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Dr. Assagioli is-out to rehabilitate the Will -- hitherto damned by post-Freudian psychology as that stern, forbidding, repressive thing the Victorians invented. This may seem like a curious project, especially when you notice that his book is being published under the auspices of let-it-all-hang-out Esalen, the fountainhead of spontaneity, uninhibition and the sensuous flow. Not only that but he calls it a ""training manual"" and has set up an international organization, the Psycho-synthesis Institute, to develop a worldwide Will Project to promote peace and international brotherhood. All this had us reeling until Dr. Assagioli explained that the Will is not to be thought of as a policeman but a theatrical director -- making skillful use of emotion, intuition, impulse and imagination to produce the self-realizing, self-actualizing human being. Thus transfigured (or radically redefined) the Will becomes a source of joy -- but not before Assagioli has delved into medieval scholasticism to analyze its nature, properties, stages and relationship to the Universal Will. None of this is anywhere nearly as outlandish as it sounds and a great deal turns out to be common sense and simply a sober and thoughtful reaction against the cult of ""unbridled spontaneity"" and infantile ego-gratification so often associated with the encounter movement. And if you can wink at the exhortatory call (with suggested exercises) for Will improvement, Dr. Assagioli has made an interesting contribution to what he calls a ""coherent psychology of joy.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1973
Publisher: Viking