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Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society's Betrayal of the Child Paperback – October 15, 1998
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“A provactive critique of traditional therapy's view of childhood . . . This is explosive stuff. I can't imagine anyone coming away from this book without several newfound discoveries about herself and her relation to her parents.” ―Nancy Evans, Glamour
“Thou Shalt Not Be Aware is that rarest of gems, a highly creative and exciting work which throws a multifaceted light upon the development of human nature in the Western World.” ―Ashley Montagu
“Alice Miller is not out to 'hang the bastards,' but rather to help create a world of self-conscious and self-loving individuals who don't need, want or know how to abuse others.” ―Sheila Koren, San Francisco Chronicle
“It is timely. It is powerful. It is painful . . . absorbing, enlightening and provoking.” ―Louise Lione, Charlotte Observer
Top Customer Reviews
She spends over three hundred pages of Thou Shalt Not Be Aware showing how parents damage their children, yet she refuses to hold parents accountable. (Page 58: "[People cannot] grasp that I blame neither children nor parents.") In effect, she, one of the 20th century's greatest trumpeters for the child's rights, herself creates a theory which abandons the full truth of the child. Shying away from the strength of her message, she compromises as best she can, turns vague, and blames society instead. Thus, the subtitle of the book: "Society's Betrayal Of The Child."
It is not society that primarily betrays children. It really is parents. Yet Alice Miller, a parent of two children herself and a woman who never came close to processing her own unresolved grief from her own childhood - stemming from maltreatment by her own parents, not society - cannot accept that. It is too painful.
Thus it comes as no great surprise that years after writing this book, when she herself entered deep therapy to resolve her childhood traumas once and for all, her true past horrors surfaced and she suffered a near-psychotic breakdown. A 1995 interview says it all: "At the end of these three weeks my feelings were in a turmoil, so that I could not find sleep, that for the first time in my life I thought of suicide, and had anxiety verging on the psychotic.Read more ›
Without hanging Freud in effigy or throwing the baby of his genius out with the bathwater of his philosophical and ethical judgement errors, Miller established her perspective and cry for new psychological techniques based in compassionate listening to others lives and childhoods (instead of forcing others lives into a preexisting paradigm) magnificently.
The effect of her work begins with her establishment of Freud's drive theory--Oedipal complex, et. al.--as merely an artistic, pseudo-scientific extension of the very Judeo-Christian, Victorian Age system of morality that allowed for secret atrocities to be routinely committed on innocent children in the first place. Its existential inadequacy in charting the anatomy of the soul (which is what the word "psyche" means) comes up in virtually every psychoanalysed person and derivative doctrine and explains much if not most of the profound failures of the entire discipline in Western society this past century (and, definitively, people's lack of faith in it). It's as if Freud, like Shakespeare or Bach, created a new language with many of the materials of the popular one being used; only unlike Shakespeare or Bach then chose, because of the martyrdom that sticking to his real discoveries demanded of him, to basically backpeddle and translate all of the same antequated ideas he should have replaced into it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book and one other for a class I'm taking. The book was informational, but was a pretty dry read.Published 10 months ago by SelmaNissan
This should be required reading for teachers, ministers, doctors, therapists, etc. As a survior of an abusive home, this book was affirming of my memories of my childhood and that... Read morePublished 13 months ago by L. K. Erwin
Amazing book - set me on to discovering things about myself that made me the person I am today. Highly recommended for any reader who wants to learn more about themselves :)Published 21 months ago by Mette Glargaard