THE DARK EYE IN AFRICA by Laurens van der Post
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THE DARK EYE IN AFRICA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Readers of this author's Venture To The Interior(1951) and his well received novel, Flanmingo Feather published earlier this year, will rightly expect this philosophical psychoanalysis of the turbulent conditions in Africa to be fascinating -- and it is, tying in the symptoms there with their part of the universal unrest, of unrest in the modern world. The book is in the form of a lecture which the author gave at a combined meeting of the . J. Jung institute and the Psychological Club of Zurich in March, 1954, and of the discussion which followed the talk. As a background for the local situation that is his special interest, he names unrest in time, global unrest, a combination of British and European unrest, and finally Africa's special problems which illustrate and focus these other forms. Europeans in Africa have taken away the Africans' primitive values and institutions but have refused them admittance into the ""civilized"" community as equals and now the Africans are beginning to fight back to prevent a loss of their individual and national soul. The ""dark eye"", going berserk after a life of obedience and gentleness, is a Malay expression for this. This same symptom is expressed in Europeans in Africa (and elsewhere) through the development of and reliance on reason at the expense of repressing the ""natural man"" in themselves and, because of this, they have been stirred to hatred of those who seem to typify this repressed part of themselves. He extends this conflict between light and repressed dark and finds that, through projection, it can explain all wars, unrest, etc. The solution would be to come to terms with this repressed part of our nature and not to hate it, but to learn from it. The discussion amplifies various aspects of his argument: religions, political, economical, historical, mythological, social, etc. van der Post writes beautifully and, for the most part, with lucidity. Recent books on Africa and its problems will have widened the market for this and its appeal to those interested in the human elements of current racial and national tensions, while van der Post's name carries an authority.

Publisher: Morrow