On Kindness

On Kindness

Adam Phillips BarbaraTaylor / Apr 01, 2020
On Kindness Kindness is the foundation of the world s great religions and most enduring philosophies Why then does being kind feel so dangerous If we crave kindness with such intensity why is it a pleasure we
  • Title: On Kindness
  • Author: Adam Phillips BarbaraTaylor
  • ISBN: 9780374226503
  • Page: 255
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Kindness is the foundation of the world s great religions and most enduring philosophies Why, then, does being kind feel so dangerous If we crave kindness with such intensity, why is it a pleasure we often deny ourselves And why despite our longing are we often suspicious when we are on the receiving end of it In this brilliant book, the eminent psychoanalyst Adam PhillKindness is the foundation of the world s great religions and most enduring philosophies Why, then, does being kind feel so dangerous If we crave kindness with such intensity, why is it a pleasure we often deny ourselves And why despite our longing are we often suspicious when we are on the receiving end of it In this brilliant book, the eminent psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and the historian Barbara Taylor examine the pleasures and perils of kindness Modern people have been taught to perceive ourselves as fundamentally antagonistic to one another, our motives self seeking Drawing on intellectual history, literature, psychoanalysis, and contemporary social theory, this book explains how and why we have chosen loneliness over connection On Kindness argues that a life lived in instinctive, sympathetic identification with others is the one we should allow ourselves to live.Bursting with often shocking insight, this brief and essential book will return to its readers what Marcus Aurelius declared was mankind s greatest delight the intense satisfactions of generosity and compassion.
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      Published :2020-01-02T08:28:56+00:00

    About "Adam Phillips BarbaraTaylor"

      • Adam Phillips BarbaraTaylor

        Adam Phillips is a British psychotherapist and essayist.Since 2003 he has been the general editor of the new Penguin Modern Classics translations of Sigmund Freud He is also a regular contributor to the London Review of Books.Phillips was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1954, the child of second generation Polish Jews He grew up as part of an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins and describes his parents as very consciously Jewish but not believing As a child, his first interest was the study of tropical birds and it was not until adolescence that he developed an interest in literature He went on to study English at St John s College, Oxford, graduating with a third class degree His defining influences are literary he was inspired to become a psychoanalyst after reading Carl Jung s autobiography and he has always believed psychoanalysis to be closer to poetry than medicine.Adapted from.Phillips is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books He has been described by The Times as the Martin Amis of British psychoanalysis for his brilliantly amusing and often profoundly unsettling work and by John Banville as one of the finest prose stylists in the language, an Emerson of our time.


    1. I dislike this book When I first started reading it I noticed that there was absolutely no mention of Eastern conceptions of compassion and kindness That s fine, I thought, it s a short book I really enjoyed the section titled A Short History of Kindness But everything that follows is steeped in Freudian claptrap And it just goes on and on and on The book is only 114 pages long and I stopped at 60 Instinctually, I think Freud is horseshit The man s theories in no way correspond to how I view my [...]

    2. Truly a book for this moment Brilliant prose At the dark black heart of all the birthers and deathers out there is nice little knot of all American selfishness The belief that if we just all look out for ourselves it all works out just fine Phillips, hearkening back to the Stoics, Rousseau, Freud, Humes, Smith, and other thinkers, reminds us that it is our connection to others that makes us human.

    3. from KCPL, due 2009.1209 returnedThis book is a bit too cerebral for my taste Still plan to finish it, though.It seems to me that kindness is very simple, arising from the insight that there is no separation or essential difference between this and that, that all arises in awareness as part of awareness Kindness is an expression of the natural acceptance that awareness extends to itself, leading to the mutuality of the golden rule treating the apparent other as one would want to be treated, beca [...]

    4. This book was interesting, but not completely what I was hoping for I liked that the authors discussed why kindness in our current society is difficult, overlooked, and underappreciated However, they spent way too much time talking about the psychotherapy s take on kindness This pretty much only proved my thoughts that Freud thought that everything is about sex I don t agree, and I kind of felt like I was wasting my time reading about psychotherapy semantics The authors did have the occasional g [...]

