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One of the most important books to appear on the subject of love since Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving. Gaylin (Feelings: Our Vital Signs, Caring, The Rage Within: Anger in Modern Life) explores the narcissistic ways of 20th-century Man, how he got where he did, and how he can burst out of the malaise into a true, selfless, committed love. Gaylin argues that ""love is a central condition of human existence. We need it for survival; we seek it for pleasure; we require it to lend meaning and purpose to ordinary existence. . ."" The problem is that modern man has developed more of a concern with being lovable, thus loved, than with loving. This is where the narcissism comes in and with it, a frenzied quest for pleasure, visible in the sexual revolution of the past couple of decades. Rediscovering Love offers pearls on every page. But Gaylin's final chapter, ""The Case for Loving: Beyond Pleasure,"" gives us 30 of the most cogent pages ever written on the modern condition. ""If,"" he writes, ""our culture is eroding those conditions in which love flourishes, we must change the conditions of our culture."" Gaylin's philosophy should be embraced by both religious and agnostic elements of the populace. To the latter, he contends that love ""offers the only defense against the apparent absurdity of an existential world. . .it provides a special kind of immortality through the extension of our traits, our values, our very identity beyond our limited time of biological existence. . .spinning fine connecting lines in all directions down through generations, creating a tangled and mysterious web of immortality."" A crucial work on both the esoteric and popular levels.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1986
Publisher: Viking