am 12. Juni 2000
Even though Adams is a brilliant thinker his writing lacks lucidity. His book promises too much, and delivers too little. I know he has an argument, but his writing style lacks deduction and his ideas need further development. It is almost easier to read Hegel's mind than to decipher the connection between Adam's premises. If you are not totally familiar with the works of Darwin and Freud be ware; Adams should not be your starting point.
am 16. März 2000
As usual, Phillips' disarmingly easy prose reveals a great deal of thought about the stories behind the stories: the messages that can only be found by asking the right questions. This erudite author can point the way toward new ways of thinking about psychoanalytical themes because he calls on a wealth of knowledge and synthetical ability. Be warned, however, that the reader has to take his own psychoanalytical knowledge to the encounter and be willing to track down some of Phillips' references from time to time. The clearness of his writing hides a number of concepts that the author presumes his audience knows. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not is irrelevant, the experience is worth the effort and can make a reader clarify his own thinking.
am 31. Mai 2000
As Adam Phillips shows in his brief and intense book, neither Darwin nor Freud saw the forest for the trees. He notes the epistemic capture of his twins, without properly crediting Heraclitus for it. He writes: "[For them] there was no longer any such a thing as a ... person with a recognizable identity." ( p. 21.) Which is only to say that, in their opinion, Socrates' I was transient.
True we cannot step into the same river twice, it being transient, but a lot of dazzling Greek philosophizing happened after that of the Presocratics, Socrates' for one.
Is everything in the world of common experience transient?
"No," says Socrates, confident of the survival-after-death of his never-changing I.
What rendered Darwin and Freud blind both to the reality of their unchanging I-dentity and to its immunity to change and to death? In my judgment their minds, already befuddled by their daillance with atheism, were further obtunded by their jejune diet of Heraclitean junk food, having by-passed the solid nourishment afforded by Plato and Aristotle.
What had atheism to do with it? Simply this: the condign punishment for denying the existence of God (the Supreme I) is to evolve into one of Time's fools. This is perhaps the most ironic evolutionary event of all. Of this syndrome, Nicolas Berdyaev, the celebrated 20th century Russian philosopher wrote illuminatingly as follows: "That is the essence of the tragedy as it affects the philosopher [the thinker]. On the one hand, he is incapable of supporting, indeed, refuses to suffer the authority of religion; on the other, he tends to lose all notion of Being, and the strength it imparts, as soon as he becomes detached from religious [transcendent] experience."
One cannot but sympathize with D&F for trying to salvage whatever the transient world might offer.
Of this, however, I am sure: Socrates would not have settled for the ephemeral beauty of a Brazilian rain forest, or for the raptures of psychoanalytical procedures.
More highly evolved than Mr. Phillips' two "masterminds," Socrates naturally selected for the real gold of I-existence over the fool's gold of the transient ego.
--John Cantwell Kiley, M.D., Ph.D. (philosophy)