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Goldberg, A. (1999). Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul: Jonathan Lear. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press. 1998. Pp. 342. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(2):409-410.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(2):409-410

Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul: Jonathan Lear. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press. 1998. Pp. 342

Review by:
Arnold Goldberg

An artist friend of mine once suggested to me that I might benefit from trying to look at some of my familiar sights—perhaps on a routine walk—in a different way, say from a changed perspective or by concentrating on a detail that I had not much noticed. I was initially surprised to realise how much of my seeing had become captured by habit, indeed how I seemed only to be alerted to the deviations in scenes that I had become so accustomed to seeing, so that even a slight change from routine became more of an irritant than a curiosity. I have no doubt that this comfort of familiarity is a member of many a psychoanalytic household, and so, many of us prefer even our reading to fit the regularity of life as well as of our ideas about psychoanalysis. Now comes an artist on the scene, one who gently coaxes us to look at things anew.

Actually this artist is not a new arrival to the analytic scene, and it seems he has been in our midst for some time, and so perhaps that is why he stirs curiosity without irritation. However, the first thing that one must say about this latest book of Jonathan Lear's is that it is filled with eye-openers. From the mere adjusting of or squinting our eyes up to the open-mouthed startle of discovery, each of these essays in a book aptly titled ‘Open-Minded’ forces us to see things that we thought were all too familiar as remarkably fresh. Although one can never be sure if the readership for this book is meant to be a newcomer to psychoanalysis or a hardened veteran of the analytic scene, and while some of us may squint and others may stare, I suspect that nothing in psychoanalysis will look quite the same after (as the book's sub-title names it) the workout.


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