Cover image for Equals
Phillips, Adam.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
xiii, 246 pages ; 21 cm
Reading Level:
1270 Lexile.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC506 .P55 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



If the best thing we do is look after each other, then the worst thing we do is pretend to look after each other when in fact we are doing something else. Psychoanalysis teaches us the dangers of this paradox--and, in doing so, gives us fair warning about the perils of all social endeavors. In one way, the talking cure can be seen as a kind of listening cure. And learning to listen and be listened to is a skill upon which democracy itself depends.Written in his beloved epigrammatic and aphoristic style, Equals extends Phillips's essayistic probings into the psychological and the political, bringing his trenchant wit to such subjects as the usefulness of inhibitions and the paradox of permissive authority. He explores why citizens in a democracy are so eager to establish levels of hierarchy when the system is based on the assumption that every man is created equal. And he ponders the importance of mockery in group behavior and the psyche's struggle as a metaphor for political conflict.

Author Notes

Adam Phillips is the author of six previous books, including "The Beast in the Nursery" & "Monogamy" (both available form Vintage). Formerly the principal child psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in London, he lives in England.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Though Equals is psychoanalyst-essayist Adam Phillips's (On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored) attempt to branch out into political thinking, the best essays in the collection, many of which have been previously published, are the ones about Freud and his followers. Particular standouts include "Around and About Madness," in which Phillips argues that "madness like what we call pornography is that which we cannot remain indifferent to," and his reviews of John Lanchester's Mr Phillips ("that hitherto unthinkable, almost absurd thing, a great English Existential novel") and Ray Monk's biography of Bertrand Russell. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Superioritiesp. 3
On Being Laughed Atp. 32
Against Inhibitionp. 45
Under Psychoanalysis
Around and About Madnessp. 77
The Soul of Man under Psychoanalysisp. 89
The Strange, the Weird and the Uncannyp. 115
On What We Needp. 118
Making It Oldp. 144
Childhood Againp. 148
A Concentrated Rushp. 156
Svengalip. 171
Isherwoodp. 185
Mr Phillipsp. 198
Russellp. 211
Ravelsteinp. 223
Steinbergp. 235