HONORING THE SELF by Nathaniel Branden


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Another stuffy, verbose credo by the repetitious author of The Psychology of Self-Esteem, The Disowned Self, The Romantic Love Question & Answer Book, etc. An Ayn Rand disciple and Los Angeles therapist, Branden intones that ""to honor the self is to practice selfishness in the highest, noblest, and least understood sense of that word."" In terms of psychological theory, this approach involves a little anti-Freudian emphasis on free-will--but mostly just longwinded jargon for basic, highly generalized principles of ego development: the need for self-esteem; the ways in which children do or don't get ego-reinforcement; the problems that arise when self-esteem is lacking--guilt, dependence on outside valuation, lack of self-acceptance; passivity, defense mechanisms. (""I call any value chosen to support pseudo-self-esteem a defense value."") As for treatment, Branden gives examples of his sentence-completion techniques (cf. If You Could Hear What I Cannot Say), while also recommending meditation/relaxation methods for increasing self-awareness. And, after touching briefly on death anxiety (""fear of autonomy entails fear of self-responsibility entails fear of identity entails fear of aloneness entails fear of death""), he offers some Rand-ish thoughts on the self in society--affirming the nobility of ""proself, individualist ethics."" Kernels of truth float here and there, but they're mired in a soggy replay of Me Decade terminology at its most pompous: more an incentive to snooze than self-actualize.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1984
Publisher: Tarcher--dist. by Houghton Mifflin