In a society governed by indulgence and excess, madness is the state of mind we identify with most keenly. Though ultimately destructive, it is often credited as the wellspring of genius, individuality, and self-expression. Sanity, on the other hand, confounds us. One of the world's most respected psychoanalysts and original thinkers, Adam Phillips redresses this historical imbalance. He strips our lives back to essentials, focusing on how we—as human beings, parents, lovers, as people to whom work matters—can make space for a sane and well-balanced attitude to living. In a world saturated by tales of dysfunction and suffering, he offers a way forward that is as down-to-earth and realistic as it is uplifting and hopeful.
Unforbidden Pleasures is the singular new book from Adam Phillips, the author of Missing Out, Going Sane, and On Balance. Here, with his signature insight and erudition, Phillips takes Oscar Wilde as a springboard for a deep dive into the meanings and importance of the unforbidden, from the fall of our "first parents," Adam and Eve, to the work of the great psychoanalytic thinkers.
Forbidden pleasures, he argues, are the ones we tend to think about, yet when you look into it, it is probable that we get as much pleasure, if not more, from unforbidden pleasures than from those that are taboo. And we may have underestimated just how restricted our restrictiveness, in thrall to the forbidden and its rules, may make us. An ambitious book that speaks to the precariousness of modern life, Unforbidden Pleasures explores the philosophical, psychological, and social dynamics that govern human desire and shape our everyday reality.
We are all storytellers—we create stories to make sense of our lives. A moving collection of short, personal encounters between a psychoanalyst and his patients, The Examined Life reveals how the art of insight can illuminate the most complicated, confounding, and human of experiences. Ultimately, these stories show us not only how we love ourselves but how we might find ourselves.