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The Way We Are

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Allen Wheelis starts from the premise that human beings do not know themselves because deception—including self-deception—is not only a strategy for survival, it is the basis of the social contract whereby man trades his individual freedom for the security of a tribe or state. Are we really motivated by ideals such as freedom, equality, and justice? In fact these are only ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published August 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published August 1st 2006)
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Zoltan
Sep 15, 2015 Zoltan rated it it was amazing
It is a short book, concise, and cuts to the core of the human condition. Death, consciousness, love and power: the things we all are struggling with. It was written near the end of his life, with great clarity, but somehow with little hope or optimism. This is the way we are.

In one sense, it's comforting to know that I'm not alone, that everyone is struggling with these, that this is the human condition. On the other hand, I hope, I hope there is hope.
Stephen
Sep 19, 2007 Stephen rated it it was ok
A thoroughly pessimistic book of "philosophy," I found it interesting, but Wheelis, though a practicing psychoanalyst, seems only able to rehash Schopenhauer, Hobbes, and Foucault, among other. Better to read the originals.
Maribel
Apr 01, 2008 Maribel rated it liked it
Psychology and philosophy, my two favorite subjects. This is a short book but there is so much to think about in every paragraph. It was thoroughly thought provoking either inciting positive or negative reactions to his personally developed ideas.
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“I remember a spring night in a school auditorium, during the rehearsal of a play. I am thirteen. I am weary of the farce, weary of the silliness of the cast, of our endless horseplay, mindlessness. A scene in which I have no part is being rehearsed; I stand in an open door at the rear of the dark and empty hall. A storm is under way. The door is on the lee of the building, and I step out under the overhang. The rain swirls and beats. Lightning reveals a familiar schoolyard in a ghostly light. I feel a sudden poignancy. Images strike my mind. The wind is the scream of a lost spirit, searching the earth and finding no good, recalling old bereavements, lashing the land with tears. Consciousness leaves my body, moves out in time and space. I undergo an expanding awareness of self, of separateness, of time flowing through me, bearing me on, knowing I have a chance, the one chance all of us have, the chance of a life, knowing a time will come when nothing lies ahead and everything lies behind, and hoping I can then look back and feel it well spent. How, in the light of fixed stars, should one live?” 2 likes
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