Escaping the Self: Alcoholism, Spirituality, Masochism, and Other Flights from the Burden of Selfhood

Overwhelmed by the demands of creating and maintaining a positive self-image in their personal and professional lives, some people are taking to escapist practices—drug and alcohol use is increasing, suicide rates are rising, exotic and foreign cults are flourishing. Why is it that there is such a strong urge to escape in a people as blessed as the middle classes? This book presents a view of the darkest side of human nature—showing how powerful experiences from religious ecstasy to bulimia can relieve the burden of maintaining a personal identity. Filled with lively examples and incisive analysis, this book enhances our understanding of behaviour both familiar and baffling.

Basic Books; 1st edition
Publication date:
October 3, 1991

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