Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning documents his experiences in concentration camps during Nazi occupation. During this time, Frankl lost his wife, his brother and parents in concentration camps. The first half of the book is a disturbing tale about how Jews should find meaning through Nazi dehumanization, while the second half of the book entitled, Logotherapy in a Nutshell, is a sales pitch for Frankl’s pseudo-religious therapy called, Logotherapy.
Can a person live a flourishing, purpose-filled life in spite of chronic illness and near constant pain? According to author Suzy Szasz, the answer is a resounding, “yes”. Szasz’s book, Lupus. Living With It: Why You Don’t Have To Be Healthy to Be Happy, is written with an enthusiasm for life. Despite her constant battle with the exhausting chronic illness, Lupus, Szasz retains her meaning in life by refusing to become a victim of her disease.
The book, Stoicism: A Stoic Approach To Modern Life, is a fantastic introduction to Stoicism. It is short (a good thing in my mind) and introduces the reader to the Stoic concept of how to live well despite the inherent struggles in life. I asked the author, Tom Miles, a few questions about what drew him to Stoicism in an interview below.
I recently had the chance to chat with author William Ferraiolo, about the philosophy of Stoicism and what brought him to write his book, Meditations on Self-Discipline and Failure: Stoic Exercise for Mental Fitness.
The idea that mental anguish is an illness is dehumanizing and destroys the concept of what it means to be a person. The concept of “mental illness” creates a less-than-human creature who’s distressing feelings and behaviors are illegitimate. For the existentialist, loneliness, boredom, despair, and meaninglessness, are central to life. They are problems to be overcome, not diseases to be cured.
In polite society, one does not question the medical model of addiction. To do so is considered unkind and unscientific.
Jeffrey Schaler shows his irreverence for conventional thinking in his book, Addiciton is a Choice. Schaler gives science, logic, and empirical observations to show that addiction is, in fact, a choice.
What is existentialism and what does it have to do with living a good life?
According to William Irwin, author of The Free Market Existentialist: Capitalism without Consumerism, existentialism is a philosophy of life that:
…reacts to an apparently absurd or meaningless world by urging the individual to overcome alienation, oppression, and despair through freedom and self-creation in order to become a genuine person1.
Can the mind be reduced to mere physio-chemical properties? Are experiences, thoughts, and feelings simply the product of chemical reactions in our brain? Atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel, rejects such a view of the mind. In his book Mind and Cosmos, Nagel points out that belief in the material reductionist view of the mind is almost certainly false.
For those interested in freedom, psychiatry and Thomas Szasz, the book Faith in Freedom gives the reader insight into Szasz’ commitment to freedom and personal autonomy.
In this podcast interview, I talk with Jeffery Schaler about his new book, Thomas Szasz: The Man and His Ideas. Thomas Szasz was an iconoclastic psychiatrist who did not believe in the concept of mental illness. He saw emotional distress as, “problems of living”. We talk about Szasz and what he meant when he wrote that he did not believe in “mental illness”.
What is Autonomous Psychotherapy?
The Ethics of Psychoanalysis is a brilliant book on how to practice ethical psychotherapy. But, what is psychotherapy to a psychiatrist who does not believe in mental illness?
Are some drugs dangerous and other drugs safe?
In his book, Ceremonial Chemistry Thomas Szasz details how drugs such as opium has been used for thousands of years, yet suddenly come to be considered dangerous. For author Thomas Szasz, addiction lies in the meaning that we assign to chemicals; not the chemical makeup of the drugs themselves.