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Arno Gruen con The Betrayal of the Self: The Fear of Autonomy in Men and Women
Love or power ? these are the opposing poles of a choice every child is compelled to make, very early in its life, in a drama that sets it irrevocably on its path through life. This startling new insight into a formative experience fundamental to our development is the subject of THE BETRAYAL OF THE SELF, Dr. Arno Gruen's passionately argued contribution to the psychoanalytic view of the human soul, and what distorts it into pathology. What happens to an infant when it learns that the love it craves from its parents is available only at the price of submission to their will? In paying this price, as Dr. Gruen found in many years of experience with his patients, the infant renounces its true, autonomous self and instead embarks on a search for power with which to manipulate the world around it-a quest that will henceforth rule its life. Dr. Gruen maps out the process by which this striving for power, once the fatal choice has been made, masks the child's inner emptiness, dulls its fears, and soothes its secret feelings of self-loathing. Its need for power soon bars all access to its real emotions, and corrupts all of its relationships into ones based on mastery and domination. The power-oriented world around it, which puts a premium on stoic "strength" and "invulnerability," further confirms the child in this pursuit of power, leading it on to a path of dehumanization which pervades our entire society. Thus human destructiveness and evil are not innate, but develop in a complex process of growth marked by the failure to attain autonomy. In contrast, Dr. Gruen defines autonomy as that state of integration in which we live in full harmony with our feelings and needs. It is anatural state of being experienced in early childhood when the infant is loved unconditionally and without the need to earn this love by the self-sacrifice of submission. It allows the child to remain vulnerable to feelings of self-doubt, helplessness, pain, and rage ? the very emotio