Monday, September 15, 2014

Manga Freud

kw: book reviews, graphic texts, psychology, history

A friend was discarding old books, so I grabbed a few. Taking a break from new releases, I first opened Freud for Beginners, written by Richard Appignanesi and illustrated by Oscar Zarate. First published in 1979 by Icon Press, it is one of a series of for Beginners books, sort of on the lines of the for Dummies series of more recent date. Except these are graphic texts, similar to Manga, as this half-page shows:

In 1979, Freud was still an iconic figure, but today nearly everything Freudian is discounted. Yet most discoveries since his time are based on his work, if only in reaction.

It doesn't take long to go through a book when the text totals a dozen pages or so. As condensed as it is, it gets the main points across, making it even more clear that Freud's writings and work tell us as much about Freud as about ourselves.

The continued work in psychology over the past century or so and also artificial intelligence for more than half a century illustrate that the human mind is far too complex to summarize in any checklist. As I've begun to realize, the differences among us are wide-ranging and profound.

If we simplify the human experience onto a single spectrum, from red to violet, any one individual's mind would occupy only a tiny bit, say from orange-red to orange-yellow, with perhaps a little splash of greenish, while another's might be all in the mid-blues and a bit of reddish, having nearly no overlap with the other. It is in our pre-human capabilities that we overlap sufficiently to be able to communicate.

The book was a fun, quick read.


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B. Thayer said...

Do you still have this book? I've been looking for the original 1979 edition (or the 1990 reprint with the same cover).

Polymath07 said...

Dear B. Thayer, The edition I have is 1992, paperback with a yellow cover and a large cartoon of Freud with a tilted, wry grimace. Probably not the one you're looking for. Try eBay.