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Clayton Morgareidge: DEMYSTIFYING DEMONS

October 14, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Book launch reading on Saturday, October 14 for Clayton Morgareidge’s Demystifying Demons: Rethinking Who and What We Are

Gene Bell-Villada, Professor of Romance Languages at Williams College, writes this about DEMYSTIFYING DEMONS:

Clayton Morgareidge’s DEMYSTIFYING DEMONS is a wise book that deftly synthesizes a lifetime of knowledge and experience. Its wide range of reference includes quotes from literary, psychological, and (of course) philosophical works yet also features an occasional wink at pop culture (HOUSE OF CARDS!). Written in the tradition of Continental thought, it is quite readable and refreshingly free of professional jargon. This is a book for general readers and wisdom-seekers, not for members of the academic upper guild. I was reminded a bit of the writings of e.g. the late Erich Fromm, the popularizer of psychoanalysis whose name was once a household word.

The book fundamentally and methodically traces the development of the human soul and the way it is shaped via its ongoing negotiations with assorted “Others”—parents, society, language, religion, etc.– but also with subjective forces such as emotions, the unconscious, etc. Although the author implicitly characterizes himself as an unbeliever, he nonetheless believes in the existence of the soul. In an illuminating passage, he compares our soul to the weather—an entity that we can’t hold in our hands nor point to specifically, yet is a reality that we all recognize.

Throughout much of the work, Morgareidge, a professor of philosophy emeritus, focuses in particular on the topic of the “troubled soul” and its assorted phenomena—“unconscious choices,” “guilt and self-loathing,” and other such familiar and disquieting demons. Anyone who is or has been a troubled soul will recognize him/herself in Prof. Morgareidge’s vivid pages. Indeed, as a person who at one point succeeded in pulling out of that sort of spiritual morass, I read his reflections with several shocks of recognition of my own.

The final chapter, “Love: Limits and Obstacles,” eloquently unfolds the author’s hopes for a better world and a more caring society. Readers and lovers of wisdom will find much that is rewarding in Prof. Morgareidge’s moving volume.


October 14, 2017
7:00 pm
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