R.D. Laing: Self and Others (1961)

January 24, 2015 § 1 Comment

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Laing’s second book, Self and Others (1961) was described as a sequel to The Divided Self. But The Divided Self focused on “internal” developments, or the inner cleavages and conflicts that accompany schizoid and psychotic behavior. By contrast, Self and Others focused on the environmental conditions and patterns of communication that engender this kind of inner turmoil and confusion. Another difference worth noting is that in The Divided Self, Laing used the term “ontological security” to describe what most of his contemporaries called “normality”. In other words, Laing’s first account of normality was prescriptive, because it posited the existence of certain traits that define mental health regardless of the person’s social circumstances. Thus, said Laing, the ontologically secure person identifies with his or her body, and when circumstances permit, is sure enough of his own identity to engage in authentic self-disclosure without suffering from fear of annihilation. Following Buber, Laing also described the “normal”, or non-schizoid person as someone who oscillates naturally between solitude and sociability, the two poles of human existence, without experiencing panic or despair, or desperately clinging to one or the other.

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C.G. Jung: The Undiscovered Self (1957)

November 12, 2014 § 3 Comments

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Do you hate being treated as an object in the organisational systems of bureaucrats and politicians? Does the hard sell of today’s mass consumerism repel you? Are you less than enthusiastic for the wonders of technology? Are you deeply suspicious of globalisation and all that attends it? Are you worried about the future of humanity on this ravaged planet? In this path-breaking text, C.G. Jung sets out in the clearest possible terms what one has to do, as an individual, to stand up to these trends in contemporary society. —Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex

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