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Commonplaces

Piquant excerpts lifted from Touchstone editors' own reading & listening.



When psychoanalysis frees a patient from the tyranny of his inner compulsions, it gives him a power that is not otherwise his. . . . This ultimate technology aims at increasing the range of choice. Yet, without a parallel range of god-terms from which choices may be derived and ordered, choice itself becomes a matter of indifference, or man will become a glutton, choosing everything. There is no feeling more desperate than that of being free to choose, and yet without the specific compulsion of being chosen. After all, one does not really choose; one is chosen. . . . What men lose when they become as free as gods is precisely that sense of being chosen, which encourages them, in their gratitude, to take their subsequent choices seriously. Put in another way, this means: Freedom does not exist without responsibility.

Philip Rieff
The Triumph of the Therapeutic (1961)


Society Commonplaces #40 July/Aug 2019

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