The Divided Self: Summary Review

This is a summary review of The Divided Self containing key details about The Divided Self.

What is The Divided Self About?

"The Divided Self" by Ronald D. Laing is a seminal work in the field of existential psychology that explores the nature of human identity and its relationship to mental illness.

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In The Divided Self, the author's first purpose is to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible. In this, with case studies of schizophrenic patients, he succeeds brilliantly, but he does more: through a vision of sanity and madness as 'degrees of conjunction and disjunction between two persons where the one is sane by common consent' he offers a rich existential analysis of personal alienation. The outsider, estranged from himself and society, cannot experience either himself or others as 'real'. He invents a false self and with it he confronts both the outside world and his own despair.

Summary Points & Takeaways from The Divided Self

Some key summary points and takeaways from the book include:

* The Concept of the Divided Self: Laing argues that individuals can experience a split or division in their sense of self, resulting in feelings of alienation, estrangement, and a sense of being disconnected from others.

* The Roots of Mental Illness: Laing suggests that mental illness is often rooted in this sense of alienation and the feeling of being disconnected from one's own identity.

* The Impact of Society: Laing argues that society and cultural norms can play a role in creating and reinforcing this sense of division and alienation in individuals.

* The Importance of Relationships: Laing places a strong emphasis on the role of relationships in shaping and supporting a healthy sense of self and argues that a lack of supportive relationships can contribute to mental illness.

* A Humanistic Approach: Laing's approach to psychology is humanistic, placing a strong emphasis on empathy, understanding, and non-judgmental attitudes towards individuals experiencing mental health issues.

* The book is an important work for anyone interested in the relationship between identity, mental illness, and the impact of society and relationships on our sense of self.

Who is the author of The Divided Self?

Ronald David Laing, usually cited as R. D. Laing, was a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness – in particular, the experience of psychosis.

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Book details

  • Print length: 224 pages
  • Genre: Psychology, Nonfiction, Philosophy

What are the chapters in The Divided Self?

Chapter 1 The existential-phenomenological foundations for a science of persons
Chapter 2 The existential-phenomenological foundations for the understanding of psychosis
Chapter 3 Ontological insecurity
Chapter 4 The embodied and unembodied self
Chapter 5 The inner self in the schizoid condition
Chapter 6 The false-self system
Chapter 7 Self-consciousness
Chapter 8 The case of Peter
Chapter 9 Psychotic developments
Chapter 10 The self and the false self in a schizophrenic
Chapter 11 The ghost of the weed garden: a study of a chronic schizophrenic

What is a good quote from The Divided Self?

Top Quote: “In a world full of danger, to be a potentially seeable object is to be constantly exposed to danger. Self-consciousness, then, may be the apprehensive awareness of oneself as potentially exposed to danger by the simple fact of being visible to others. The obvious defence against such a danger is to make oneself invisible in one way or another.” (Meaning) - The Divided Self Quotes, Ronald D. Laing

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: "It is a study that makes all other works I have read on schizophrenia seem fragmentary. . . . The author brings, through his vision and perception, that particular touch of genius which causes one to say Yes, I have always known that, why have I never thought of it before?'" — Journal of Analytical Psychology

* The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways. If you want to enhance your personal growth, I recommend checking out my list of favorite personal growth books. These books have played a significant role in my life, and each one includes a summary and takeaways to help you apply the concepts.

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Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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