Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BROKEN IMAGE: Man, Science & Society by Floyd Matson

THE BROKEN IMAGE: Man, Science & Society

By

Publisher: Braziller

As audacious a swim in the conflicting currents of social and scientific thought as we have had in a decade. The author sustains himself like an Olympic medal winner until the home laps where, alas, he sinks. Just why should have been apparent from the outset, but that would have meant abandoning the banner under which he so valiantly swam, and which the reader so hopefully and/or hopelessly cheered. For it is Matson's thesis that out of the modern seitgeist of mechanization and manipulation, a countermovement is upspringing, one whose philosophical bearings are based in the New Science, suggesting the mending of the ""broken image"", that split between ""observing man and man observed"". Now some understandably urgent rhetoric is used but it seems simplistic. For instance Heisenberg's indeterminacy and Bohr's complementarity are taken as examples of neovitalism as against the straitjacketed methodology of behaviorists. But would these methodologists agree on such an historical formulation in the first place? And couldn't -- as has happened- the ""ambiguity"" of physics today be used by apologists of the ""absurd"", and not as a propellent towards purposeful transformations, a renewal of reason, of psychic indivisibility etc.? And is there not something oddly reactionary in projected psychotherapy of perception, a synthesis of mind and energy with the anti-Freudian, i.e. anti-unconscious, shibboleth ""that people often do what they o for the reasons they think they do""? Questions, questions, questions. Of course it is a measure of the book's vigor and intellectual importance that one eacts with such concern. Incidentally, the betes noire- Watson, Lundberg, asswell- are dealt some brilliant blows, and the Notes and References are a cholar's feast.