    5. The history of kindness was interesting and insightful The rest relied far too heavily on psychoanalysis and Freudian theory, which is just a bunch of unsubstantiated explanations with little value outside of BSing a term paper I would have rather seen a comprehensive review of literature and peer reviewed studies on kindness and how it manifests itself, how we justify it, and how we value it.

    6. Kindness is very important to me I even have a friend named Kindness In Phillips and Taylor s study of the meaning and roots of kindness, a dichotomy is defined Kindness requires a level of vulnerability, an opening up of oneself, which we are not always willing to do Yet, performing acts of kindness makes us feel good, about ourselves, about others We expect to be treated kindly but are sometimes afraid yes, that s the word to open ourselves up The authors trace kindness through biology, religi [...]

    7. Dear Dominick, I read this book because of you.I m not always as kind as I would like to be, sometimes because I think it s funny to be crusty, sometimes because a certain harshness is the protective candy coating that hides my vulnerability.Anyway, you have many lovely qualities, but I have been especially touched by your kindness.So I m giving you this book not because I think you need its insights although it is kind of insightful , but as a token of the change you have inspired in me and, I [...]

    8. For those who have been through analysis, On Kindness makes a good case for the salience of this word within the accounts we continue to make of ourselves At least two chapters are intellectual history at least two read Freud in relation to Winnicott, no great surprise to fans of Adam Phillips, who goes around and around at times to evade criticizing Freud, but for whose ideas there would be no need for this book Freud doesn t talk about kindness, and it takes a therapist to wonder why, a histor [...]

    9. I feel divided regarding this book.The first three chapters are really interesting, but as soon Freud was mentioned I lost my interest in what I read I began to pay attention again when I moved to the last chapter.I think I was looking for something inspiring Also this book with its dry style didn t give me any particular insight on kindness and left me with a feeling that it lost its chance.

    10. I loved this book Offers an account of kindness as not merely a virtue, but a pleasure Brilliant account of how reductive and cynical psychoanalytic theory can distort our emotional lives And, best of all, ties together the personal analysis into a political account of how unkindess is expressed in neoliberal policies.

    11. Kindness, one could say, complicates one s relations with others in peculiarly subtle and satisfying ways and for a very simple reason Acts of kindness demonstrate, in the clearest possible way, that we are vulnerable and dependent animals, who have no better resource than each other If kindness previously had to be legitimized by a God or by gods, or located in women and children, it is because it has had to be delegated and sanctioned, and sacralized, and idealized, and sentimentalized because [...]

    12. Liked the first part discussing the historical significance of kindness versus the egoists Enjoyed the last part projecting kindness into a modern framework Didn t really need the middle section with all of the psychoanalytical whoop de do but the book is well worth the read, particularly in today s political and economic climates Kindness is not for losers, despite what Mr Trump and his minions believe.

    13. Much heavier than I expected, this book took me an age to make my way through I read the kindle edition, and wonder if the physical book may have offered some better cues to changes in perspective and theme I felt like I was sometimes thrown into a new school of thought with no warning I may have to reread this one to make sense of it.

    14. ah sweet perfection this book is insightful and extraordinary in its argument s chapter 4 freud was a rough go for all the convoluted ideas proving again that i am no freudian but chapter 5 clarifies the mess of freudian reasoning from ch 4 and ties together the main premise we love to be kind we are afraid to be kind we are kind please practice

    15. Wonderful essays attempts to revive our awareness, desire, and need to be kind and to be treated kindly This was a very thought provoking read, co authored by a historian and a psychoanalyst Both argue that what humans long for is an unromantic, or unsentimental kindness one that accommodates hostility and aggression, a kindness that bears conflict, that in some sense allows room for hate Phillips in particular draws on Freud and Donald Winnicott to argue that aggression itself can be a form of [...]

    16. We all know that being kind makes us feel good, and that being on the receiving end of an act of kindness can make all the difference in a difficult situation So why is it that kindness seems to be such a rare commodity Why is being kind often considered a weakness Clearly we, as a society, are deeply ambivalent about kindness This short book delves into the history of kindness, seeking to understand why we dismiss it as a weakness, the domain of selfless eccentrics, even while valuing the impac [...]

