Marilyn Charles and the Patterns of the Mind

In her book Patterns: Building Blocks of Experience, the psychoanalyst Dr. Marilyn Charles describes her perspective on the structure of the mind. She outlines how preverbal experiences of young children shape their minds and colour the world they live in as adults. Many books about psychology focus on certain types of neurotic, maladaptive behaviors and what childhoodContinue reading “Marilyn Charles and the Patterns of the Mind”

Erich Fromm and the Discontents of Materialism

In his book To Have or to Be, Erich Fromm analyzes the profound sense of dissatisfaction that is present in the materialistic societies of the West. He conceptionalizes the problem as two opposite ways of life: one that is centered around having vs. one that is centered around being. Fromm begins his book with an analysis of the ideologicalContinue reading “Erich Fromm and the Discontents of Materialism”

Erich Fromm on Group Narcissism

In his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Erich Fromm discusses group narcissism as one of the most important causes for aggression. Ordinary narcissism is, according to Fromm, the attempt to feel safe by convincing oneself of one’s intrinsic superiority, as opposed to trying to overcome existential anxieties through work and connection to others, which would beContinue reading “Erich Fromm on Group Narcissism”

Ignacio Matte Blanco and the Logic of the Unconscious

In his book The Unconscious as Infinite Sets: An Essay in Bi-logic the Chilean psychoanalyst Ignacio Matte Blanco presents a framework for understanding the unconscious with the tools of mathematical logic. It is a fascinating attempt to make the unconscious understandable. To understand better the context Matte Blanco was working in, I want to begin with explainingContinue reading “Ignacio Matte Blanco and the Logic of the Unconscious”

Erich Fromm and the Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

In his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Erich Fromm provides an analysis of human aggression. He discusses the differences between aggression in animals and in humans, and discusses how the specifically human forms of cruelty are connected to existential needs. Fromm delineates three important existential needs: the need to be one with the world andContinue reading “Erich Fromm and the Anatomy of Human Destructiveness”

David Foster Wallace on Learning How To Think

In the commencement speech This is Water, David Foster Wallace speaks about the goal of education. He reminds the audience that this goal should be developing the ability to think, rather than accumulating factual knowledge. The ability to think, according to Wallace, is the awareness that allows you to consciously decide what you think about and howContinue reading “David Foster Wallace on Learning How To Think”

On Narcissism

Donald Trump has sparked interest in the phenomenon of narcissism. The characteristics of narcissism are: grandiosity sense of entitlement lack of integrity lack of empathy manipulation (lying, blackmail, gaslighting) superficial charm impoverished internal world, emptiness Narcissists suffer from an inability to regulate their self-esteem, which leaves them caught between grandiosity and feelings of shameful inadequacy,Continue reading “On Narcissism”

Morgan Scott Peck and the Path of Spiritual Growth

Morgan Scott Peck’s book “The Road Less Traveled” is a popular self-help book. The book is Peck’s attempt to condense the main insights he gained from his work as a psychiatrist into written form. What makes it compelling is that he conveys psychological insight in a language that is accessible to readers who are notContinue reading “Morgan Scott Peck and the Path of Spiritual Growth”

Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil

A while ago I re-read the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt. In the book, Hannah Arendt, a Jewish philosopher who studied in Berlin and Heidelberg and who emigrated in 1933, describes the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Eichmann was a subordinate organizer of the Holocaust; he hadContinue reading “Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil”