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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illusrates ably the complexities of human relationships.
Dr. Laings book, Knots, illustrates in terms we can easily understand the unusual complexities of human relationships, particularly involving loving or not loving. With apparent child-like simplicity Dr. Laing demonstrates for us what is intuitively complex and daunting. He clarifies what for us is emotional and psychological, using the knot as a metaphore for what...
Published on 21 Nov 1998

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3.0 out of 5 stars knotty
Knots is interesting to glance through, but once you've seen what Laing is saying, then the desire to unravel his convoluted text fades away. Its a sort of illustration to the confusions and interweaving patterns that people get lost in during their lives.
Published 12 months ago by suze


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illusrates ably the complexities of human relationships., 21 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Dr. Laings book, Knots, illustrates in terms we can easily understand the unusual complexities of human relationships, particularly involving loving or not loving. With apparent child-like simplicity Dr. Laing demonstrates for us what is intuitively complex and daunting. He clarifies what for us is emotional and psychological, using the knot as a metaphore for what we want to see about our relationships that is clouded and only vaguely sensed. To clarify is to confirm. To make visible what is troubling is to give the reader respect for their intuition and possibly even a grasp of how to deal with our relations with each otherl. The power of understanding our relating to others is here in a short text from which we can begin to unknot our mental perplexity and achieve for ourselves satisfying or at the very least, understood, relations with those we love.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our tangled lives and the games we play, 2 Dec 1997
By A Customer
'Knots' is Laing's dark, ultra-perceptive account of human relationships. Taking observed situations and distilling them into sets of exact, clear sentences, Laing achieves just the balance between the specific and the general to ensure that you will recognise each portrait either in your acquaintances or, most disturbingly, in yourself. Broadly mirroring the pattern of a life, from a child's observation of adults, through adult sexual relationships and finally to the nihilistic aspects of old age, 'Knots' was and still is a ground-breaking work, and when taken in context with Laing's other writings, forms a formidable source of insight into daily life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!!, 31 May 2011
By 
This book is a must read for every thinking human being! It got me through my teenage years in terms of understanding the complexity of human relationships and the self. A timeless classic - a masterpiece.
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4.0 out of 5 stars delineates the tortuous circuits of the human mind that lock us into the perverse logic of ‘double binds’, 24 Mar 2014
This review is from: Knots (Hardcover)
Described by Laing as “knots, tangles, fankles, impasses, disjunctions, whirligogs, binds” this little book delineates the tortuous circuits of the human mind that lock us into the perverse logic of ‘double binds’ that imprison us in cages largely characterised by guilt. Thus, for example,

They are playing a game. They are playing at not
playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I
shall break the rules and they will punish me.
I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.

So,

it hurts Jack
to think
that Jill thinks he is hurting her
by (him) being hurt
to think
that she thinks he is hurting her
by making her feel guilty
at hurting him
by (her) thinking
that he is hurting her
by (his) being hurt
to think
that she thinks he is hurting her

This kind of stuff goes on for pages and is represented various ways involving brackets, lists, indexing, feedback loops until whole pages are filled with meaningless looking lists of jabbered repetitions which, if one reads them carefully nonetheless have their own logic.

Eventually the book finishes with what appears to be some quasi Wittgensteinian/Buddhist observations that really do not help at all and may, perhaps, not really be intended to. On the other hand they may provide a kind of unintended ironic postscript in which what is meant to give context actually proves to be more gibbering.

R.D. Laing was a leading proponent of what became known as ‘the anti-psychiatry movement ‘, was always a provocateur, and this little book I think was justly infamous in its day for taking the phenomenology of mental disturbance seriously.

In my late teens I read quite a bit of RD Laing and found him both engaging and threatening - he appeared at times to be glorying in the linguistics of mental torment in a way that was not altogether helpful to anyone experiencing such torments. Eventually I encountered him at a poetry event in Hampstead pub, he is one of the few people whose autograph I’ve ever bothered to get, and it was only seeing him ‘live’, so to speak, that I appreciated that there is humour, gentleness and hope in his work (not all of which seem evident in this book).

Laing remains an important thinker and reading this was a useful reminder of that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars R D Laing - Knots, 10 Dec 2013
By 
MarcF (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Knots (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a great book - making neuroses entertaining. I made a mistake getting rid of my copy in the 80s - not least because of the prices it sells for now. I'm just very pleased to have it again. It was securely packed and in very good condition - pretty much as described by the seller, if anything, somewhat better than they made it sound.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Knots indeed!, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Knots (Paperback)
Symptomatic of the era. Self-Indulgent. Not (sic) sure why I bothered to read this. But like a tannic old wine - will keep and see if it pens up with age.....
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3.0 out of 5 stars knotty, 16 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Knots (Mass Market Paperback)
Knots is interesting to glance through, but once you've seen what Laing is saying, then the desire to unravel his convoluted text fades away. Its a sort of illustration to the confusions and interweaving patterns that people get lost in during their lives.
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3.0 out of 5 stars nice ideas but repetitive, 21 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Knots (Mass Market Paperback)
some very nice ideas but quite repetitive, not sure it's worth it but anyway quite interesting, specially form an historical point of view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Psychology Unravelled, 15 Jun 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Knots (Hardcover)
Laing stripped to the essence in a series of self composed "sonnets". Either they connect or they do not. The "knots" reveal the games of power, intrigue and need. They compelement his work on elusion. In particular the impact of psychological violence is exposed. They all point to the need to maintain genuine relationships based on an inner self confidence and belief rather than being drawn into psychological webs of deceit.

They will need reflection and thought. It is never easy as there are reams of double/triple negatives to work through. If there is no self work there is no reflection and no change. If it does leave you cold, leave it for a while and then come back to give it another try. I am sure the pictures will eventually begin to form. I can only judge by myself and it took a few attempts. Now I have caught the mood I can apply it within situations and allows me to backtrack and seek solutions rather than continuing with the game.

It is a good introduction into psychology for anyone who wants to wade in without needing to do the degree work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Condensed Neurosis, 7 July 2009
By 
J. T. Howell (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book condenses every neurosis and psychosis into elequent prose. If you are a student of human psychology it is a must have book. The product of a life of therapeutic work.
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Knots
Knots by R.D. Laing (Mass Market Paperback - 25 May 1972)
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