Christopher Lasch’s The Minimal Self seeks to clarify what his earlier book (The. Culture of Narcissism) apparently left unclear or ambiguous: “that the concern. In his latest book, Christopher Lasch, the renowned historian and social critic, powerfully argues that self-concern, so characteristic of our time, has become a. In “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations” (), Christopher Lasch described a sea change in the.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Faced with an escalating arms race, rising crime and terrorism, environmental deterioration, and long-term economic decline, people have retreated from commitments that presuppose a secure and orderly world.
In his latest book, Christopher Lasch, the renowned historian and social critic, powerfully argues that self-concern, so characteristic of our time, has become a searc Faced with an escalating arms race, rising crime and terrorism, environmental deterioration, and long-term economic decline, people have retreated from commitments that presuppose a secure and orderly world. In his latest book, Christopher Lasch, the renowned historian and social critic, powerfully argues that self-concern, so characteristic of our time, has become a search for psychic survival.
The Minimal Self | W. W. Norton & Company
Paperback1st paperback editionpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Minimal Self ths, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Sep 15, BlackOxford rated it it was amazing Shelves: He was, in my still to be formed mind, a chrostopher of all the social thought that mattered. From psychology to politics, from technology to sociology, he seemed to have assimilated everything that was known about modern society and he re-formulated that knowledge with astounding skill, grace and judgment.
Even so, reading him now after half a century, I find that I probably underestimated his thinking as much as I The Problem With Survival Christopher Lasch was an intellectual hero of my youth. Even so, reading him now after half a century, I find that I probably underestimated his thinking as much as I overestimated my ability to understand its implications. And Americans were paranoid – certainly not for the first time but in a manner lwsch was signally more desperate after their defeat in Vietnam, in the midst of profound economic woes and racial tension, and with a general feeling of being unable to control their lives.
In a word, used by Lasch, the country was beleaguered. Like the Boers in South Africa, Americans hunkered down. Its fear of what it might become in a future over which its influence was questionable had a dramatic change on its politics that few but Lasch noticed: Politically, America had reached a pivotal ideological and cultural point: It is inevitable that one encounters Trump in this description of the emerging personality of America.
This is a pretense because it masks profound feelings of inadequacy: It undermines their confidence in their capacity to understand and shape the world and to provide for their own needs.
It is ultimately destructive: The Trumpians are indeed driven by a passion. But this christoher is not directed to anything in particular, not even the improvement of their own economic or political status much less that of the nation. It refers to a self threatened with disintegration and by a sense of inner emptiness. To avoid confusion, what I have called the culture of narcissism might better be characterized, at least for minimsl moment, as a culture of survivalism.
Many parts of Lasch read like they were written yesterday not decades ago. He is sage in a manner that seems to have been largely lost among more recent social critics.
I find him inspirational as well as astute. One could do worse, therefore, than to revisit Lasch and his frightenly prescient work today. I intend to, and recommend him highly to others. View all 22 comments. Sep 21, Michael Perkins rated it really liked it. In an age of images and ideology, however, the difference between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly elusive. Here he describes the world and the culture of the 70’s and many of the attitudes and trends that are still with us.
It was era in which I went through high school and university. BlackOxford wrote a great review of this book, just this year, that I cannot improve on in the least What Lasch anticipated come to fruition in Trump Jan 20, Jenni Link rated it it was amazing.
A follow up to and clarification of Lasch’s more fam I picked this up selr it was mentioned in The Baffler’s review of Elizabeth Lunbeck’s ‘The Americanization of Narcissism’ http: A follow up to and clarification of Lasch’s more famous book ‘The Culture of Narcissism,’ it reminds us that Narcissus was not obsessed with himself, but with his mirror image in an object.
Similarly, the epidemic narcissism of modern society is not really self-obsession chriztopher egoism, but the weakened, unmoored self adrift in a sea of consumer culture, managerialism, mass marketing, and opinion survey-based indices of what’s “normal” and “healthy” struggling to find some object, any object a career, a cult, the newest smartphone, a ‘personal brand,’ a number of Facebook likes to project itself onto and thereby convince itself seld it still exists.
The examples used to illustrate sections on art, politics, and therapy were particularly good. Got me finally to watch ‘My Dinner with Andre,’ which is pretty much this book in movie form. Maybe it shows how sick I am that I love reading books with the theme ‘who wouldn’t feel sick in this sick, sick society? Kindness, care, public action for justice and advocacy for one’s fellow man: Lasch is not a cheery guy, but strangely, this book was a cheering reminder to do more than just survive from day to day.
Oct 10, Dennis rated it liked it. Some good stuff in this, but dated. The foundations of feminism and other progressive movements was interesting to follow. But, outdated over-reliance on Freud’s ego, superego, id makes this a relic. Aug 09, Tucker rated it really liked it Shelves: This book reads as a collection of essays across different disciplines or areas of thought. The subtitle is not very revealing. In part, teh book questions, rather than endorses, the goal of “survival.
