- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
“Our most urgent project,” claims therapist/author Adam Phillips, “is to escape.... If escaping is what we do, then we can at least become escape artists.” In this quirky, complex meditation, Phillips guides us through the maze of contemporary escapist psychology. He provides no easy answers but helps us to reflect -- from multiple vantage points -- on our cultural taste for bondage and freedom.
To illustrate his complex subject, Phillips interweaves two complementary narratives: a biographical study of Harry Houdini, the most spectacular modern escape artist, and a psychological case study of an anonymous patient who vacillates, as we all do, between fear and desire. By juxtaposing these two stories, Phillips exposes for us the psychological underpinnings of everyone’s escapist fantasies; he shows us how similar, in the end, are the desires for entrapment and escape. “What one is escaping from is inextricable from, if not defined by, what one is escaping to,” Phillips explains. And in this context, Phillips considers the sexual fantasies that we construct, the fantasies of fame and freedom, the fantasies of fulfillment. But throughout, he focuses us on the importance of treating our dreams with the respect we accord to reality.
Phillips’s book is a curious, evocative study. It encourages us to reflect on what we’re doing when we forge routines so habitual that we are left free to dream -- to dream of escaping these very routines. It’s a book that forces us to recognize how we construct and destroy our days, our families, and our selves -- and so gets to the heart of contemporary psychology. (Jesse Gale)