Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil and Creativity (Suny Series in the Philosophy of Psychology) 1st Edition
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“In this remarkable book, Stephen Diamond follows the work of his mentor, Rollo May (1969), in focusing on the ancient Greek idea of the ‘daimonic’ which he distinguishes from the ‘demonic’ … Diamond stresses the dual nature of the daimonic and the failure of modern society to distinguish it from the wholly evil demonic as a factor in two, for Diamond, linked problems … first, the rampant outbursts of violence … and second, the failures of contemporary cost-effective psychotherapies to address those forces in the human being that evoke antisocial behavior and at the same time have the capacity to free up the same individual’s deepest creative energy.” ― Contemporary Psychology
“Drawing on an impressive study of existential and depth psychologists as well as his strong grounding in the practicalities of clinical work, the author analyzes the psychology of evil and the central role of anger and rage in psychotherapy.” ― CHOICE
“…revolutionary … The daimonic today is … the pursuing shadow of the human potential movement … Diamond’s book is a key to our understanding of … how to deal constructively with daimonic anger and rage in psychotherapy and most importantly, how to transform them creatively.” ― San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal
“Diamond redeems anger in much the same way that Rollo May redeemed anxiety … few books are a more important read. Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic is an excellent introduction to the breadth and depth of existential theory.” ― Louis Hoffman, Saybrook University
“…[a] powerful book … Diamond’s reach is ambitious: to consider the ‘meaning’ of human violence and evil … He asks what produces serial killers, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Bobbitt castration case, the O. J. Simpson murder trial, and explores more generally the male response to the rise of feminist anger … enjoyable, extremely readable and accessible … a sincere, thought-provoking contribution to an important subject.” ― Journal of Analytical Psychology
“Evocative, very thorough and succinct, Stephen Diamond’s superb book will remain the seminal work on this shadowy subject for a long time to come.” ― Jeremiah Abrams, author of Meeting the Shadow and The Shadow in America
“…a brilliant and indispensable resource for students of human personality.” ― Ernest Becker Foundation Newsletter
“An impressive, prodigious work; so comprehensive, so rich, and very creative. This excellent book is unique in making sense of the ‘senseless violence’ that permeates American society today. When we understand the root causes of the human need for violence, we will be able to make an ally of the energy it liberates.” ― June Singer, author of Boundaries of the Soul
“Diamond shows how existential depth psychology can help us understand the anger and violence so rampant in American society. He explains how we are both subject to and responsible for powerful psychic forces active within us, forces which, depending on how we respond to them, can press toward either creative or destructive expressions. Diamond’s book is elegantly written, well researched, and clinically well informed. It is an important contribution.” ― Michael Washburn, author of The Ego and the Dynamic Ground and Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective
“Written with great vigor, clarity, and conviction, this book is fast paced and a pleasure to read.” ― George B. Hogenson, author of Jung’s Struggle with Freud
“I hasten to endorse this remarkable book. The author covers every aspect of both evil and its curious connection with the creative daimonic. This study is balanced, objective and exhaustive. In a world that cannot forget Hitler and our modern atrocities, it is very timely. I recommend it without qualification―from one who has written on and studied this subject for fifty years.” ― Morton T. Kelsey, University of Notre Dame
“This is as clinically sophisticated a discussion of Rollo May’s conception of the ‘daimonic’ as we are likely to see. Diamond lucidly exposes the passion at the core of our being human, does not flinch from examining the destructive pathologies that arise there, and identifies the telos of this strongly self-assertive energy, so glibly dismissed as narcissism. He discloses the daimonic as the self’s essential capacity to claim and defend its own right to being itself.” ― John Beebe, author of Integrity in Depth
“A fine book, well written, succinct, psychologically sound, and socially relevant. Clearly the author has reflected on the subject creatively.” ― John A. Sanford, author of Evil: The Shadow Side of Reality
“A valuable work. Diamond’s reach and his relevance are great.” ― E. James Lieberman, author of Acts of Will: The Life and Work of Otto Rank
“I like the timeliness of the work and how the author ties his concerns into social and clinical realities we all know boldly exist in our daily lives. I like the comprehensive scan of the cultural field around the phenomena of the daimonic and the author’s practical concerns as a clinician to find more adequate ways of accepting, recognizing, and responding to the daimonic so that it does not become the destructive and demonic.” ― David J. Dalrymple, Vice President, National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis
From the Back Cover
"An excellent book... I have always felt that Dr. Diamond's emphasis on the daimonic was extremely timely and important in our day. The myth of the daimonic covers vital, archetypal human experiences, as this work clearly illustrates. I find it very readable, and done like the true scholar." -- from the Foreword by Rollo May
