The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness

The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness

by R. D. Laing


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140135374
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/20/1965
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 268,485
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.51(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

R.D. Laing, one of the best-known psychiatrists of modern times, was born in Glasgow in 1927 and graduated from Glasgow University as a doctor of medicine. In the 1960's he developed the argument that there may be a benefit in allowing acute mental and emotional turmoil in depth to go on and have its way, and that the outcome of such turmoil could have a positive value. He was the first to put such a stand to the test by establishing, with others, residences where persons could live and be free to let happen what will when the acute psychosis is given free rein, or where, at the very least, they receive no treatment they do not want. This work with the Philadelphia Association since 1964, together with his focus on disturbed and disturbing types of interaction in institutions, groups and families, has been both influential and continually controversial.

R.D. Laing's writings range from books on social theory to verse, as well as numerous articles and reviews in scientific journals and the popular press. His publications are: The Divided Self, Self and Others, Interpersonal Perception (with H. Phillipson and A. Robin Lee), Reason and Violence (introduced by Jean-Paul Sartre), Sanity, Madness and the Family (with A. Esterson), The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, Knots, The Politics of the Family, The Facts of Life, Do You Love Me?, Conversations with Children, Sonnets, The Voice of Experience and Wisdom, Madness and Folly.

R.D. Laing died in 1989. Anthony Clare, writing in the Guardian, said of him: "His major achievement was that he dragged the isolated and neglected inner world of the severely psychotic individual out of the back ward of the large gloomy mental hospital and on to the front pages of influential newspapers, journals and literary magazines . . . Everyone in contemporary psychiatry owes something to R.D. Laing."

Table of Contents

The Divided SelfPreface to the Original Edition
Preface to the Pelican Edition
Part One
1. The existential-phenomenological foundations for a science of persons
2. The existential-phenomenological foundations for the understanding of psychosis
3. Ontological insecurity

Part Two
4. The embodied and unembodied self
5. The inner self in the schizoid condition
6. The false-self system
7. Self-consciousness
8. The case of Peter

Part Three
9. Psychotic developments
10. The self and the false self in a schizophrenic
11. The ghost of the weed garden: a study of a chronic schizophrenic


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Dr. Laing is saying something very important indeed. . . . This is a truly humanist approach."
—Philip toynbee in the Observer

"It is a study that makes all other works I have read on schizophrenia seem fragmentary. . . . The author brings, through his vision and perception, that particular touch of genius which causes one to say Yes, I have always known that, why have I never thought of it before?'"
Journal of Analytical Psychology

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Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title THE DIVIDED SELF in psychiatric jargon refers to a split personality which has always confused it with multiple personality disorders. But here the self is divided from what the so-called patient perceives as reality. It would be a philosophical problem then except the 'patient' is simply poorly educated and doesn't even know their problem is philosophical instead of some sort of objectified 'disease' which it is not. You can find the same basic approach to experience in Plato, Aristotle, Heidegger, and Sartre. It is Sartre that Laing gets his inspiration from, and he quotes Sartre at the top of chapter 8 to the effect that Sartre no longer believes in psychology at all, but instead resports to biography. This largely explains Laing's approach since, once you have a history of the person, it becomes a matter of explaning the full implications of their conflicts rather than curing a dirty 'diease.'