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Inspector, Y. (2012). Hell, Daniel. Soul Hunger: The Feeling Human Being and the Life Sciences. Switzerland: Daimon Verlag, 2010. Pp. viii + 361. Hbk. $23.56 / £19.13. J. Anal. Psychol., 57(3):396-398.
   

(2012). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 57(3):396-398

Hell, Daniel. Soul Hunger: The Feeling Human Being and the Life Sciences. Switzerland: Daimon Verlag, 2010. Pp. viii + 361. Hbk. $23.56 / £19.13

Review by:
Yoram Inspector

The book's title takes one straight into the intense conflict that the psychiatrist Daniel Hell (who was Director of the University Hospital of Psychiatry in Zurich, the famous Burghölzli) tries to explore and contain: the ‘Soul’ that is commonly associated with the spiritual and the religious versus the ‘Hunger’ that evokes primal, bodily, visceral sensations. ‘The Feeling Human Being’ refers to the subjective and the personal domain versus the Life Sciences that are striving to be objective and collective.

In his sophisticated (yet jargon free) and multilayered text Hell succeeds in what Winnicott (1966) describes as the challenge of the psycho-somatist: ‘to ride two horses, one foot on each of the two saddles, with both reins in his deft hands’. I will add this book to the survival kit that helps me to stay alive and hopefully soulful in the phenomenological, statistical and pharmacological world of the 21st century psychiatrist. (In this kit I already have books by two other psychiatrists: C.G. Jung's The Psychogenesis of Mental Disease [CW3] and Robert F. Hobson's Forms of Feeling [1985] - both of whom speak a very similar language to Professor Hell.)

Hell's message is repeated in variations throughout the book but it can be found in a concise form in the concluding section:

While various forms of psychological misery are accompanied by altered cerebral function, this does not adequately explain the personal experience.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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