HOW PEOPLE CHANGE by Allen Wheelis


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This extended essay -- 115 pages -- parts of which appeared originally in Commentary and in a novel The Desert -- is again representative of the freeform mode in which Dr. Wheelis writes; namely it is personal (e.g., the affecting episode re his authoritative, demanding, loving father), speculative, never didactic and always civilized. The main thrust gives variant forms of the contention that insight, while promoting change, will not necessarily produce it and that it proceeds from a natural progression of ""suffering, insight, will, action"" and cannot be reflexively conditioned (cf. Skinner). The other prominent concern here is freedom, ""the awareness of alternatives and the ability to choose"" although here again the finite is shaped by other factors -- the past for one. Wheelis, an agreeable if not seductive writer, imbues all his considerations with an air of open-ended fallibility and uncertainty -- ""The older I get the less I know, the darker the well of time.

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 1973
ISBN: 006090447X
Publisher: Harper & Row