"An impressive, prodigious work; so comprehensive, so rich, and very creative. This excellent book is unique in making sense of the 'senseless violence' that permeates American society today. When we understand the root causes of the human need for violence, we will be able to make an ally of the energy it liberates." -- June Singer, author of Boundaries of the Soul
"Diamond shows how existential depth psychology can help us understand the anger and violence so rampant in American society. He explains how we are both subject to and responsible for powerful psychic forces active within us, forces which, depending on how we respond to them, can press toward either creative or destructive expressions. Diamond's book is elegantly written, well researched, and clinically well informed. It is an important contribution." -- Michael Washburn, author of The Ego and the Dynamic Ground and Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective
"Written with great vigor, clarity, and conviction, this book is fast paced and a pleasure to read." -- George B. Hogenson, author of Jung's Struggle with Freud
- Publisher : State University of New York Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1996)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 434 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0791430766
- ISBN-13 : 978-0791430767
- Item Weight : 1.32 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.98 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #872,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The author argues that what is repressed is not simply sexuality, but a more complete and profoundly subterranean force, which he terms the 'daimonic'.
The daimonic (not to be confused with demonic) is the psychobiological source of human vitality and energy, and we repress it to our own detriment. A crucial component of the daimonic are the very human impulses of anger and rage. The author makes a convincing case that the majority of the violence we see in our day and age (he starts off his book with a long meditation on the wave of violence that consumed America in the last decades of the 20th century) is due to repressed violence and anger, that became poisoned and exploded in an unpredictable manner.
Anger and rage are fundamentally a part of human nature, and it is our existential attitude towards them that causes us to embrace/cultivate or repress them. This is the core message of the book, and it is a well-made point. This thesis is well-argued, using material from mythology, dreams, Jungian shadow-work, and existential philosophy.
The book suffers from the usual tendency of psychology books, however, in that it spends a bit too much time attacking other schools of thought. The CBT and purely-biological strands of psychiatric practice, in particular, come in for some well-aimed criticism. Additionally, there were a bit too many examples and counter-examples, and ill-placed case studies that detracted from the flow of the text. But I suppose a purely theoretical book on psychology is to mistake it for philosophy.
I also got a bit tired of seeing Rollo May's name crop up every 3 to 4 pages. But to be fair to the author, most of the quotes were well-sourced and quite profound and undoubtedly helped stoke my interest in reading the man in his own words.
Diamond writes: "The volatile emotions of anger and rage have been broadly `demonized,' vilified, maligned, and rejected as purely pathological, negative impulses with no real redeeming qualities. As a result, most `respectable' Americans habitually suppress, repress, or deny their anger-inadvertently rendering it doubly dangerous." He also clarifies, while developing the ideas of Rollo May, how we therapists collude with our clients and culture, thus depriving ourselves of the value and resources of this normal dimension of our being. He integrates psychoanalytic, Jungian, and existential theory under a new rubric of Existential Depth Psychology. As May states, our job is often "not to still the daimons but to wake them."
This is an important, engaging, and well-written work that I wish all my colleagues would read.
He explains the violence that seems so senseless and points to the direct cause where we have a viable option that can change ourselves and in so doing affect change around us.
This book can make a difference for those that take it seriously.
This is the best book I ever read on the need to understand ourselves and points the direction to healthy change if we accept it's premise.
Top reviews from other countries
He starts the book with a rhetorical question: What is behind the seemingly rising levels of rage, anger and violence in modern society? Ultimately he fails to provide a conclusive answer to this but whilst that doesn't signal a failure on his part, it does draw attention to what I believe to be the book's one weakness. It neglects to take a serious look at the prevailing attitudes to anger in our society. It explores the pathology of rage but makes little attempt to understand the sociological and cultural context and the forces that seek to normalise, legitimise and glamourise anger and violence.
In this respect it is rather one-dimensional. The psychic forces that influence our behaviours cannot operate independently of the familial and cultural milieu in which we exist and these factors need to be taken into account in any study. Clearly he is a psychoanalyst not a sociologist but, even allowing for his own specialism, that shouldn't preclude him from commenting on them.
However, that said, it's still a fine piece of work and constitutes a hugely useful resource in understanding the whole subject of anger.