Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity

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Overview

Explores the links between anger, rage, violence, evil, and creativity and describes a dynamic therapeutic approach that can help channel anger and violent impulses into constructive and creative activity.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An excellent book … I have always felt that Dr. Diamond’s emphasis on the daimonic was extremely timely and important in our day. The myth of the daimonic covers vital, archetypal human experiences, as this work clearly illustrates. I find it very readable, and done like the true scholar.” — from the Foreword by Rollo May

“In this remarkable book, Stephen Diamond follows the work of his mentor, Rollo May (1969), in focusing on the ancient Greek idea of the ‘daimonic’ which he distinguishes from the ‘demonic’ … Diamond stresses the dual nature of the daimonic and the failure of modern society to distinguish it from the wholly evil demonic as a factor in two, for Diamond, linked problems … first, the rampant outbursts of violence … and second, the failures of contemporary cost-effective psychotherapies to address those forces in the human being that evoke antisocial behavior and at the same time have the capacity to free up the same individual’s deepest creative energy.” — Contemporary Psychology

“Drawing on an impressive study of existential and depth psychologists as well as his strong grounding in the practicalities of clinical work, the author analyzes the psychology of evil and the central role of anger and rage in psychotherapy.” — CHOICE

“…revolutionary … The daimonic today is … the pursuing shadow of the human potential movement … Diamond’s book is a key to our understanding of … how to deal constructively with daimonic anger and rage in psychotherapy and most importantly, how to transform them creatively.” — San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal

“Diamond redeems anger in much the same way that Rollo May redeemed anxiety … few books are a more important read. Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic is an excellent introduction to the breadth and depth of existential theory.” — Louis Hoffman, Saybrook University

“…[a] powerful book … Diamond’s reach is ambitious: to consider the ‘meaning’ of human violence and evil … He asks what produces serial killers, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Bobbitt castration case, the O. J. Simpson murder trial, and explores more generally the male response to the rise of feminist anger … enjoyable, extremely readable and accessible … a sincere, thought-provoking contribution to an important subject.” — Journal of Analytical Psychology

“Evocative, very thorough and succinct, Stephen Diamond’s superb book will remain the seminal work on this shadowy subject for a long time to come.” — Jeremiah Abrams, author of Meeting the Shadow and The Shadow in America

“…a brilliant and indispensable resource for students of human personality.” — Ernest Becker Foundation Newsletter

“An impressive, prodigious work; so comprehensive, so rich, and very creative. This excellent book is unique in making sense of the ‘senseless violence’ that permeates American society today. When we understand the root causes of the human need for violence, we will be able to make an ally of the energy it liberates.” — June Singer, author of Boundaries of the Soul

Psychoanalytic Books
[R]ecommended.... [Dr. Diamond] . . . draws on the discoveries of Freud, Jung, Adler, Rank, Reich, and Rollo May, as well as cultural and religious myths, to discuss with impressive scholarship and insight the origins and psychodynamics of destructive people.
Contemporary Psychology
In this remarkable book, Stephen Diamond follows the work of his mentor, Rollo May (1969), in focusing on the ancient Greek idea of the 'daimonic' which he distinguishes from the 'demonic'....Diamond stresses the dual nature of the daimonic and the failure of modern society to distinguish it from the wholly evil demonic as a factor in two, for Diamond, linked problems: first, the rampant outbursts of violence...,and second, the failures of contemporary cost-effective psychotherapies to address those forces in the human being that evoke antisocial behavior and at the same time have the capacity to free up the same individual's deepest creative energy.
Journal of Analytical Psychology
Powerful....[F]ascinating....[Diamond] conducts a critical audit of the contemporary American zeitgeist, cataloguing examples of the epidemic of 'senseless' violence and of antagonism between the sexes. He asks what produces serial killers, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Bobbitt castration case, the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and explores more generally the male response to the rise of feminist anger....[E]njoyable, extremely readable and accessible....[A] sincere, thought-provoking contribution to an important subject.
Ernest Becker Foundation Newsletter
[A] comprehensive, [very valuable] work detailing the powers for good and evil of which humans are capable....[Diamond] presents disturbing and insightful biographies of Kipling, Melville..., van Gogh, Wright, Beethoven, and Bergman, each wrestling with their personal daimons through the creative process....His cataloguing of the history of the phenomenology of the unconscious--from medieval beliefs that the voices people heard were demons or angels, to Freud's Id, to Jung's Shadow--is both brilliant and an indispensable resource for every student of human personality.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791430767
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 2/19/1999
  • Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of Psychology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 402
  • Sales rank: 1,005,208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen A. Diamond is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist practicing in Los Angeles, California. He has taught at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, John F. Kennedy University, Argosy University, Ryokan College, and the C. G. Jung Institute, Zurich. Dr. Diamond writes regularly for Psychology Today.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Rollo May
Acknowledgments

