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Sentience: Companion to Reason

: Singer, Ming

Ming Singer’s work is about bridging the current deeply-held divide between sentience and reason. It focuses on the pragmatic role of sentient experience and its unceasing and inseparable interplay with the exercise of reason. Part I of the book deals first with the need for synthesizing the hitherto separate “truth-finding” knowledge traditions: the third-personal scientific-technological, and the first-personal humanistic-wisdom tradition. A conceptual framework for a mind reality is then proposed. Drawing from the unifying natural laws in current physical and biological sciences, the mind reality is portrayed in terms of one interlocking open dynamic system with both a manifested and a covert aspect. In this entire system, each individual mind constantly “co-creates” and “co-evolves” with other collective or group minds at various levels. It is also presumed that the basic unit of interaction in the mind reality is thought or intent. Supporting evidence from psychology, parapsychology and the ancient perennial philosophies is presented. The second part of the book addresses the pragmatic consequences of the proposed mind reality. At the individual level, it is argued that sentient experience can serve the function of guiding, affirming and fostering an individual’s life’s work. A selection of existing first-personal accounts is presented to illustrate this point. At the collective level, the current dominant collective thought of “new capitalism” has the unfortunate consequences for humanity’s sense of freedom, education and morality. Such consequences pertain to the “exteriorization” and the “deconstruction” of the intrinsic self and intrinsic values. To avoid this to happen, a collective effort at changing consciousness becomes necessary: the core task lies with the closure of the reason and sentience divide. Read more…

Before Words

: Benedetto, Antonio

Psychoanalysis has continuously been applied to the exploration of creativity and artistic genius, but up to now, this has not produced its own systematic body of knowledge. The traditional psychoanalytic approach to art is to attempt to decode it, in order to capture its hidden meaning. But in this book, the author explains that it is through the arts, we discover important aspects of ourselves. Antonio Di Benedetto argues for a completely new approach.. By employing analytic receptivity to listen to the aesthetic object and what it has to say, art becomes the interpretative key instead. Furthermore, the author shows how the arts can inspire psychoanalysis, helping it to recover its intuitive and poetic roots and providing forms, images and sounds to best represent fleeting introspective moments and pre-verbal insight. To illustrate these pre-symbolic aspects of introspection, the author examines well-known aesthetic masterpieces; the frescoes of the Loggia of Psyche in Rome, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Six Characters in Search of an Author, by L. Pirandello. Of these, Antonio Di Benedetto considers music to be the artistic form best suited to refine the analyst’s capacity to listen to the affective component of unconscious communication. Read more…

Why Men Hate Women

: Jukes, Adam

What makes a man like John, in every respect a cultured and charming man, successful in his career and liked by his friends and acquaintances, behave violently towards a woman he says he loves? Is he sick? Is he different from other men? Is it, as he says, Jane’s fault? Does she like being beaten? Otherwise why would she go on doing what she knows upsets him? Adam Jukes hopes that by the end of his demanding but gripping book, the reader will be able to answer these questions. Adam Jukes works with men who are abusive and violent to women. In the last five years he has been involved in the London Men’s Centre, which offers dedicated programmes to men who are violent. He began working with abusive men as a psychodynamic psychotherapist, but as his work continued he found that the work of feminists in the refuge movement and in the ‘speaking bitterness’ literature could not be ignored. He integrates these two perspectives in his work. The way in which he presents men in this book will generate distress for those men who experience their masculinity as a burden – for he argues that misogyny, the hatred of women, is an inescapable element in the development of masculinity. But he also shows how the model of misogyny which informs the book is applied to an intervention programme to stop male abusiveness. This is a shocking book. Its thought-provoking view of the issues will be of great interest to mental health professionals and all concerned readers. Read more…

Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud’s French Revolution

: Turkle, Sherry

At the heart of the French psychoanalytic movement of the 60’s was Lacan’s reconstruction of Freudian theory, a ‘reinvention’ of psychoanalysis that resonated with French culture in the aftermath of the uprisings of 1968. The story of why Lacan’s work so profoundly influenced the French psyche is told clearly and unerringly by Sherry Turkle in this groundbreaking work, first published in 1978. Psychoanalytic Politics now contains two illuminating new additions. An extensive preface explains Lacan’s impact on the French by laying out a theory of the conditions for the dissemination and acceptance of a set of philosophical position by a culture. ‘Dynasty 1991′ provides a fascinating portrayal of the last years of Lacan’s life, the intrigue and power struggles that resulted in the break up of the Freudian school he founded and the events that unfolded in the years following his death in 1981. Read more…

