Overwhelmed by the demands of creating and maintaining a positive self-image in their personal and professional lives, some people are taking to escapist practices - drug and alcohol use is increasing, suicide rates are rising, exotic and foreign cults are flourishing. Why is it that there is such a strong urge to escape in a people as blessed as the middle classes? This book presents a view of the darkest side of human nature - showing how powerful experiences from religious ecstasy to bulimia can relieve the burden of maintaining a personal identity. Filled with lively examples and incisive analysis, this book enhances our understanding of behaviour both familiar and baffling.
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