1. The Angry American: An Epidemic of Rage and Violence

Introduction
Existential Roots of Anger, Rage, and Violence

2. Sex Wars: The Animosity Between Women and Men

Fear, Anger, and Intergender Hostility
Sexual Demonization
Gender, Rage, and Violence

3. The Psychology of Evil: Devils, Demons, and the Daimonic

Demons
The Daimonic
The Devil
Mephistopheles in America
The Demoic vs. the Daimonic

4. Myths of the Unconscious: The Id, the Shadow, and the Daimonic Models, Myths, and Symbols

The Unconscious
The Id
The Shadow
The Daimonic vs. the Shadow

5. The Possession Syndrome: Demoic or Daimonic?

Obsession and Possession
Types of Possession
Genuine Possession, Pseudo-Possession, and Psychosis
Neurosis and Romance as Possession
Voluntary vs. Involuntary Possession

6. Madness, Mental Disorders, and the Daimonic: The Central Role of Anger and Rage in Psychotherapy

The Daimonic and Depth Psychology: Discovering Repressed Rage
Hostility, Anxiety, and the Daimonic
Narcissistic Rage
Depression and Anger
Drugs and the Daimonic
The Biological Basis of the Daimonic
Anger, Rage, and Madness
Psychosomatic Disorders
The Anatomy of Passion

7. Redeeming Our Devils and Demons: Dealing with Anger and Rage in Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy's Current Identity Crisis
Catharsis and the Daimonic
Exorcism and Psychotherapy
Clinical Approaches to Anger and Rage in Psychosis
Exorcism vs. Psychotherapy
Toward an Existential Depth Psychology
Discerning the Daimonic
Consecrating the Daimonic in Psychotherapy

8. Creativity, Genius, and the Daimonic

What Is Creativity?
The Meaning of Genius
Dysdaimonia and Eudaimonia
Herman Melville's Mad Captain Ahab
Jack Henry Abbott: In the Belly of Behemoth
Vincent van Gogh: Dysdaimonic Genius
Jackson Pollock: "Pissed-Off" Expressionist
Richard Wright's Daimonic Wrath
Ludwig van Beethoven: Belligerence and Beauty
Ingmar Bergman: Residing with Demons

9. Conclusion: Some Final Reflections on Anger, Rage, Guilt, and Responsibility

The Paradox of Personal Responsibility

Notes
Bibliography
Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2003

    Impressive

    Stephen Daimond offers a thought provoking study on the origins of anger and psychopatholgy. What was most impressive about the book is that it provides a clearer picture into the human mind, one that is filled with both good and evil, passion and hatred. It is refreshing to read an argument that states, the suppression of the daimonic (passions, good and bad) in most cases is not the answer for anger management. Art is a wonderful example of this argument. This is an imperative book to read for those who are fed up with self- help regurgitation and the implication of a Brave New World as brought to us by pharmaceutical companies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2002

    anger as thwarted creativity

    One of the central points made in Dr. Diamond's book and too often overlooked in psychotherapeutic practice is that within the shadow of anger and rage hides a tremendous potential for creative expression in the tradition of what the Greeks called "eudaimonia," or living in accord with one's daimon. Drawing on literature and case material as well as existential psychology, the author writes not to entertain but to squarely confront our urgent need, as a civilization, to address this creative power within the transhuman force of unbridled fury--a fury too clearly evident today, when the world (the "Orient" and its nuclear capabilities included) stands once again on the brink of warfare and catastrophe. Confronting the demons is not enough: one must use what Diamond calls "discernment" to turn their passion to good account in the world, acting responsibly rather than acting out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 1999

    a few welcome angles, but...

    a difficult book to read, stylistically speaking. the sentences are awkward, and 300 pages later i couldn't adapt to the point that they smoothed out. chapters 2-5, roughly 100 pages, seemed particularly viscous. diamond provides reasonably informative and entertaining overviews of noted theorists and brief biographies of creative artists. the most welcome line of the book for me was a quote from rollo may: 'the task of the therapist is to conjure up the devils rather than put them to sleep.' no devils, and few other readers, will be particularly stirred up by the book, i'm afraid, but i give it a four for the revelation that western thinkers have arrived at 'confrontation therapy' mere thousands of years after the orient (a zen master shoved his non-swimming student into a deep pond. as the student thrashed, the master calmly asked, 'at this moment, what is your original mind?').

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