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- Published on Amazon.com
Initially written as a response to the comment on the review above:
I'm glad to know there is someone else out there who wants to understand Otto Rank.
Though I cannot fault the reviewer.
Otto Rank is notoriously difficult to summarize. (And I think he wanted it that way.)
But, if I may presume to summarize Rank, anyway, what Rank is saying is this:
We necessarily obtain self-knowledge, not from within, but from without.. by way of projecting our identities into that which is, for example, scientifically verifyable, or by way of what attracts us or repels us, or keeps us safe, or simply alive, etc.
But why this projecting, why is it necessary? Otto Rank took issue with Socrates... To "know thyself" is simply too big a job, and way too scary... and besides, it generally goes against the grain of the culture in which we are raised.
This puts us all in a fix. On balance, the best we do is trick ourselves into self-knowledge. As individuals and as social groups.
Hence, the necessity of our personal and social delusions. Without our delusions, we could not create culture, and individually we would, generally speaking, go crazy.
In spite of this human quandary something inside tells us there is more. More to understand, more to experience who we are...
This something has two primary aspects: "will" and its intimate companion, "conscious awareness".
This is not the will of Nietzsche, nor of Schopenhauer.
Not the will to power, not the will to no will.
This is, at bottom, the will to awareness, a theme that runs indirectly through the works of Otto Rank beginning with his first, "The Artist" to his last "Beyond Psychology"
And from this early point of closure--which reflects perhaps the initial quarter of what Rank is saying--I point the way to his works... beginning with his last, and then moving on to "Psychology and Soul," and then Robert Kramer's excellent compilation and clarifying of Rank's American Lectures. And then this one, "Truth and Reality," and then "Will Therapy."
But only after you have read Rank's biography by E James Lieberman, MD, and then Jessie Taft's biography of Rank. Taft was Rank's therapy client, student, translator, advisor, job finder, intellectual challenger... she sponsored his entry into the US, and they were dear friends.
That's my hesitantly comprised summary of the essential thinking of Otto Rank.
It could change.