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Flight From Woman Reprint Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0913757512
ISBN-10: 0913757519
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the most important books of our times, it seems to me. Dr. Stern reads like a poet, and uses his professional training in order to arrive at profound insights, instead of being hamstrung by it, as most Freudian literary critics are."--Caroline Gordon

"A Freudian psychiatrist of Jewish birth, a Roman Catholic and a mean of letters--this is a unique and remarkable combination. Admirers of The Pillar of Fire and The Third Revolution will find even greater insight and compassion in Dr Stern's new hook exploring the hidden sources of anti-feminist writing in Europe from Schopenhauer to Sartre."--Graham Greene
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Paragon House; Reprint edition (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913757519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913757512
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a landmark study in how western culture arrived at the state it found itself in in the 20th century, using the tools of psychoanalysis and traditional but quite politically incorrect concepts of gender. The chapter on Scientific Knowledge vs Poetic Knowledge alone is worth the price of the book. Any brief summary may do more harm than good, by making Stern sound simplistic, but it needs to be done.

Stern begins by describing a typical condition he, as a psychoanalyst, often saw in his patients at the time of his writing (1965): the restless man of action, unable to receive, not at peace with the opposite sex, skeptical of any matters requiring faith, and complaining of ulcers. Stern goes on to carefully show from the researches of psychologists and philosophers how the polarity of the sexes is more than a sexist myth. Feminity and Masculinity are not simply aspects of physical apparatus. There are legimate reasons why in cultures world-wide the masculine has been associated with analysis, science, destructiveness, working against nature to tame it, change it, etc., and why the feminine has likewise been associated with nature itself, or the soul itself, and with nurture, love, intuition, and wisdom of a different kind.

Then he spends the main mass of the book demonstrating how six influential Western thinkers demonstrated and contributed to this obsession with the masculine modes of knowing and a rejection of the feminine: Descartes, Schopenhauer, Sartre, Ibsen, Tolstoy, and Kierkegaard.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can not recommend this book more highly. It is a MUST READ for anyone who cares about our culture.
An undersanding of the polarities which Dr. Stern so beautifully and deeply explores
goes a long way in understanding today's cultural climate in which, for instance,
violence against women is the number one health issue in the United States,
in which 25% of all women will experience violence by the time they are twenty five,
and in which this is denied, dismissed, ignored, or shrugged off.
By going beyond psychology in his analysis of the conditon of our time,
Dr. Stern elucidates the influences which have spawned
the climate in which this social evil can survive.

This is but one issue, of course, which can be viewed through the microscope of Dr. Stern's remarkable investigation.

Another arena of concern (among many) is that "politically correct" polarity which is in opposition to any other mode of knowledge except that of the scientific and rational, that most sterile, unfortunate bias that clouds and distorts education in the United States.

How thoroughly saturated our conditon is with the polarization which Dr. Stern brings to light is astonishing.

"If we equate the one-sidedly rational and technical with the masculine, there arises the ghastly spectre of a world impoverished by womanly values."

Dr. Stern's profound depth and extraorinary compassion is a monumental contribution to caring for mankind.
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Format: Paperback
In Flight from Woman, psychiatrist Karl Stern gives a penetrating description of several modern philosophers from Rene Descartes to Jean Paul Sartre, and presents a fascinating contrast with the classical ways of knowing, which included poetry and religious faith. He does this drawing upon personal insights from a lifetime of practising psychiatry.
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Format: Paperback
Two forms of knowing are commonly contrasted. On one hand is scientific, rational, discursive knowledge, the sort represented by the classical syllogism "All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal." On the other hand is intuitive or poetic knowledge, the sort represented by the "lightbulb" moment when an idea becomes crystal clear instantly. Scientific knowledge breaks down a thing into its parts and sees how it is put together from an objective viewpoint. Intuition takes in the thing as it is and immediately grasps one or more characteristics of the thing. The first knowing is typically considered masculine and the second feminine. Which is not to say that discursive reasoning is only done by men and intuition is only done by women. But that is how they are stereotypically identified. In the modern era, credit for "real" knowledge is given almost exclusively to discursive reasoning (especially for its basis in mathematics, a field with unquestioned objectivity). Intuition is considered unreliable and suspect.

Karl Stern argues in this book that the divide between the two is a fairly recent development in human history, starting from Descartes's distinction between the material (res extensa or extended things) and the spiritual (res cogitans or thinking things). Cartesians see the divide as unbridgeable and that the res extensa is the mathematically verifiable, sure knowledge. Stern gives a thorough examination of Descartes' writings and his life to show both that Descartes would probably disagree with his followers and that he gives poetic knowledge the same certainty even if it is subject to different criteria of estimation. Stern gives an extensive psychological analysis of Descartes that is informative and persuasive.
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