In Admirable Evasions, Theodore Dalrymple explains why human self-understanding has not been bettered by the false promises of the different schools of psychological thought. Most psychological explanations of human behavior are not only ludicrously inadequate oversimplifications, argues Dalrymple, they are socially harmful in that they allow those who believe in them to evade personal responsibility for their actions and to put the blame on a multitude of scapegoats: on their childhood, their genes, their neurochemistry, even on evolutionary pressures. Dalrymple reveals how the fashionable schools of psychoanalysis, behaviorism, modern neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology all prevent the kind of honest self-examination that is necessary to the formation of human character. Instead, they promote self-obsession without self-examination, and the gross overuse of medicines that affect the mind. Admirable Evasions also considers metaphysical objections to the assumptions of psychology, and suggests that literature is a far more illuminating window into the human condition than psychology could ever hope to be.
A key anthology for students of English literature, Metaphysical Poetry is a collection whose unique philosophical insights are some of the crowning achievements of Renaissance verse, edited with an introduction and notes by Colin Burrow in Penguin Classics. Spanning the Elizabethan age to the Restoration and beyond, Metaphysical poetry sought to describe a time of startling progress, scientific discovery, unrivalled exploration and deep religious uncertainty. This compelling collection of the best and most enjoyable poems from the era includes tightly argued lyrics, erotic and libertine considerations of love, divine poems and elegies of lament by such great figures as John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell and John Milton, alongside pieces from many other less well known but equally fascinating poets of the age, such as Anne Bradstreet, Katherine Philips and Thomas Traherne. Widely varied in theme, all are characterized by their use of startling metaphors, imagery and language to express the uncertainty of an age, and a profound desire for originality that was to prove deeply influential on later poets and in particular poets of the Modernist movement such as T. S. Eliot. In his introduction, Colin Burrow explores the nature of Metaphysical poetry, its development across the seventeenth century and its influence on later poets and includes A Very Short History of Metaphysical Poetry from Donne to Rochester. This edition also includes detailed notes, a chronology and further reading. Colin Burrow is Reader in Renaissance and Comparative Literature at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He has edited Shakespeare's Sonnets for OUP and The Complete Works of Ben Jonson, and is working on the Elizabethan volume of the Oxford English Literary History. If you enjoyed Metaphysical Poetry, you might like John Donne's Selected Poems, also available in Penguin Classics.
Release on 2007-04-01 | by Christina Hoff Sommers,Dr. Sally Satel, M.D.
How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance
Author: Christina Hoff Sommers,Dr. Sally Satel, M.D.
Pubpsher: St. Martin's Press
Category: Social Science
Americans have traditionally placed great value on self-reliance and fortitude. In recent decades, however, we have seen the rise of a therapeutic ethic that views Americans as emotionally underdeveloped, psychically frail, and requiring the ministrations of mental health professionals to cope with life's vicissitudes. Being "in touch with one's feelings" and freely expressing them have become paramount personal virtues. Today-with a book for every ailment, a counselor for every crisis, a lawsuit for every grievance, and a TV show for every conceivable problem-we are at risk of degrading our native ability to cope with life's challenges. Drawing on established science and common sense, Christina Hoff Sommers and Dr. Sally Satel reveal how "therapism" and the burgeoning trauma industry have come to pervade our lives. Help is offered everywhere under the presumption that we need it: in children's classrooms, the workplace, churches, courtrooms, the media, the military. But with all the "help" comes a host of troubling consequences, including: * The myth of stressed-out, homework-burdened, hypercompetitive, and depressed or suicidal schoolchildren in need of therapy and medication * The loss of moral bearings in our approach to lying, crime, addiction, and other foibles and vices * The unasked-for "grief counselors" who descend on bereaved families, schools, and communities following a tragedy, offering dubious advice while billing plenty of money * The expansion of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from an affliction of war veterans to nearly everyone who has experienced a setback Intelligent, provocative, and wryly amusing, One Nation Under Therapy demonstrates that "talking about" problems is no substitute for confronting them.