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Harris, A.J. (2010). On Balance. Adam Phillips. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010. 336 pp.. Mod. Psychoanal., 35(1):135-137.

(2010). Modern Psychoanalysis, 35(1):135-137

On Balance. Adam Phillips. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010. 336 pp.

Review by:
Amanda Jeremin Harris

The mind behind the essays in Adam Phillips's On Balance is poised in an attitude of intentional ambiguity. As he intimates in his description of “The Authenticity Issue,” Phillips has cultivated this stance as a means of loving the innately human. Indeed, he notes, “[this] is what love does, it cures us of our belief in authenticity, as though the idea of authenticity is something we use to protect ourselves from love” (p. 117). Here, we can read the word “authenticity” to imply the belief in one ultimate psychic truth—a belief Phillips seems not to hold with. Rather than protect himself from the difficulty of his love, Phillips's love of the human, which is everywhere apparent in the text, is multifaceted, and highly conflicted.

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