    17. An examination of the virtue from a historical and psychoanalytic perspective The historical is easy enough to grasp, though its assertion seems dubious that kindness formerly ran rampant What about all those witch burnings, child abandonment, state sponsored torture chambers and incessant warfare Perhaps she, the historian, is scratching at something I can t perceive The psychological is interesting and elusive Kindness, he suggests among much else that I dimly understood, frightens us not jus [...]

    18. There was much to think about within these pages I ve never thought about a characteristic like kindness as having social trends, so to speak but the best bits of this book examine changing cultural attitudes to kindness For example, once children were thought to be naturally kind this changed at some point to thinking they were naturally savages I think this kind of thinking still persists I would have liked a bit examination of current attitudes to kindness there is a good summary, but I woul [...]

    19. I found this book fascinating, in the way it was written A blend of psychology and philosophy, splayed in layman terms Why do I like it It was cerebral, yes, but less so than hard philo texts This has introduced me, step by step to snippets of the great philosophers of our times.I noticed Phillips seemed to quote Rosseau alot I think it is safe to say Rosseau is one of his favorite philosophers I liked how I was introduced to a sufficient breadth of work without having read them Seems like I hav [...]

    20. The first three chapters were fascinating What comes clear is the deep conflict we have toward kindness It s what we want toward us, and maybe even want to demonstrate it, yet so much of culture mitigates against kindness In a fast paced society that is competitive, acts of kindness are relegated to the margins We watch the occasional news story on tv, marvel at stories we read and think, The world would be a better place if people were kind to each other But we live our lives as if kindness sh [...]

    21. On Kindness is a sobering account of the origins and molecular structure of this behaviour Is it inherent or learnt based on our early experiences Directly linked to our gender and childhood or as a result of our adult desires Like the song lyric by Jewel in the end Kindness only matters I have lived by this rule and countless others such as Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself reading this book you are challenged to look deeper into your own actions and analyse why we commit acts of kindnes [...]

    22. This short but thought provoking book by British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips explores the history of kindness and suggests that in our modern day it is an undervalued asset, as egoism has taken hold He does admit that people with big egos accomplish things that people who are kinder don t, but the important message I took away from this book is that real kindness not nostalgia and sentimentality, which he labels as faux kindness entails seeing a person for who they are at the core and still bein [...]

    23. I feel rather divided regarding this slim volume The lead chapters and the final are quite the nice history of kindness and discussion of why we should be thoughtful and attentive about kindness itself as well as the idea of kindness in our everyday life and musings On the other hand, the middle couple of chapters are thoughts and speculations from a very classical psychoanalytic point of view, that I found neither particularly illuminating nor, in some cases, particularly accurate Depth psycho [...]

    24. This book was a huge disappointment I went into it expecting a wide ranging examination of the phenomenon of kindness between human beings why it happens, how it feels, how it binds us together Instead, I was met with a very spotty thirty page review of kindness in philosophy followed by a teeth grindingly tedious seventy page look at kindness through the lens of Freudian psychoanalysis Why is kindness often difficult between romantic partners Hint It s your mother Seriously This was the longest [...]

    25. While I did find the overall concept and much of the included information interesting, this just didn t grab me the way I want a challenging text to do It didn t move me and in the end I didn t feel much insight into human kindness I was aggravated by the length of the discussion that was devoted to Freud as I don t really get why sex and kindness was so extensively expounded upon plus honestly Freud skeeves me than ever now that I am a parent Not without thought provoking merit but fell a bit [...]

    26. Phillips makes some good points and overall the book is good I gave it three stars because Freud has absolutely nothing to do with a discussion on kindness Freud equated everything down to sex in some fashion This pollutes the ideology of kindness and does nothing to make the case for it To use Freud s theory of sex as an analogy for kindness is just odd, about as odd as a man who is as obsessed with sex as Freud was.

    27. A brief but interesting book on the history of kindness, followed by a Freudian take on kindness itself I thought that the history of kindness in the western world, at least was by far the best part of the book, though it started to fall apart when it came to the very Freudian take on kindness itself I m no expert on psychoanalysis and where it has gone since it was devised by Freud, if it has stood the test of time research but I thought it was thought provoking nonetheless.

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