THE PLIANT ANIMAL: Understanding the Greatest Human Asset by George Weinberg

THE PLIANT ANIMAL: Understanding the Greatest Human Asset

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The Greatest Human Asset"" is our ability to change ourselves by changing our outlook. Now this is not the most profound of discoveries, though Dr. Weinberg writes quite movingly--if somewhat loosely--of the ""descent"" of psychology from a study designed to help people change themselves to a specialist's controlling tool. In upholding free will against the forces of determinism and fatalism, Weinberg is echoing much of the self-help movement; and he nods to this trend with a final section on the ""practical"" side of pliancy: here, that means philosophical essays on the psychological benefits of helping a friend, of imparting values to one's children, even of literary insights. Altogether the book extends outward from--and, to some extent, recapitulates--Dr. Weinberg's position in Self Creation (1978) that one's actions tend to reinforce (or even create) one's outlook: ""we can choose acts for their anticipated effects on ourselves."" If his review of the history-of-psychology is somewhat facile (and decidedly narrow), he could help the dispirited who only need a little encouragement.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's