David Levine and Matthew Bowker explore cultural and political trends organized around the conviction that the world we live in is a dangerous place to be, that it is dominated by hate and destruction, and that in it our primary task is to survive by carrying on a life-long struggle against hostile forces. Their method involves the analysis of public fantasies to reveal their hidden meanings. The central fantasy explored is the fantasy of a destroyed world, which appears most commonly in the form of post-apocalyptic and dystopian narratives. Their special concern in the book is with defenses against the painful consequences of the dominance of this fantasy in the inner world, especially defenses involving the use of guilt to assure that something can be done to repair the destroyed world.
Topics explored include: the formation of internal fortresses and their projection into the world outside, forms of guilt including bystander guilt and survivor guilt, the loss of and search for home, and manic forms of reparation.
Rachael McKeown, Psychodynamic Counsellor, Sussex Counselling and Psychotherapy News, Autumn/Winter 2019, Issue no. 136 –
…the book offers an important and substantive argument in our fraught political times. Levine and Bowker assert core Object Relations principles, and bring with them a broader defence of Enlightenment values of individuality and progress – coming to terms with our faults and subjectivity will not help us achieve empathy, we need psychological integration and alignment with reality.
Annie Peskin, British Journal of Psychotherapy 36:1 (2020) –
‘While reading this book, I enjoyed the jolts I got from recognizing human nature refracted through the traumatizing scenarios of the TV shows and novels the authors explored. I think there is much to recommend this book.’
Read the full review here.