Last summer, browsing my grandparents’ bookshelf, I discovered The Flight from Woman, written in 1965 by psychiatrist Dr. Karl Stern. I was not previously acquainted with philosophy or psychiatry as subjects, but still finished the book since I became pretty absorbed.
The main theme of the book is Stern observing, in his own time, that our modern culture as a whole has somewhat rejected the “feminine” (i.e. intuition, poetry, nurture, divinity) so to speak, and why we desperately need to account for it alongside the more “masculine” parts of life (i.e. reason, objectivity, efficiency, logic). He then devotes chapters to different thinkers (Kierkegaard, Descartes, Tolstoy, Schopenhauer, etc.) who have shaped how we think today and how they fit into this dichotomy he presents.
I started to write a different review, but it got far too complicated. So, in a nutshell, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think that anyone interested in philosophy, religion, art, or even just thought in general could find this enriching.
Here are some quotes from The Flight from Woman that give a peek into Stern’s exploration of the soul and mind in his book.
Faith has always been the perfect paradox: a synthesis of sublime intellect and perfect madness.
“Let science deal with places, and animals and stars; but to deal in that way with the human spirit is blasphemy.”
It is typical of a tendency to establish the activist and rationalist mood of our time as the foundation of the human condition, and to make religious terms, hallowed by age, fit this current philosophy.
Clinical labels do not mean much when it comes to the riddle of a man’s fate, but they serve as practical shorthand.
Love can neither be planned or managed, it can only be sown and nurtured.
The most burning questions concerning every man… resist objectification. There is an inwardness to the process of becoming which resist analysis.