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The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud (Background: Essential Texts for the Conservative Mind) [Paperback]

By Philip Rieff & Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn (Introduction by)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   290
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.9" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 20, 2006
Publisher   Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Age  18
ISBN  1932236805  
EAN  9781932236804  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Since its publication in 1966, "The Triumph of the Therapeutic" has been hailed as a work of genuine brilliance, one of those books whose insights uncannily anticipate cultural developments and whose richness of argumentation reorients entire fields of inquiry. This special fortieth-anniversary edition of Philip Rieff's masterpiece, the first volume in ISI Books' new Background series, includes an introduction by Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn and essays on the text by historians Eugene McCarraher and Wilfred McClay and philosopher Stephen Gardner.

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More About Philip Rieff & Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn

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Philip Rieff (1922-2006), Benjamin Franklin Professor of Sociology and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, was the author of the classic works Freud: Mind of the Moralist, The Triumph of the Therapeutic, and Fellow Teachers, and the editor of The Collected Papers of Sigmund Freud. Kenneth S. Piver is a psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego, California. Alan Woolfolk is Professor of Sociology, Associate Provost, and Director of Core Curriculum at Oglethorpe University.

Philip Rieff was born in 1922 and died in 2006.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Great Gift  Jan 20, 2008
Hard-to-find book and our son-in-law has really enjoyed it. Great service. Book arrives just in time for Christmas.
have we organized our indifference yet?  Feb 9, 2007
Near then end of THE TRIUMPH OF THE THERAPEUTIC / USES OF FAITH AFTER FREUD (1966) by Philip Rieff, chapter 8 examines "various uses of faith in a culture populated increasingly by psychological men. Each [Freud, Reich, and Jung] attacked the connection between morality and a culture about which they expressed strong disapprovals." (p. 232). "The process by which a culture changes at its profoundest level may be traced in the shifting balance of controls and releases which constitute a system of moral demands." (p. 233).

Those who think they can win any argument by defining the terms of the discussion as they wish must imagine "Competing symbolisms gather support in competing elites; they jostle each other for priority of place as the organizers of the next phase in the psychohistorical process." (p. 234). "In all cultures before our own, the competing symbols took the language of faith. A language of faith is always revelatory, communicating through some mouthpiece of the god-term a system of interdicts--a pattern of `thou shalt nots,' or taboos. The language of science is not revelatory but analytic; for this reason, the scientist can never claim that his own terms have a prophetic function. His work is non-moral, that is, without interdictory purpose." (p. 234).
"A language of hypothesis is culturally neutral. Commitment to hypothesis is made to be abandonable. The scientific psychologist, as clinician, aspires to be neither interdictory or counter-interdictory. Because the clinical attitude aspires to moral neutrality, its therapeutic effect is culturally dubious. ... No culture has yet produced a third type of symbolic--one that would embrace that historical contradiction in terms: a `scientific culture.' If, and only if, a neutralist symbolic becomes operative, may we speak of a scientific culture." (p. 235)
... "Some fresh imbalance is required before the succeeding system of culture can be born, bringing into being a new symbolic of expectations, and, moreover, institutions appropriately organized to enact those expectations, translating the high symbolic into rules of social conduct." (p. 236).
... "Thus even the most stable moral demand systems are inherently liable to change. The primary process of cultural change refers to shifting jurisdictions over categories of social action by controlling and remissive symbolisms of communal and individual purposes." (p. 237).
... "With respect to culture, it is still unclear whether the social sciences will produce control devices, as Comte hoped, or in what sense they may help create and install fresh convictions of communal purpose." (p. 237).
... "Because Freud's doctrine was anti-communal, it could be used as a theoretical basis for elaborating a strategy of self-realization for the therapeutic. Americans, in particular, have managed to use the Freudian doctrine in ways more remissive than he intended, as a counter-authority against any fresh access of communal purpose." (p.238).
... "No one knows the internal voice, or external look, of the new devices of control and release that will succeed our failing ones. That even Freud expected them indicates the hold of the inherited configuration of culture over even the most radically inquiring minds." (p. 238).
... "With their secondary needs automatically satisfied, men may no longer need to have something in common, as an end, to love. The organization of indifference may well succeed the organization of love, producing a culture at lower cost to individual energies. Indeed, by this reorganization the interior life would cease to press its sickening claim to superiority." (p. 239).
"The strange new lesson we have begun to learn in our time is how not to pay the high personal costs of social organization. ... The present swing in the direction of release may not be orbital but more extended and historically more permanent, based on the automaticity and ease with which an infinity of created needs can now be satisfied." (p. 239).
... "But the modern cultural revolution has built into itself a unique prophylaxis: it is deliberately not in the name of any new order of communal purpose that it is taking place. On the contrary, this revolution is being fought for a permanent disestablishment of any deeply internalized moral demands, in a world which can guarantee a plenitude produced without reference to the rigid maintenance of any particular interdictory (and counter-interdictory) system. This autonomy has been achieved by Western man from common and compelling mobilizations of motive. Stabilizing the present polytheism of values, there is the historic deconversion experience of the therapeutic, proposing an infinity of means transformed into their own ends." (pp. 239-240).
"Cultural revolution is usually distinguishable from political revolution, which may assault the social order and leave the moral demand system fundamentally unaltered. Our cultural revolution has been made from the top, rather than from the bottom. It is anti-political, a revolution of the rich by which they have lowered the pressure of inherited communal purpose upon themselves." (p. 240).
"Our revolution is more Freudian than Marxist, more analytic than polemic, more cultural than social. There is no reason why, as the reluctant leader of moral revolutionaries, Freud should have threatened the social order. ... Culture, not the social order, takes the point of Freud's analytic attack, as it does of Jung's reconstructions in terms of religious psychology. Attacking the culture, such insights as the subjects of this volume propose could be adapted as safeguards against all inherited therapies of commitment. For the culturally conservative enemy of the ascetic, enemy of his own needs, there has been substituted the image of the needy person, permanently engaged in the task of achieving a gorgeous variety of satisfactions." (p. 241).

