoanalytic Quarterly Look for this book at your local library, or g et m ore info about this book plus purchase links to many countries at Global-Find-A-Book .