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text 2016-10-01 04:02
The Dogma of Christ & Other Essays on Religion, Psychology & Culture - Erich Fromm

Preface to the Routledge Classics Edition

--The Dogma of Christ
--The Present Human Condition
--Sex and Character
--Psychoanalysis---Science or Party Line?
--The Revolutionary Character
--Medicine and the Ethical Problem of Modern Man
--On the Limitations and Dangers of Psychology
--The Prophetic Concept of Peace


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review 2015-12-17 06:51
The Conquest of Happiness - Daniel C. Dennett,Bertrand Russell

This book was not what I was expecting. I guess I was thinking that I was in for a grand overview on just what happiness is and the nature of the human existence in chasing it. And while parts were like that, many others were just Russell's opinions on how to "solve" the happiness problem.


There were parts of this book that showed its age, both socially and scientifically, even far enough to the point that I'd disagree with the conclusion. The biggest example of this is that one can force themselves to believe a thought by "planting it in the subconscious" by repeated use. Throughout the rest of the book he continues this line of reasoning: that most hindrances to happiness can be solved by thought and intelligence and will. Personally I don't think this holds up as the same effective method that Russell presents it.


But there were parts that I intensely enjoyed and stirred me up if they touched on the idea of "what is the happiness that we should attain?", like the idea that one who enjoys sports is better off than someone who does not, and someone who reads (woot woot) is better off still because reading is always available. In any case, there were also times that I just enjoyed him skillfully expressing a very basic thought that I knew, but was always implied.



It's really more of an opinion piece than anything, which is ok, except that most of it was not remarkable. People who enjoy their jobs are generally happier. People in love are happier. Etc. And while it was discussed in an engaging way, it's not a "cure" that is new or groundbreaking. There were, however, some parts that out of nowhere hit home really hard and made me step back and think about it for a week, and I'm still thinking about them so I guess I can say the book was good.


After all, good philosophy isn't supposed to give you the answers, it's supposed to give you the questions.

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quote 2015-10-06 19:07
Man in the mass sinks unconsciously to an inferior moral and intellectual level, to that level which is always there, below the threshold of consciousness, ready to break forth as soon as it is activated by the formation of a mass.
Since nobody is capable of recognizing just where and how much he himself is possessed and unconscious, he simply projects his own condition upon his neighbor, and thus it becomes a sacred duty to have the biggest guns and the most poisonous gas.
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quote 2015-09-29 06:21
We came to the conclusion that it is better to avoid external wars, so we went home and took the strife with us....We fight each other within the limits of the law and the constitution, and we are inclined to think of democracy as a chronic state of mitigated war. We are far from being at peace with ourselves: on the contrary, we hate and fight each other because we have succeeded on introverting war

....We still labour under the unwholesome delusion that we should be at peace within ourselves.

...Our order would be perfect if only everybody could direct his aggressiveness inwards, into his own psyche. Unfortunately, our religious education prevents us from doing this, with its false promises of an immediate peace within.

...We psychologists have learned, through long and painful experience, that you deprive a man of his best resource when you help him to become sufficiently aware of them and to start a conscious conflict within himself. In this way the complex becomes a focus of life....It is surely better to know that your worst enemy is right there in your own heart.
Man's instincts are ineradicable–therefore a state of perfect peace is unthinkable. Moreover, peace is uncanny because it breeds war. True democracy is a highly psychological institution which takes account of human nature as it is and makes allowances for the necessity of conflict within its own national boundaries.
Essays on Contemporary Events - G. Adler,R.F.C. Hull,C.G. Jung

Well I was expecting Jung to be controversial, but damn.


Certainly not saying I agree with all of it, but it does put forward quite a few ideas: introverted mitigated war being waged through politics, religion promising immediate peace v the struggle of psychology, and that "peace breeds war" via the lack of control of humankind's violent nature.

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review 2013-01-25 00:00
Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature
Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature: Third Edition - Ben Mijuskovic This book is definitely going to have its niche. There are going to be people who love it and other people who find it depressing and complicated. I happen to be one of the former. I absolutely loved reading this book, I've actually read it twice, and I have cited Mijuskovic's theories and speculation in at least two research papers regarding the human psyche and social interactions. It's a curious topic and the text is incredibly fascinating. Freud built his theories around the idea that humans are sexually motivated, Mijuskovic has built his theory around the idea that humans are motivated by loneliness and the desire to avoid it by seeking human interaction.

Consider the following examples: When a toddler has misbehaved, how is he/she frequently punished? Perhaps by sending them to their room or to time-out; a situation in which they will be isolated away from the rest of the family. What about a criminal inmate who requires additional punishment? They are sent to solitary confinement. Do you remember the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway? While isolated from the rest of society on an island he went nearly insane.

I loved how Mijuskovic integrated Greek and Roman mythology, Biblical stories, and other writings into his book to continually support the theme of loneliness. I am an avid lover of mythology and religious stories so I enjoyed having these themes incorporated into this book. When he discussed the punishment of Prometheus or the story of Job I found myself really connecting with the material and considering his theories. He does make some very valid points and he has a great perspective on human behavior.

As I said, this isn't a book for everyone but it was a fantastic book for me. I enjoyed it immensely! I will admit that the vocabulary is quite elevated in some places and I did have to refer to my dictionary more than a few times to make sure that I was comprehending the material correctly but I don't mind doing that. I enjoy expanding my vocabulary. There is no doubt that you will read this book and come away with a new perspective on human behavior, even to the point where you question your own motives. I found myself doing that this evening when making plans for the weekend. My husband and I both were discussing whether we wanted to go out to this big festival because we wanted to experience the festival or if we simply didn't want to be alone. What was our motivation? Were we seeking an experience or additional human companionship? You will consider what loneliness is, how it is defined, and how it impacts your life and society as a whole.

If you are interested in human behavior, philosophy, psychology or simply curious about identifying your own motivations behind your decisions this is well worth picking up and reading. I finished it in two days easily simply because I couldn't put it down.
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