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

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

by Stephen A. Diamond
 

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.

Though the causes of violence in our society are complex, the troublesome human emotions of anger and rage play a central role in the genesis of violent

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.

Though the causes of violence in our society are complex, the troublesome human emotions of anger and rage play a central role in the genesis of violent behavior and psychopathology in general. In this provocative book, clinical and forensic psychologist Stephen A. Diamond determines where rage and anger originate and explores whether these powerful passions are—as most people resume—purely negative, pathological, and evil or can be meaningfully redeemed and redirected into constructive activity. Using clinical and biographical case studies, as well as striking visual images, he traces anger, rage, and violence through their most destructive expressions to their creative and transcendent functions in art, psychotherapy, and spirituality.

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

“Diamond shows how existential depth psychology can help us understand the anger and violence so rampant in American society. He explains how we are both subject to and responsible for powerful psychic forces active within us, forces which, depending on how we respond to them, can press toward either creative or destructive expressions. Diamond’s book is elegantly written, well researched, and clinically well informed. It is an important contribution.” — Michael Washburn, author of The Ego and the Dynamic Ground and Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective

“Written with great vigor, clarity, and conviction, this book is fast paced and a pleasure to read.” — George B. Hogenson, author of Jung’s Struggle with Freud

“I hasten to endorse this remarkable book. The author covers every aspect of both evil and its curious connection with the creative daimonic. This study is balanced, objective and exhaustive. In a world that cannot forget Hitler and our modern atrocities, it is very timely. I recommend it without qualification—from one who has written on and studied this subject for fifty years.” — Morton T. Kelsey, University of Notre Dame

“This is as clinically sophisticated a discussion of Rollo May’s conception of the ‘daimonic’ as we are likely to see. Diamond lucidly exposes the passion at the core of our being human, does not flinch from examining the destructive pathologies that arise there, and identifies the telos of this strongly self-assertive energy, so glibly dismissed as narcissism. He discloses the daimonic as the self’s essential capacity to claim and defend its own right to being itself.” — John Beebe, author of Integrity in Depth

“A fine book, well written, succinct, psychologically sound, and socially relevant. Clearly the author has reflected on the subject creatively.” — John A. Sanford, author of Evil: The Shadow Side of Reality

“A valuable work. Diamond’s reach and his relevance are great.” — E. James Lieberman, author of Acts of Will: The Life and Work of Otto Rank

“I like the timeliness of the work and how the author ties his concerns into social and clinical realities we all know boldly exist in our daily lives. I like the comprehensive scan of the cultural field around the phenomena of the daimonic and the author’s practical concerns as a clinician to find more adequate ways of accepting, recognizing, and responding to the daimonic so that it does not become the destructive and demonic.” — David J. Dalrymple, Vice President, National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis

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.
Booknews
Diamond determines where anger and rage originate and explores whether these powerful passions are--as most people believe--purely negative, pathological, and evil or can be meaningfully redeemed and rechanneled into constructive activity. Drawing on the discoveries of Freud, Jung, Adler, Rank, Reich, and Rollo May, as well as the work of other contemporary psychotherapeutic pioneers, he examines the psychobiological significance of these feelings and the link between anger, rage, violence, evil and creativity. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791430750
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
11/01/1996
Series:
SUNY series in the Philosophy of Psychology Series
Pages:
428
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are Saying About This

John A. Sanford
A fine book, well written, succinct, psychologically sound, and socially relevant. -- (John A. Sanford, author of Evil: The Shadow Side of Reality)
Morton T. Kelsey
I hasten to endorse this remarkable book. The author covers every aspect of both evil and its curious connection with the creative daimonic. This study is balanced, objective and exhaustive. In a world that cannot forget Hitler and our modern atrocities, it is very timely. I recommend it without qualification-from one who has written on and studied this subject for fifty years. -- (Morton T. Kelsey, University of Notre Dame)
June Singer
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.
Jeremiah Abrams
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)
Rollo May
An excellent book....I have always felt that Dr. Diamond's emphasis on the 'daimonic' was extremely timely and important in our day....[V]ery readable.

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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