... "One main lesson is being more and more widely learned: that all compelling symbols are dangerous, threatening the combined comfort of things as they are. ... All binding engagements to communal purpose may be considered, in the wisdom of therapeutic doctrines, too extreme. Precisely this and no other extreme position is stigmatized as a neurotic approach to paroxysms of demand for a more fundamental revolutionary dogma. It is in this sense that the contemporary moral revolution is anti-political; more precisely, it serves the purpose of the present anti-politics, representing a calm and profoundly reasonable revolt of the private man against all doctrinal traditions urging the salvation of self through identification with the purposes of community." (pp. 242-243).
... "Crowded more and more together, we are learning to live more distantly from one another, in strategically varied and numerous contacts, rather than in the oppressive warmth of family and a few friends." (p. 243).
The ties that bind  Aug 6, 2005
In this brilliant work Philip Rieff expands on his first book on Freud, The Mind Of The Moralist. He looks at the moral aspects of the writings of Freud, Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich and DH Lawrence, in which he sees the birth of Psychological Man and the victory of relativism.

He observes that psychoanalysis was instrumental in breaking down standards of morality and undermining religion. But in the 19th century, rationalism had already weakened Christianity in its heartland. The negative trends that replaced it contain no positive symbolism and above all, require no commitment.

Rieff does not deny the manifest genius of these authors and thinkers, but rejects their respective faiths of the inner God, hedonism and impulse. Defining faith as "the compulsive dynamic of culture," Rieff does not think that any of the aforementioned substitutes has what it takes to serve as integrating factor for Western culture.

He considers the negation of concepts like good and evil as the base upon which personality is formed nowadays. The therapeutic society provides an easy, feelgood or "touchy-feely" substitute that leads to utter shamelessness. I'm not so sure about his criticism of Jung's idea of the immanence of God, but it cannot be denied that this often leads to New Age drivel and fake spirituality.

The Triumph Of The Therapeutic is a brilliant study of faith and culture and the ties between them, whether one always agrees with the author or not. The writing style is elegant with many a bon mot and memorable turn of phrase.

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