FEELINGS: Our Vital Signs by

FEELINGS: Our Vital Signs

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In an effort to redress the balance, Dr. Gaylin examines aspects of human life ""slighted"" by the psychological community--everyday feelings--and demonstrates their centrality and importance. To his credit, he does his darndest to avoid what could be dry, unemotional pontification; although at times it gets a little soupy, he does attempt to liven up the text with light remarks (""How in the world did a nice emotion like pride get elected first of the seven deadly sins?"") and broadly ranging examples (from the Bible to Dickens, Camus, Virginia Woolf). Included are signals for survival--feeling anxious, guilty, ashamed, proud; plus cautionary signals--feeling upset, tired, bored, envious, used; and signals of success--feeling touched, moved, or just plain good. Feeling bored, for example, is a warning, often a prelude to depression; unlike the fashionable 19th-century ennui, a romantic boredom which the individual settles for, contemporary boredom can serve a purpose, alerting the individual to recognize a potentially dangerous deficit. Feeling pride relates more to doing well than doing good. Feeling touched (or hurt) includes some element of surprise. Feeling good--here the psychoanalyst moves gingerly--involves ""a sense of hope, mastery, self-confidence, and self-esteem."" Gaylin takes care to make fine discriminations, to note connections and misconceptions. A more serious and probing approach than the self-help books, more everyday-oriented than most academic undertakings.

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row