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The Facts of Life Paperback – 27 Oct 1977

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (27 Oct. 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014004423X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140044232
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 572,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Has a brilliant intro to a family history and how the dynamics flow, then it shifts to reflect upon birth trauma and how this impacts upon later adult psychologies. For me however this was more speculative and difficult to relate back to working with people. The key impact however were the snippets from psychiatry, the first things medical students learn is how to bash in frogs heads and then study their nervous systems.

Laing focuses on the inherent inhumanity within "medicine" showing from inception that it is based on a form of desensitisation which allows Doctors to reduce people to their symptoms as specimens. Gone is the person, removed in a flash, showing the inherent bogus facade of a pseudo science such as psychiatry.

Naturally those immersed within this bogus creed vilified him, in the same way that Copernicus and Galileo were terrorised by the Catholic Church, because Laing undermined the belief in the sanctity of this "profession" which is all bells and whistles. Psychiatric practitioners are those who project their inability to connect to others a s a form of ersatz professionalism, based upon the objectification inherent within the natural sciences.

The book does go for a wander when Laing describes the effects of the birth experience and how this affects later life. However he raises the question of how many of us were truly wanted and greeted with euphoria. This is the crux for later human development. And it is how people are treated as human beings which shapes their later development.

Therefore this book ranges across a series of themes and appears as a collection of out takes but it is very interesting due to its range.
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By Mr. D. P. Jay on 9 April 2015
Format: Paperback
A fascinating 'meditation' on the theme of 'What is Man' which protests against the scientific view of man as a machine, which atomises him and regards the psyche as merely part of the brain.

After a brief account of his own childhood, he muses speculatively about life in the womb and the experiences of the foetus which might affect him in later life. He wonders if certain standard, universal myths such as the ones Jung identifies as archetypal symbols could have been the result of experiences in the womb e.g. Sargon was brought forth in a hidden place (conception in uterine tube); is placed in river in a reed basket (implantation) and later becomes king (birth) cf. Moses. If the subconscious is formed in the womb, later needs for warmth and protection, later striving to be on top, to be out of a crushing environment are 'programmed' deep in our subconscious - which has many implications for religious belief systems.

The experience of constriction and then of being squeezed but finally achieving liberation and a sense of individual identity is mused upon in relation to the experience of being born. This is paralleled with the leaving home of the adolescent when his parents constrict him and he is uncertain of whether or not he wants to remain securely protected by his parents, and by the leaving of a lover for a new partner which can be harder than it is to stay. Liberation and birth are identified - the theologian might similarly equate creation with salvation and Frances Young's writings on atonement are relevant here and maybe feminist theology is nearer to the psychological and existential truth of archetypal Christian revel¬ation that many, who are not 'in touch with their feelings' realise.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'What is man?' 9 April 2015
By Mr. D. P. Jay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A fascinating 'meditation' on the theme of 'What is Man' which protests against the scientific view of man as a machine, which atomises him and regards the psyche as merely part of the brain.

After a brief account of his own childhood, he muses speculatively about life in the womb and the experiences of the foetus which might affect him in later life. He wonders if certain standard, universal myths such as the ones Jung identifies as archetypal symbols could have been the result of experiences in the womb e.g. Sargon was brought forth in a hidden place (conception in uterine tube); is placed in river in a reed basket (implantation) and later becomes king (birth) cf. Moses. If the subconscious is formed in the womb, later needs for warmth and protection, later striving to be on top, to be out of a crushing environment are 'programmed' deep in our subconscious - which has many implications for religious belief systems.

The experience of constriction and then of being squeezed but finally achieving liberation and a sense of individual identity is mused upon in relation to the experience of being born. This is paralleled with the leaving home of the adolescent when his parents constrict him and he is uncertain of whether or not he wants to remain securely protected by his parents, and by the leaving of a lover for a new partner which can be harder than it is to stay. Liberation and birth are identified - the theologian might similarly equate creation with salvation and Frances Young's writings on atonement are relevant here and maybe feminist theology is nearer to the psychological and existential truth of archetypal Christian revel¬ation that many, who are not 'in touch with their feelings' realise.

Cutting the umbilical cord is a common metaphor for leaving home and the warmth of rdturning to it in early days after the leaving is also a common experience.

A very moving passage describes the growth of one cell into the mature human, using scientific language in a way that evokes awe and wonder, that at the moment of our conception, the microcosm of our future is contained.

This marvelling at each individual as unique as a centre of emotions and thoughts has ethical implications. The surgeon who talks of a ward as full of prolapses rather than as Mr. X, Miss Y &c. has dehumanised his patients - experiments with rats reinforce this, as syndromes are studied, not human beings as unique streams of consciousness. Humans often come to behave in the way scientific atomisation treats them - they read a book about the scenery they are passing in a train rather than actually looking out of the window at what is there. This lack of wholeness goes deep into the life of twentieth century- urban man; it is certainly in evidence in our secondary schools, with timetabled subjects which regard disciplines as discrete - maybe it is the root of the problem.

Psychology becomes the study of minds, philosophy traces the causes of certain trends in thought without- judging its truth or falsehood and theology is engaged in reductionism and has lost touch with the numinous and with salvation as an holistic existence.

The book ends with a quotation by S. Catherine of Siena about Jesus being 'the way'.

I found this book to be a very impressive meditation on what is man and on what is at the root of sin. We sin when we behave as less than human, when we atomise, dissect, disassociate one part from another (Gnostic dualism?) and the disease spreads and self-fulfilling prophecy results in a civilisation astray from its own humanity.

There is more theology and spirituality in this book than in most of the theology I've read for a long time.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
RD Land is Brillant but sometimes hard to read. 1 Sept. 2013
By Don Miguel de Suza Whitney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author is a genius and captures the logic of supposed mental illness. I no longer believe in mental illness but of people who have truamas and pain and need support of others and to some extent professionals. Its those that are psychotic that need a Shaman or spiritual person rather than a medical doctor. Psychosis is healing process and should not be blocked by a system of care. RD Lang is a pioneer in the need for real support for people in need not drugs. MM
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