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One of the challenge points on the Better World Books 2017 Reading […]
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Madness is always present in our lives -- in the chaos of our experience as babies, the rebellion of our adolescence, the irrational nature of our sexual appetites. In a society governed by indulgence and excess, madness is the state of mind we identify with most keenly -- while it is ultimately destructive, we often credit it as the wellspring of genius, individuality, and self-expression. Sanity, on the other hand, confounds us; it lacks the false allure of madness. Hamlet, as Adam Phillips points out, is glamorous, while the eminently sane Polonius comes off as a fool. In "Going Sane," Phillips redresses this historical imbalance, drawing deeply on literature and his rich experience as a clinician. He strips our lives back to essentials, focusing on how we -- as human beings, as parents, as lovers, as people to whom work matters -- can make space for a sane and well-balanced attitude to living.
Phillips's brilliantly incisive and aphoristic style coaxes us into meeting his ideas halfway, and making them our own. In a world saturated by tales of dysfunction and suffering, he offers a way forward that is as down-to-earth and realistic as it is uplifting and hopeful.
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