It ignores questions of human flourishing including art, civilization, ethics, friendship, and so onand it lwsch the possibility of altruistic self-sacrifice for those goals, as s This book reads as a collection of essays across different disciplines or areas of thought.
It ignores questions of human flourishing including art, civilization, ethics, friendship, and so onand it eliminates the possibility of altruistic self-sacrifice for those goals, as self-sacrifice is at odds with the maintenance of one’s own bare life once the reasons for the self-sacrifice are taken away. Once people understand that, they will fight like hell for it. If survival is the overriding issue, people will take more interest in their personal safety than in the survival of humanity as a whole.
Those who base the case for conservation and peace on survival not only appeal to a debased system of values, they defeat their own purpose. No one can accuse opponents of nuclear war, as Mumford accused opponents of war inof forgetting that a life sacrificed at the right moment is a life well spent.
Sacrifice has no meaning if no one survives.
Christopher Lasch, “The Minimal Self: Psychic Survival in Troubled Times”
It is precisely the experience of mass death and the possibility of annihilation, among other developments, that have discredited the ethic of sacrifice and encouraged the growth of a survival ethic. A desire to survive at all mininal ceases to be wholly contemptible under conditions that call into question the future of humanity as a whole.
The same conditions have made the idea of timely sacrifice untenable. In the history of civilization, the emergence of conscience can be linked among other things to changing attitudes toward the dead. The idea that the dead call for revenge, that their avenging spirits haunt the living, and that the living know no peace until they placate these ancestral ghosts gives way to an attitude of genuine mourning.
At the same time, vindictive gods lazch way to christophee who show mercy as well and uphold the morality of loving your enemy. Such a morality has never achieved anything like general thf, but it lives on, even in our own enlightened age, as a reminder both of our fallen state and of our surprising capacity for gratitude, christppher, and forgiveness, by means of which we now and then transcend it.
Dec 10, James Andersen rated it liked it Shelves: What can one make of this book? One needs to christophet the authors views first, I think before one reads the book, because the author seems all over the place, at least it seemed christophef when this person was reading it. One minute you think you found someone who understands you in my case because of his rejection of progressivism in particular feminismthe next you think where has he gone off to again, in my case, because of the seeming moderate position he takes toward Progressivism.
Lasch, a What can one make lsch this book? Lasch, according to Wikipedia entry on him said that, he had fused social conservatism [especially for his support of the Traditional Family] with a Marxist critique of the economy, opposing Cold War Liberalism, and drew on Freudian minimmal to demonstrate the decline of the West.
Ultimately, he thought himself it would seem as Populist type. All of this is of course very interesting, and is what miniimal the book very interesting, and at time entangling a read.
He tackles in this book different aspects of society, to show how we are becoming an increasingly isolated peoples, yes there are more of us, but our minds are closing, and he shows us how in the various socio-cultural trends and politico-economic movements and ideologies that had emerged at the time he wrote this book back in One could read this book and see how almost 30 Minimak Later, you could get the sense that he is writing this about contemporary society.
Perhaps the same sense of Alarmism, Urgency, and Crisis that had gripped the Mids either has never died or has re-emerged its head producing very similar results which we are seeing again today. Its thr reviewers contention that if Mr.
Christopher Lasch was still alive today, he would probably look at society in the 80s and our Post’s society and think its the s Amplified to even more dramatic and louder heights, which would only point to how greatly our Self is Minimized and why we need to break out of such a Minimalist conception of ourselves, not only for our sakes but also, for the sake of Civilizations Survival, which in his view meant more so going back while recognizing where we are now and not becoming overly nostalgic.
Aug 25, Cameron Bernard rated it liked it. The way forward is neither Promethean or Narcissism, both of which have been embraced by modern selc. The self must again find a way to cultivate creation instead of dominate it or symbiotically become a part of it. Lasch also gives a fair critique minnimal conservative thought that seeks to turn back the clock to an authoritative view that rests on fear and respect alone.
A good conservativism is one that seeks forgiveness and reconciliation.
A good conservativism sees the self as always in ten The way forward is neither Promethean or Narcissism, both of which have been embraced thr modern liberalism. A good conservativism sees the self as always in tension between on weakness and moments of transcending our weakness through gratitude, remorse, and forgiveness. Sep 04, Dan rated it liked it. All the Freud and reaction christopheg Freud makes this the most dated-feeling Lasch I’ve read so far, but the stuff about the titular minimal self and the survival mentality is a great reimagining of what was misunderstood in The Culture of Narcissism.
Nov 14, Giuseppe D’Antonio rated it it was amazing Shelves: