Customer Reviews for

The Diagnosis

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2001

    The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

    I received this book as a Christmas present and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like Don DeLillo (White Noise), you¿ll love Lightman¿s new style. In contrast to the rarefied atmosphere of his highly successful Einstein¿s Dreams, Lightman¿s Diagnosis is pulsing with blood, sweat, tears and laughter. Long story short, this is a darkly humorous look at our modern predicament, a view that reminds us of the wisdom of that ancient philosopher, Socrates, who warned us that the unexamined life is hardly worth living. And so it is with the main character of the story, Bill Chalmers, whose desperate need for a proper diagnosis is thwarted by modern forces so common in our lives - office politics, urban inhumanity, suburban paranoia, and at every turn a technology that precludes with ubiquitous urgency any chance of our snatching a single moment for much needed contemplation. Overwhelmed by an environment of cell phones and the complex systems that make our modern lives possible, the main character temporarily loses his mind. By itself, the early scene of his going insane in the Boston subway is well worth the price of admission. His own failings resonate with the failings of the very institutions that are in place, theoretically, to save his sanity - his doctors, his therapist, even man¿s best friend, his family¿s pedigree dog, nothing seems to provide much help. Only his young son seems to be reaching out with any real line back to life. By reading to his (by now) crippled father some very dramatic scenes from the death of Socrates, the son provides the only clue to the source of his father¿s bizarre deterioration. Yet, despite his son¿s (unconscious?) efforts to impart some ancient wisdom, Bill Chalmers asymptotically approaches a platonic pinpoint in the backwater of his brain, a sense-less isolation, confinement to a bedroom bedazzled with strange artwork, shadowy images on the walls and floor. Can such a collapse lead to revelation, a look beyond the shadows of our modern cave? Can a paralysis of this sort lead to the self examination necessary for psychological salvation? Read Lightman¿s Diagnosis of our society and decide for yourself.

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    Posted March 22, 2009

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    Posted January 24, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

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