Going to the Heart of the Matter: Peter Gabel Argues for a Psycho-Spiritual Politics [Alternet]

“A human being is a part of a whole…but he experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.”—Albert Einstein

Peter Gabel’s brilliant new book, The Desire for Mutual Recognition: Social Movements and the Dissolution of the False Self, seeks to understand both the source of our collective suffering and the prospects for a radical social change movement through a lens that draws from psychoanalysis, critical social theory, and his own sophisticated brand of phenomenology—what Gabel calls a “phenomenology of social being.” He uses the high-brow language of philosophy, but his aim is a down-to-earth plea for a dramatic shift in how we understand human alienation and the conditions necessary to effect social change through what he calls a ”spiritualization” of politics. Through illuminating the drawbacks of liberalism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, existentialism, and deconstruction, Gabel urges us to create a social movement that expresses and honors our deepest longings for love, understanding and recognition.


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