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In Search of the Good Life : Emmanuel Levinas, Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living - Paul Marcus

In Search of the Good Life

Emmanuel Levinas, Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living

Paperback

Published: 16th April 2010
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Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995), French phenomenological philosopher and Talmudic commentator, is regarded as perhaps the greatest ethical philosopher of our time. While Levinas enjoys prominence in the philosophical and scholarly community, especially in Europe, there are few if any books or articles written that take Levinas's extremely difficult to understand, if not obtuse, philosophy and apply it to the everyday lives of real people struggling to give greater meaning and purpose, especially ethical meaning, to their personal lives. This book attempts to fill in the large gap in the Levinas literature, mainly through using a Levinasian-inspired, ethically-infused psychoanalytic approach.

All of the essays included in this book are animated by the Levinasian assumption that it is the ethical relation to the other person (and, in one case, dog!) that is primary. That is, there is a human tendency in us, an often inhibited, muted or repressed tendency, as psychoanalysts have taught us, to see the needs of others as more important (or at least as important) than our own and therefore be willing to sacrifice for others. Moreover, once this human tendency to be for the Other is consciously embraced and made part of one's way of being in the world the possibility for a greater degree of personal fulfillment and happiness is often enhanced. Thus, the art of living the "good life" involves embracing "goodness" as one's guiding metaphor, an existential orientation in which, says Levinas, "the Other counts more than myself."

As social psychologists have repeatedly shown, in social life, paradoxically, it is often the case that "the more you give, the more you get." Being for the Other, in other words, is often self-affirming!

All of the essays included in this book are animated by the Levinasian assumption that it is the ethical relation to the other person (and, in one case, dog!) that is primary. That is, there is a human tendency in us, an often inhibited, muted or repressed tendency, as psychoanalysts have taught us, to see the needs of others as more important (or at least as important) than our own and therefore be willing to sacrifice for others. Moreover, once this human tendency to be for the Other is consciously embraced and made part of one's way of being in the world the possibility for a greater degree of personal fulfillment and happiness is often enhanced. Thus, the art of living the "good life" involves embracing "goodness" as one's guiding metaphor, an existential orientation in which, says Levinas, "the Other counts more than myself."As social psychologists have repeatedly shown, in social life, paradoxically, it is often the case that "the more you give, the more you get." Being for the Other, in other words, is often self-affirming!'If you are looking for one book about the humanizing philosophy of Levinas that is both intelligible and accessible - that beautifully and profoundly shows its psychological and sociological applicability to everyday life - In Search of the Good Life is it.'- William Helmreich, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Graduate Center, City University of New YorkSelection from the Contents:Levinas, Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living the Good LifeI'm Just Wild About Harry! A Psychoanalyst Reflects on His Relationship With His DogOn Tending to a Dying MotherThe Wisdom of Ecclesiastes and its Significance for PsychoanalysisOn the Psychological Meaning of GossipOn Wanting, Having and Raising ChildrenGetting Help Through PsychotherapyOn the Difficulties of Sustaining an Adult-to-Adult Love RelationshipOn Developing an "Adult" Religious Outlook

Acknowledgementsp. vii
About the Authorp. ix
Introductionp. xi
"I'm just wild about Harry!" A psychoanalyst reflects on his relationship with his dogp. 1
Victory through vegetables: self-mastery through a vegetarian way of lifep. 19
Long night's journey into day: on tending to a dying motherp. 35
On reading a sacred book: the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and its significance for psychoanalysisp. 59
"Guard your tongue": on the psychological meaning of gossipp. 81
The life and soul of good parenting: on wanting, having, and raising childrenp. 99
On feeling altogether miserable: getting help through psychotherapyp. 123
All you need is love: on the difficulties of sustaining an adult-to-adult love relationshipp. 149
Looking for God in all the right places: on developing an "adult" religious outlookp. 169
Glossaryp. 191
Referencesp. 195
Indexp. 205
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781855757233
ISBN-10: 1855757230
Series: G - Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Ser.
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 228
Published: 16th April 2010
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.36