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This fully revised second edition provides a detailed explanation of personality developmental dynamics, taking into account mysticism and religious experience as psycho-sociological phenomena, and using empirical anchors ranging from the topical issue of Arab-Jewish relationships to the divergent personalities of the founders of the Hassidic movement. These psychological dynamics are presented by way of the developmental and relationship experiences we have with the outside world - alternations between conflict and a striving to revert back to earlier developmental phases. At any given moment of our lives there is a gap between our desires for participation and our subjectively defined distance from our participatory aims. This gap is called the Tantalus Ratio, after the Olympian demigod. Transcendental longings and quests are explored in their actual structuring of the human personality. This new Theory of Personality also explores the mytho-empirical manifestation of the normative sacrifice of the young, called the Isaac Syndrome. The author pays homage to Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus by recognizing the absurd drudgeries of man's existence, the maddening routines, the pointlessness of being, the silence of god, and the cruelty of man to man. Examples from literature and myth demonstrate that if man can find a creative modus vivendi with his pitiful "stone" burden, then the vicissitudes of existence can become punctuated with meaning, satisfaction and even happiness. Like Camus, the author concludes that it is only through creative rebellion that man can find authenticity.
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Shlomo Giora Shoham has been awarded the Israel Prize for 2003, for his contribution to the study of criminology. He is a widely published author on crime, deviance, philosophy, religion, psychology and the human personality. He lectures worldwide, and has recently been resident at the universities of Oxford and Harvard, and at the Sorbonne.Review:
“This is the work of a man who has undergone a crisis, who in effect tells us that the crisis opened his eyes to scientific and human truth. Shoham is an adventurer among ideas and one takes pleasure in his mixture of daring generalization and empirical exactness.” —Professor ben Ami Shaarfstein, author, A Comparative History of World Philosophy: From the Upanishads to Kant
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