Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering

Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering

by David A. Kessler


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Why do we think, feel, and act in ways we wished we did not? For decades, New York Times bestselling author Dr. David A Kessler has studied this question with regard to tobacco, food, and drugs. Over the course of these investigations, he identified one underlying mechanism common to a broad range of human suffering. This phenomenon—capture—is the process by which our attention is hijacked and our brains commandeered by forces outside our control.

In Capture, Dr. Kessler considers some of the most profound questions we face as human beings: What are the origins of mental afflictions, from everyday unhappiness to addiction and depression—and how are they connected? Where does healing and transcendence fit into this realm of emotional experience?

Analyzing an array of insights from psychology, medicine, neuroscience, literature, philosophy, and theology, Dr. Kessler deconstructs centuries of thinking, examining the central role of capture in mental illness and questioning traditional labels that have obscured our understanding of it. With a new basis for understanding the phenomenon of capture, he explores the concept through the emotionally resonant stories of both well-known and un-known people caught in its throes.

The closer we can come to fully comprehending the nature of capture, Dr. Kessler argues, the better the chance to alleviate its deleterious effects and successfully change our thoughts and behavior Ultimately, Capture offers insight into how we form thoughts and emotions, manage trauma, and heal. For the first time, we can begin to understand the underpinnings of not only mental illness, but also our everyday worries and anxieties. Capture is an intimate and critical exploration of the most enduring human mystery of all: the mind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062388520
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 409,794
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

David A. Kessler, MD served as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He is the author of A Question of Intent and The End of Overeating, a New York Times bestseller. He is a pediatrician and has been the dean of the medical schools at Yale and the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Kessler is a graduate of Amherst College, the University of Chicago Law School, and Harvard Medical School.

Table of Contents

Part I

1 A Human Mystery 3

The Terrible Master 3

Capture 6

The Nature of Mental Distress 9

The Search for a Common Mechanism 14

2 The Historical and Scientific Context of Capture 18

William James and Attention 20

Freud and Drive 29

The Science Underlying Capture 35

3 What Captures? 45

A Continuum from the Ordinary to Mental Illness 45

Rejection 46

A Brutish Father 48

Drink 51

Physical Pain 53

Childhood Trauma 55

Blind Love 59

Obscene Fascination 65

Gambling 67

The Body 70

A Work of Art 72

Death 74

A Threat 78

Two Addicts 83

Control 91

Sadness 95

Grandeur 99

Abandonment 102

Going Mad 107

Accumulation of Burdens 111

A Unified Theory 116

4 When Capture Turns on the Self 121

David Foster Wallace 121

Part II

5 When Capture Leads to Violence 151

Striking Out 152

The Assassination of Robert Kennedy 157

The Columbine School Shootings 160

The Murder of John Lennon 164

The Murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School 169

A Theory of Human Capital 176

6 Capture and Ideology 184

The America I Have Seen 186

The Obligation of Our Time 191

I'm Going Traveling 195

®SlaveOfAllah 199

Part III

7 Capture and Spirituality 205

Capture by the Divine 208

Paying Attention 211

Captured by a Message 214

The Revelation of Nature 219

8 Capture and Change 223

Martin Luther's Anfechtungen 224

Meaningful Association 229

Moments of Clarity 233

A Creative Life 235

Compelled to Be Different 240

Being in the Right Place 243

Distracting the Black Dog 245

Belief 248

Good-Bye to All That 250

Reconciliation and Forgiveness 252

A Toolkit Borrowed from Buddhism 257

Is There Freedom from Capture? 262

A Modest Form of Autonomy 265

Notes 269

Acknowledgments 389

Index 393

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Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*walks in, carrying some clothes* "Hello."