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We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love Paperback – July 28, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"WE retells the myth of Tristan and Iseult, one of the earliest romance tales, and uses it as a reference point to explain the essence and meaning of romantic love. Employing Jungian philosophy, Robert A. Johnson uncovers many of the unconscious beliefs about love shared by both sexes and shows how these attitudes are expressed symbolically in the Tristan myth. lie then breaks down the illusions we often have of love myths in themselves and beautifully redefines what love should and can be. An elegantly constructed, superior inquiry into the psychology of love." -- AKA Booklist

About the Author

Robert A. Johnson, a noted lecturer and Jungian analyst, is also the author of He, She, We, Inner Work, Ecstasy, Transformation, and Owning Your Own Shadow.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062504363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062504364
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have spent many years reading books, talking to counselors, and talking to friends about relationships. Reading Johnson's book was a real eye opener, to put it very mildly. I have enjoyed the author's style in his other books where he presents a myth and discusses it's psychological meaning. This book is no exception, except that it's relevance is way off the charts. Before reading "We" I had all but thrown my hands in the air in frustration regarding relationships. The author's beautiful style drills deep and answers the many questions I had. Johnson's use of the Tristan myth told me what I did not want to hear, but the pain I have experience in relationship told me that Johnson was right on the money. The author's analysis of romantic love and the distinction he makes between passion and true love (which is more low key and may even come across as boring sometimes) spoke loud and clear. He made me realize that I have been searching out there in vain for so many years for lady soul, because lady soul lurked within my unconscious mind. Since reading this book I was able to connect with lady soul and have that symbolic marriage that Johnson talks about.
I highly recommend this book to each person who has a lot of questions about why relationships in our cultures are in a state of epidepic crisis. The author's answers may not be what you want to hear if you are a "zealous" romantic. If you are willing to stretch yourself and change, then Johnson's words are an excellent catalyst for changing your ways and heading in the right direction.
I consider "We" among the most relevant books by Robert Johnson, and among the most relevantt books by any author!
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Format: Paperback
"We" completely opens your mind to the difference between romantic and human love, something many people perhaps never thought were different. I couldn't put this book down while I read it and I have been recommending it to friends since finishing it. For those searching for happiness with another, "We" is helpful because it is accessible, powerful, and enlightening.

Since reading We, my husband and I have worked to ground our marriage with what Johnson calls: "stirring the oatmeal"... an expression I love! By removing our projections of the perfect partner and consciously appreciating the other's flaws, we remember that authentic love is humble and long lasting, like oatmeal. It's so much better than the instant gratification of cereal and milk, which leaves you hungry way before lunch! But really, there is so much Johnson helps you see about our culture that makes it so hard to love! He claims that romantic love is an "unholy muddle of two holy loves" and says that "by some trick of psychological evolution our culture has muddled the two loves in a potion of romantic love and has nearly lost them both."

Johnson has a trademark writing style, which can also be found in his books titled He and She. In We, he uses the ancient, mythological narrative of two lovers, Tristan and Iseult, to explore the origins of romantic love and what it is, how it has infiltrated our Western psyche and affects our relationships with ourselves and others, and what we should do about it. The author is also a renowned Jungian analyst, which is incorporated into his examination of the subconscious and how relationships deteriorate into egotism.

I really liked We, and I hope you will too.
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Format: Paperback
Having succumbed too many times to the call of romantic love (and later paid the price for believing it was authentic love)I found this book to be very helpful in understanding what was happening to me (or should I say what I was doing to myself.) The beauty of Johnson's view is that all the rich and wonderful emotions which arise during romance come from within us, not form the 'loved one.' This realization provides a sense of freedom and diviness which can be honored and brought forwards, in bits and pieces, into all of our relationships. I like the last line from the first review following: "The message here is that human love is attained when one accepts responsibility for his/! her own happiness or unhappiness and refrains from living out happiness through another human being." Well said!
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Format: Paperback
I found this volume almost impossible to put down once I started reading it.
Author Robert A. Johnson has a very fluid writing style, and does a superb job
of exposing the archetypal aspect of romance and love relationships by discussing the implications of
the myth of Tristan and Iseult. I found myself strongly moved
by this volume, and it helped me work through some live and
at the time previously unexplored aspects of my own psyche.
This book doesn't leave you feeling torn apart as many analytical
works on love do. It analyzes the emotions and expectations of
lovers in such a way as to allow one to re-examine one's own
love relationships and ultimately one's understanding of what
a love relationship should be. This is a timeless volume, which
transcends the stereotypical types of responses one has to love and love relationships. Western media and folklore have so thoroughly dwelt on this topic that I find it remarkable that this Jungian philosopher is able to significantly add to the tradition, by allowing one to consciously break down the archetypal influences that seem to so powerfully motivate us when we are in love. I found this book illuminating enough that after finishing it I had to purchase a copy for a close friend.
Be aware that this type of progress doesn't happen in a vacuum, so this book may be somewhat troubling if you are a person who has
long cherished views that you do not want to question about love and romance. But if you are willing to subscribe to the author's thesis that love and love relationships can be improved by understanding their core motivations as reflected in myth and allegory, you will absolutely love this book as I did and possibly this book will change the way you look at love and life. Definitely a must-read if you are someone like me who is always falling in love and not knowing why.
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