The Ways of the Will: Selected Essays

The Ways of the Will: Selected Essays

The Ways of the Will: Selected Essays

The Ways of the Will: Selected Essays

Synopsis

The psychologist Leslie Farber, who died in 1981, has been revered as one of the most astute observers of the human condition and a writer of penetrating wisdom. His essays, on topics as diverse as the pornographic anguish of jealousy and the despair of psychotherapy, were collected in 1966 (The Ways of the Will) and 1976 (Lying, Despair, Jealousy, Envy, Sex, Suicide, Drugs, and the Good Life) and have been out of print for nearly twenty years. Based partly on his experiences as a therapist, but more importantly on his special insight, Dr. Farber's observations provide us with a unique glimpse into ourselves that is frequently startling, but in the end always consoling.

Excerpt

Several of the essays in this book belong to the period of my interest in the subject of will--the nature of will itself, its function as a category of psychological understanding, and its role in such forms of human distress as anxiety, envy, despair, and so on. "Thinking About Will" may serve as a brief introduction to this group, setting forth the basic structure of my understanding of the will as one of the authors of our lives.

Just as my absorption with will grew over me unawares (I had been tracking it for years before I knew its name), so it departed from the center of my attention stealthily, too; at least it yielded to a new interest that did not announce itself thematically at once, either, but eventually, after several articles, was easily identified as men-and-women, natures-and- relation-of. I did not--have not--by any means abandoned my concern with will; it continues to inform my thinking on most subjects.

It has often been remarked that my choice of subject matter is not upbeat: betrayal, despair, hysteria, deceit--what about trust, happiness, serenity, truthfulness, even love? What about them, indeed--for they are, of course, in a sense, my ultimate subjects. But it is not my capacity or inclination to look upon such matters steadily or whole. Common items though they may be in experience, I cannot confront them directly with my pen without falsifying or trivializing. Since it is my object to see these most precious and elusive concerns in their proper relation to our experience as a whole, I

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