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Ethics and Lao-Tzu: Intimations of Character Paperback – January 2, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Universities of the Rockies Press (January 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976463830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976463832
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,143,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Mendelowitz on June 23, 2010
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ETHICS & LAO-TZU is by no means for everybody. What it is is a poetic work that integrates many voices across manifold disciplines while relating one of the more remarkable and poignant instances of psychotherapy found anywhere, to my knowledge, in the literature. The child psychoanalyst Robert Coles, to whom the book is dedicated, has called it "an extraordinary moral narrative"; the late psychoanalyst Allen Wheelis, the finest writer in psychology in recent years, wrote that it was "a compendium of wisdom from an astonishing number of sources." Insofar as an academic reviewer failed to make sense of the book at all, I am sharing here a pastiche of commentaries from some of the more discerning humanistic psychologists presently on the scene:

"Reading this book was a journey that took me into the depths of my own soul, reminding me of things I have so often forgotten or abandoned. As Dr. Mendelowitz co-journeyed with his perceptive and poetic patient, Kristina, so I co-journeyed with him. Within these pages, I lingered not only with Lao-Tzu but also with Camus, Beckett, Blake, Rilke, Rumi, Van Gogh, William James and many others who know the Tao that dances in silence and in the spaces between. This book, unlike so many others, spoke to my inner life and because of this, I want to be a better human being. I suspect it will have a similar effect on others." - David N. Elkins, Ph.D.

"Ed Mendelowitz has produced a contemporary classic, a compelling integration of Eastern and Western wisdom and folklore--voices and dreams that descend and ascend through and from the mind/soul set of a visionary psychotherapy client--and from this model has managed to create a challenging manifesto.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason Peng on February 4, 2010
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This book is a hidden gem among the endless and perhaps superfluous existing literature in psychology and mental health field. To me, this book represents what psychology is and should be about: an inquiry into the psyche (psychology= study of the psyche, not just study of the "mind" or behaviors), a discourse in characterological ethics, an examination of some of our deepest thoughts and feelings, and a critical look on how life can be lived meaningfully.

This book's structure is similar to the Chinese sage referenced in its title: it is a fluid conversation among philosophers, novelists, playwrights, musicians, psychologists, physicists, film makers, sociologists, and a girl whose humanity, creativity, and connectedness shine through despite the horrifying trauma dealt to early in her life. This book is simultaneously a reflection on a life examined/unexamined and a case study. The case study is focused on Kristina, who battles with symptoms described by the DSM IV as Dissociative Identity Disorder. But unlike any other portraits of multiple personality disorder, Mendelowitz presents us with an intricate view of a girl who is sensitive, perceptive, understanding, ethical, and courageous. We are invited to meet many of Kristina's personalities through rich amount of journal entries, e-mails, dreams, poems, and pictures. What they end up revealing, ironically, is not person split in parts, but a whole that desperately tries to keep herself intact.

Mendelowitz's writing is meditative and poetic.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Urban on August 25, 2010
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This book has much to offer those who are interested in bettering themselves as a person. By reading this, it made me reflect on how I act on a daily basis. The collage of quotes made me want to learn from the artists who said them. Ultimately, this is a story of compassion and understanding, as well as a plea for "caution, circumspection, and courage." What we have here is a case study of a young woman named Kristina who suffers from various "ailments" (in quite a few ways this "ailment" is not just a weakness, but a strength as well) the most prominent being multiple personality disorder. Mendelowitz offers a passionate account of her struggle. The reader witnesses her struggle through various e-mail correspondences between patient and therapist, as well as through paintings done by Kristina's alter, Mele, and through various other ways.
In a world where doctors act as if they have the miracle solution, it is refreshing to read this book because Mendelowitz doesn't offer a fixed solution, instead he offers something quite different, which is a genuine relationship that is not often found between patient and therapist these days. By reading his interpretations of Kristina's dreams one cannot help but think of this woman as a beautiful soul, who, like some (if not many) cases, is met with hostility, puzzlement, and anger by those unwilling, or incapable of understanding her. Those who are too "fixed" in their views and who think (or maybe they just want) her problems to disappear.
As a whole, the book offers enlightening quotes from multiple artists who defied convention and nurtured their art to help their inner being. There's a point in the book where Mendelowitz quotes Fellini who says his system is not having a system.
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