Judo with Words

: Berckhan, Barbara

This is a handbook for verbal self-defence. Barbara Berckhan describes the techniques for protecting and defending oneself effectively in challenging communication situations, and how to shorten hostile interchanges, and to stop provocations. It gives constructive alternatives to being tongue-tied and feeling powerles in the face of aggression, teaches how to shorten angry interchanges and how to gracefully exit an argument, how to give a verbal riposte without getting emotionally too involved, and how to build an invisible mental “shield” that serves to protect our integrity. Read more…

Scientification of Love

: Odent, Michel

Until recently love existed in the realm of poets, artists and philosophers. Latterly it has been studies from multiple scientific perspectives. The author argues that the specialist approach has overlooked the importance of love as a potential new strategy for human survival, and that the old survival strategy, the domination of nature and other human groups, is no longer appropriate. By weaving together data from a multitude of disciplines, Michel Odent is able to back up his argument in insightful and exciting ways, making the case for the adoption of radical new strategies for human survival. This revised edition includes two new chapters. Michel Odent is the author of The Farmer and the Obstetrician, also published by Free Association Books and and is more familiarly known as the obstetrician who introduced new birthing concepts which played a significant part in the radical change in attitudes towards maternity and childbirth in recent years. The author of 10 books in 19 languages, Dr Odent continues his research at the Primal Health Centre in London, which he founded. Read more…

Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature

: Haraway, Donna

Donna Haraway analyses accounts, narratives, and stories of the creation of nature, living organisms, and cyborgs (cybernetic components) showing how deeply cultural assumptions penetrate into allegedly value-neutral medical research. Read more…

The Land of Remorse: A Study of Southern Italian Tarantism

: De Martino, Ernesto

The Land of Remorse (La Terra del Rimorso, first Italian edition 1961) is a classic work by Ernesto De Martino, the founding figure of Italian cultural anthropology and ethnopsychiatry. Based on fieldwork conducted in the Salentine peninsula of Southern Italy in 1959, the study deals with the phenomenon of Apulian tarantism, a form of possession related to the belief in the bite of a mythical tarantula and its ritual cure in the tarantella dance. De Martino draws together the contributions of various specialists who participated in the fieldwork, including a psychologist, a psychiatrist, an ethnomusicologist and a social anthropologist. As both an ethnologist and classically-trained religious historian, the author reviews the fieldwork data through the lens of tarantism’s historical analysis. Never losing sight of his own relationship to the subjects of his study, he is able to restore the connection between the “history-less” peasants of the Salentine and the elites who wrote about tarantism in learned treatises from the Middle Ages on. The result is a compassionate and compelling account of tarantism, which no longer appears as mere mental illness or as a “survival” of shamanistic irrationality, but as a product of a cultural history defined from above, endowed with its own forms of rationality. The Land of Remorse offers an excellent introduction to Ernesto De Martino’s theoretical and methodological perspective. It will be of interest to a wide range of academic fields, including cultural anthropology, folklore, medical anthropology, ethnopsychiatry, ethnomusicology, semiotics, classics, religious studies and the history of philosophy and science. Along with appendices featuring essays on tarantism by specialist members of De Martino’s research team, this annotated edition includes the fieldwork photographs of those afflicted by tarantism as they perform the ritual exorcism, an example of the author’s early use of visual methods in ethnographic research. Read more…

My Shyness, My Self: Learn to Live with Shyness

: Manara, Fausta.

Here, the author, Fausta Manara, explores how persistent and unsuccessful suppression of shyness can generate significant pathologies, such as social phobia, and suggests a constructive approach. The author argues that returning to and examining origins of shyness can aid development. The author urges us to abandon the temptation to seek cures for our shyness but to praise shyness as a determined acceptance of one’s own reality. Read more…

Making Death Thinkable

: De Masi, Franco.

Man’s perception of the finite nature of life is always present, resulting in anxieties of varying intensity, depending on the person’s character and on the phases of life he is going through. Franco De Masi is aware of the philosophical, sociological, religious or mystical approaches to the problem of death, however he chooses to focus on, and remain within, the theoretical frame of reference of psychoanalysis. He explores how different psychoanalytic theories have addressed the issue of death, its presence or absence in the unconscious, as well as the implications of the theories of the death instinct on a more strictly clinical and technical level. Moreover De Masi is interested in thinking about the psychological resources available to man, to make death thinkable, when its inevitable occurrence needs to be faced. He is concerned with the transformation of the thought of death, from an unthinkable catastrophic event, to a natural conclusion of one’s existence. As a psychoanalyst, he explores the quality of the anxiety accompanying the idea of the natural occurrence of death, which, however, is a perturbing presence in the mind of the average man of our Western civilization. We might fear, sense and anticipate the death of our loved ones, and we know that when it occurs we will need to face the emptiness that will result. Yet, the emptiness we will leave proves to be unthinkable. Read more…