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Love and will av Rollo May

Love and will (urspr publ 1969; utgåvan 1969)

av Rollo May

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
647227,931 (4.06)12
Includes sections on Freud, Puritanism, and Eros.
Titel:Love and will
Författare:Rollo May
Info:New York : Norton, [1969]
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Taggar:Psychoanalysis, Eros, Sex, Intentionality, Daimonic


Kärlek och vilja av Rollo May (Author) (1969)


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This is another of those "classics" that have long been on my list of things-to-read. A few months ago, it fell into my hands and declared its time had come. Maybe it's because it's only been around for 39 years, or maybe it's because I'm a woman of a certain age, but I found May's insights as timely today as they were when the book was written. Perhaps May's words in his Foreword best describe the theme: "I have long believed that love and will are interdependent and belong together. Both are conjunctive processes of being—a reaching out to influence others, molding, forming, creating the consciousness of the other. But this is only possible, in an inner sense, if one opens oneself at the same time to the influence of the other. And will without love becomes manipulation—of which the age just preceding the First World War is replete with examples. Love without will in our own day becomes sentimental and experimental." I didn't find one superfluous word in May's 300+ pages. Possibly because his ideas complemented so well the reading I'd been doing on the Law of Attraction, the notion that we attract people and things and circumstances into our lives with our thoughts, emotions, and yearnings. I'm in love with this book! ( )
1 rösta bookcrazed | Jan 16, 2012 |
  mhartlee | Nov 25, 2011 |
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However one may interpret this culturally, the upshot is the same: people carry within them a great number of wishes to which they react passively and which they hide. Stoicism, in our day, is not strength to overcome wishes, but to hide them. To a patient who, let us say, is interminably rationalizing and justifying this and that, balancing one thing against another as though life were a tremendous market place where all the business is done on paper and tickertape and there are never any goods, I sometimes have the inclination in psychotherapy to shout out, “Don't you ever want anything?” But I don't cry out, for it is not difficult to see that on some level the patient does want a good deal; the trouble is he has formulated and reformulated it, until it is the “rattling of dry bones” as Eliot puts it. Tendencies have become endemic in our culture for our denial of wishes to be rationalized and accepted with the belief that this denial of the wish will result in its being fulfilled. And whether the reader would disagree with me on this or that detail, our psychological problem is the same: it is necessary for us to help the patient achieve some emotional viability and honesty by bringing out his wishes and his capacity to wish. This is not the end of therapy but it is an essential starting point.
The future does not consist of simply a state of time which is going to occur, but contains the element, “I will make it so.” Power is potentiality, and potentiality points toward the future: is something to be realized. The future is the tense in which we promise ourselves, we give a promissory note, we put ourselves on the line. Nietzsche's statement, “Man is the only animal who can make promises,” is related to our capacity to posit ourselves in the future. We are reminded here also of William James’s fiat, “Let it be so.” The hopelessness of many patients, which may be expressed in depression, despair, feelings of “I can’t,” and related helplessness, can be usefully seen, from one point of view, as the inability to see or construct a future.
The dispersion of the daimonic by means of impersonality has serious and destructive effects. In New York City, it is not regarded as strange that the anonymous human beings secluded in single-room occupancies are so often connected with violent crime and drug addiction. Not that the anonymous individual in New York is alone: he sees thousands of other people every day, and he knows all the famous personalities as they come, via TV, into his single room. He knows their names, their smiles, their idiosyncrasies; they bandy about in a “we’re-all-friends-together” mood on the screen which invites him to join them and subtly assumes that he does join them. He knows them all. But he himself is never known. His smile is unseen; his idiosyncrasies are important to no-body; his name is unknown. He remains a foreigner pushed on and off the subway by tens of thousands of other anonymous foreigners. There is a deeply depersonalizing tragedy involved in this. The most severe punishment Yahweh could inflict on his people was to blot out their name. “Their names,” Yahweh proclaims, “shall be wiped out of the book of the living.”

This anonymous man’s never being known, this aloneness, is transformed into loneliness, which may then become daimonic possession. For his self-doubts—“I don’t really exist since I can’t affect anyone”—eat away at his innards; he lives and breathes and walks in a loneliness which is subtle and insidious. It is not surprising that he gets a gun and trains it on some passer-by—also anonymous to him. And it is not surprising that the young men in the streets, who are only anonymous digits in their society, should gang together in violent attacks to make sure their assertion is felt.

Loneliness and its stepchild, alienation, can become forms of demon possession. Surrendering ourselves to the impersonal daimonic pushes us into an anonymity which is also impersonal; we serve nature’s gross purposes on the lowest common denominator, which often means with violence.
Anxiety (loneliness or “abandonment anxiety” being its most painful form) overcomes the person to the extent that he loses orientation in the objective world. To lose the world is to lose one’s self, and vice versa; self and world are correlates. The function of anxiety is to destroy the self-world relationship, i.e., to disorient the victim in space and time and, so long as this disorientation lasts, the person remains in the state of anxiety. Anxiety overwhelms the person precisely because of the preservation of this disorientation. Now if the person can reorient himself—as happens, one hopes, in psychotherapy—and again relate himself to the world directly, experientially, with his senses alive, he overcomes the anxiety. My slightly anthropomorphic terminology comes out of my work as a therapist and is not out of place here. Though the patient and I are entirely aware of the symbolic nature of this (anxiety doesn’t do anything, just as libido or sex drives don’t), it is often helpful for the patient to see himself as struggling against an “adversary.” For then, instead of waiting forever for the therapy to analyze away the anxiety, he can help in his own treatment by taking practical steps when he experiences anxiety such as stopping and asking just what it was that occurred in reality or in his fantasies that preceded the disorientation which cued off the anxiety. He is not only opening the doors of his closet where the ghosts hide, but he often can also then take steps to reorient himself in his practical life by making new human relationships and finding new work which interests him.
I recall a discussion with a highly-respected psychotherapist colleague and friend on the significance of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. My friend stated that the trouble with Romeo and Juliet was that they hadn't had adequate counseling. If they had had, they would not have committed suicide. Taken aback, I protested that I didn't think that was Shakespeare's point at all, and that Shakespeare, as well as the other classical writers who have created and molded the literature which speaks to us age after age, is in this drama picturing how sexual love can grasp a man and woman and hurl them into heights and depths—the simultaneous presence of which we call tragic.

But my friend insisted that tragedy was a negative state and we, with our scientific enlightenment, had superseded it—or at least ought to at the earliest possible moment. I argued with him, as I do here, that to see the tragic in merely negative terms is a profound misunderstanding. Far from being a negation of life and love, the tragic is an ennobling and deepening aspect of our experience of sexuality and love. An appreciation of the tragic not only can help us avoid some egregious oversimplifications in life, but it can specifically protect us against the danger that sex and love will be banalized also in psychotherapy.
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Includes sections on Freud, Puritanism, and Eros.

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