Beyond Marginality

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Overview

In The Marginal Self (1987), René J. Muller characterized what he saw as the phenomenon of marginality. Using existential anthropology, he argued that the Judeo-Christian tradition and the tradition of rationality, the bedrock of Western culture for over 2,000 years, no longer provided a satisfactory context for living. He showed how maginalizing choices made in an attenuated Western culture inevitably lead to pathological living and disillusion.

In Beyond Marginality, a sequel, Muller changes his perspective and ground and reinterrogates the phenomenon of the marginal self using the anthropology of Zen. He begins by making explicit the link between marginality and narcissism implied in The Marginal Self, and describes how the narcissistic marginal self developed in a dualistic culture that splits all lived experience in unlivable parts. He shows how the authenticity, freedom, and wholeness that the existentialists struggled to recover from the debris of metaphysics is calmly claimed by Zen as its birthright, originating as it does in a culture untouched by dualism. Using the existential concept of nothingness and the Zen notion of sunyata, Muller builds a bridge between the anthropologies of West and East. He shows how an intrinsically pathological Western culture can be partially reconstructed to go beyond marginality by incorporating elements of Zen's more authentic world view. This book will be of interest to graduate students and faculty in psychology, philosophy, and anthropology, as well as mental health professionals.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Muller expands on his existential analysis of marginality in (1987) informed by his subsequent expose to D. T. Suzuki's articulation of Zen. He moves from diagnosis to prescription, from describing what is lacking in western culture and the western self to projecting what might be done about it. His focus is on values and ethics and how to live in a post- Christian world where no values other than human values are recognized. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275961312
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/30/1998
  • Pages: 150
  • Lexile: 1210L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

RENE J. MULLER works for the Crisis Intervention Service at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Marginal Self and Narcissism 1
2 Zen and the Nonmarginal Response 17
3 Self into Nothingness, Nothingness into Self 37
4 The Possibilities for Authentic Happiness 61
5 Body as Nothingness, Body as Thing 79
6 The Therapeutic Text 105
7 Beyond Marginality: Narcissism Surpassed 117
Bibliography 129
Index 133
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