The book Heresies by Thomas Szasz delivers insights into the human condition. Szasz’s insightful observations of human psychology never cease to inform me. Since I have read Szasz’s other aphoristic works such as The Second Sin, The Untamed Tongue, and Words to the Wise, I did not think Szasz could continue to inform me. Szasz’s ability to express himself in a poetic and informative way is unknown to me by another author. Reading Heresies was a delight. It is like having a conversation with a wise friend. If you have not delved into Szasz’s aphoristic books, take a look at the many quotes I’ve reproduced in my post of The Second Sin and work your way from there.
The book, The Philosophical Practitioner, is a surprisingly interesting novel about a man who makes a living by talking to people about their moral dilemmas, and struggles of navigating life. His somewhat mundane life is interrupted when a femme fatale enters his office and points a gun at him and threatens to kill him. He is left trying to figure out what sort of quandary he has gotten himself into.
Existentialism (as I see it) is the idea that we can explain human behavior according to reasons (choices), not causes. To this end, I have been interested to read how existentialism is used as a practical tool to help people understand themselves and their lives. I picked up the book, Existential Perspectives On Coaching, edited by Emmy van Deurzen, to see if I could gain insight into how coaches use the existential approach to help people with problems in living.
The book, Stepping out of Plato’s Cave: Philosophical Counseling, Philosophical Practice, and Self-Transformation, was an interesting read about how one philosophical counselor who uses philosophy to help his clients understand and improve their lives. The author Ran Lahav, uses Plato’s Cave allegory to try to help people understand how they may be enslaving themselves inside a self-chosen cave.
The book, Plato, Not Prozac!: Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems, by Lou Marinoff, is one part sales pitch, and one part advice about how to live a life in accordance with the author’s personal values. Marinoff begins the book by arguing that problems in living are better solved by thinking philosophically rather than thinking medically. Rather than numbing ourselves with medication, or diagnosing oneself as mentally ill, Marinoff says we would be better off engaging in philosophical dialogue with another person.