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

Author(s) : Paul Marcus

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

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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 York

Selection from the Contents:
Levinas, Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living the Good Life
I'm Just Wild About Harry! A Psychoanalyst Reflects on His Relationship With His Dog
On Tending to a Dying Mother
The Wisdom of Ecclesiastes and its Significance for Psychoanalysis
On the Psychological Meaning of Gossip
On Wanting, Having and Raising Children
Getting Help Through Psychotherapy
On the Difficulties of Sustaining an Adult-to-Adult Love Relationship
On Developing an "Adult" Religious Outlook

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