Love and will rollo may pdf download
Love and Will by Rollo MayMy father used to tell a story about growing obsessed with an author as a young man. The name of the author escapes me, but imagine some early-70s Cormac McCarthy: a gifted craftsman of language whose oeuvre spoke so specifically to his admirers that he could do no wrong. My father, living in LA at the time, discovered that this author did not live so far away.
I cant be sure of the mechanics of stalking in the pre-Google era, but somehow the mans address was acquired. My father broke into his estate, hopping a wall into the mans garden, only to find him there at work pruning. The author looked at my father.
“Ive come to talk to you about your work,” my father explained.
The author didnt even blink. He stood up.
“Well, what do you want to know?”
My father opened his mouth, and then closed it again. He realized he hadnt the faintest idea what to ask.
He had grown so intimate with the work divorced from its author, and then so obsessed with discovering that authors secrets, that he hadnt once considered what it would mean to actually speak with the man. So, without saying anything, he turned around, and left the mans garden. He swore he would return once he had formulated the right question. But he never did.
I dont have this problem. If I sneaked into Rollo Mays garden (to all the Freudians out there, please, allow me the luxury of literalism here), I would ask him one question:
“What did you intend by this book?”
By which I mean, what did you hope to accomplish?
If he merely wished to clarify a few things regarding the dominant theories of psychotherapy in the wake of Sigmund Freud, then I would say, hooray. Mission accomplished. But I would accuse him of a lack of ambition.
If, instead, his intention was to present a comprehensive theory of the modern psyche, in the wake of Sigmund Freud, documenting and exploring the characteristics and idiosyncrasies of the modern neurosis, then I would say that he failed.
Not, mind you, because he is insufficiently clever, or insufficiently details his theory. Far from it. The truth is that Mr. May is so damn clever, and has such a deep understanding of how the human mind operates, that I almost asked nothing more of him. On the basis of a reliable recommendation and Mr. Mays cleverness, I was convinced for at least the first 150 pages that I would be giving out 5 stars – a rating which decayed linearly as the book progressed to its eventual heat death.
Mr. Mays probing insight into the human condition also makes him eminently quotable. And I have not since literary analysis in college concluded a book with so many sticky-tags and annotations as now adorn the leaves of Love and Will. But I guess, ultimately, I have to complain: isnt psychotherapy still a clinical enterprise?
If embracing sexual promiscuity as an ersatz freedom leads to a neglect of the Eros element in human relationship and experience, and ultimately an existential emptiness (which I believe to be true!), then where and how have you seen this to be true clinically? More importantly, where and how has knowledge of the etiology led to regeneration of the patient? Or at least where and how were the etiologies indicated? These are critical details which suffuse Freuds work, but which are startlingly sparse in Mays.
Because of this, it is very difficult to see Love and Will as an independent pyschoanalytic theory on its own merits. It begins to feel more like a seamster has strung together some elements of Freud, a dash of Aristotle and (most questionably) Platos views on sex, and then patched them up with some admittedly powerful, and very relevant insights of his own. All fine and well – now where do we go from here?
I guess the truth, is, though, that I dont think either of the motivations I have suggested were actually Mays intentions. He wasnt trying to make a Rollo May reader, and he wasnt trying to make a Rollo May textbook. I think he was trying to write a book that would help the reader to understand himself and, thus, evolve as a human being. He was trying to write a self-help book in the mold of Thoreaus Walden.
But if it is true for the introspective man that the neglected element in his personal psychoanalytic conception of his selfhood is the aspect of intentionality, which links his will to the external world (which I believe to be true!), then what am I to do with this knowledge? Where and how has May seen this to be true clinically? Where and how were its etiologies indicated?
Maybe Im being unfair here. Maybe Ill be told that its silly that Ive asked for explicit application in a book of psychoanalytic theory – that I am criticizing the book based upon my own preconceptions about what it had to offer me. And Ill tell you, youre right. Im only criticizing the book based upon my own preconceptions about what it had to offer me.
I keep thinking back to On Solitude, a mostly ignored book on personal psychotherapy and philosophy written by John Cowper Powys, a rare copy of which I had to hunt down on Abebooks on the recommendation of some Goodreaders. On Solitude has a very similar vision of intentionality. Powys, in much the same way as May, identifies the breakdown of the will in the moment in which the individual reaches out to interact with the external world.
Compared to Love and Will, On Solitude is extremely weak and critical theory, and even weaker on aha! moments that make you jump up out of your seat. But On Solitude teaches so extensively about how the man can behave to heal that rift (part of the answer being right there in the title), that I find my mind wandering to it again and again. Love and Will didnt give me that. Love and Will gave me a full journal page of insightful quotes about what is wrong with modern man, and little to do with those quotes except cite them on my facebook page.
Love and will
This low-priced Bantam Book has been completely reset in a type face designed for easy reading, and was printed from new plates, it contains the complete text of the original hardcover edition. Anderson, ed.
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