Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise by R. D. Laing
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Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise
By R. D. Laing

The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise

AND the Bird of Paradise

By (author) See other recent books by R. D. Laing
Format: Paperback

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Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise by R. D. Laing

Book Description

In "The Politics of Experience" and the visionary "Bird of Paradise", R.D. Laing shows how the straitjacket of conformity imposed on us all leads to intense feelings of alienation and a tragic waste of human potential. He throws into question the notion of normality, examines schizophrenia and psychotherapy, transcendence and 'us and them' thinking, and illustrates his ideas with a remarkable case history of a ten-day psychosis. 'We are bemused and crazed creatures', Laing suggests. This outline of 'a thoroughly self-conscious and self-critical human account of man' represents a major attempt to understand our deepest dilemmas and sketch in solutions. 'Everyone in contemporary psychiatry owes something to R.D. Laing' - Anthony Clare, the "Guardian".

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780140134865
ISBN-10: 0140134867
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 9mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 26-Apr-1990
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Books By Author R. D. Laing

Divided Self by R. D. Laing Divided Self, Paperback (January 2010)

Using case studies of patients the author had worked with, this title argues that psychosis is not a medical condition but an outcome of the 'divided self', or the tension between the two personas within us: one our authentic, private identity, and the other the false, 'sane' self that we present to the world.

» View all books by R. D. Laing


US Kirkus Review » The author of this collection of essays espouses a number of radical concepts. For instance, he maintains that psychosis is really a transcendental experience, a trip to a world of released libido that ends in an existential rebirth, and that our idea of normal is "a form of destructive action on experience" - that to be normal is to be absurd. Our educative process is likened to the force-feeding of a goose, making us brutal, half-crazed creatures. The author concludes from statistics that "we are driving our children mad more effectively than we are genuinely educating them," and that psychoanalysis as we know it is a "degradation ceremonial" that can culminate in depriving us of our civil liberties. Madness is, in other words, a political experience, of this time, that place. Exasperated by our society's narrow definition of normality which inhibits the interior life, R.D. Laing has some arresting things to say. The general reader may find the occasional forays into phenomenology so much gobbledegook, and may be somewhat put off by the author's own flamboyant rhetoric, but this book is potentially disturbing and exciting reading. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - R. D. Laing

R.D. Laing, one of the best-known psychiatrists of modern times, was born in Glasgow in 1927 and graduated from Glasgow University as a doctor of medicine. In the 1960's he developed the argument that there may be a benefit in allowing acute mental and emotional turmoil in depth to go on and have its way, and that the outcome of such turmoil could have a positive value. He was the first to put such a stand to the test by establishing, with others, residences where persons could live and be free to let happen what will when the acute psychosis is given free rein, or where, at the very least, they receive no treatment they do not want. This work with the Philadelphia Association since 1964, together with his focus on disturbed and disturbing types of interaction in institutions, groups and families, has been both influential and continually controversial. R.D. Laing's writings range from books on social theory to verse, as well as numerous articles and reviews in scientific journals and the popular press. His publications are: The Divided Self, Self and Others, Interpersonal Perception (with H. Phillipson and A. Robin Lee), Reason and Violence (introduced by Jean-Paul Sartre), Sanity, Madness and the Family (with A. Esterson), The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, Knots, The Politics of the Family, The Facts of Life, Do You Love Me?, Conversations with Children, Sonnets, The Voice of Experience and Wisdom, Madness and Folly. R.D. Laing died in 1989. Anthony Clare, writing in the Guardian, said of him: "His major achievement was that he dragged the isolated and neglected inner world of the severely psychotic individual out of the back ward of the large gloomy mental hospital and on to the front pages of influential newspapers, journals and literary magazines... Everyone in contemporary psychiatry owes something to R.D. Laing."

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