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The heart of the human dilemma, according to Rollo May, is the failure to understand the real meaning of love and will, their source and interrelation. Bringing fresh insight to these concepts, May shows how we can attain a deeper consciousness.


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The heart of the human dilemma, according to Rollo May, is the failure to understand the real meaning of love and will, their source and interrelation. Bringing fresh insight to these concepts, May shows how we can attain a deeper consciousness.

30 review for Love and Will

  1. 5 out of 5

    trivialchemy

    My father used to tell a story about growing obsessed with an author as a young man. The name of the author escapes me, but imagine some early-70s Cormac McCarthy: a gifted craftsman of language whose oeuvre spoke so specifically to his admirers that he could do no wrong. My father, living in LA at the time, discovered that this author did not live so far away. I can't be sure of the mechanics of stalking in the pre-Google era, but somehow the man's address was acquired. My father broke into his My father used to tell a story about growing obsessed with an author as a young man. The name of the author escapes me, but imagine some early-70s Cormac McCarthy: a gifted craftsman of language whose oeuvre spoke so specifically to his admirers that he could do no wrong. My father, living in LA at the time, discovered that this author did not live so far away. I can't be sure of the mechanics of stalking in the pre-Google era, but somehow the man's address was acquired. My father broke into his estate, hopping a wall into the man's garden, only to find him there at work pruning. The author looked at my father. “I've come to talk to you about your work,” my father explained. The author didn't even blink. He stood up. “Well, what do you want to know?” My father opened his mouth, and then closed it again. He realized he hadn't the faintest idea what to ask. He had grown so intimate with the work divorced from its author, and then so obsessed with discovering that author's secrets, that he hadn't once considered what it would mean to actually speak with the man. So, without saying anything, he turned around, and left the man's garden. He swore he would return once he had formulated the right question. But he never did. I don't have this problem. If I sneaked into Rollo May's garden (to all the Freudians out there, please, allow me the luxury of literalism here), I would ask him one question: “What did you intend by this book?” By which I mean, what did you hope to accomplish? If he merely wished to clarify a few things regarding the dominant theories of psychotherapy in the wake of Sigmund Freud, then I would say, hooray. Mission accomplished. But I would accuse him of a lack of ambition. If, instead, his intention was to present a comprehensive theory of the modern psyche, in the wake of Sigmund Freud, documenting and exploring the characteristics and idiosyncrasies of the modern neurosis, then I would say that he failed. Not, mind you, because he is insufficiently clever, or insufficiently details his theory. Far from it. The truth is that Mr. May is so damn clever, and has such a deep understanding of how the human mind operates, that I almost asked nothing more of him. On the basis of a reliable recommendation and Mr. May's cleverness, I was convinced for at least the first 150 pages that I would be giving out 5 stars – a rating which decayed linearly as the book progressed to its eventual heat death. Mr. May's probing insight into the human condition also makes him eminently quotable. And I have not since literary analysis in college concluded a book with so many sticky-tags and annotations as now adorn the leaves of Love and Will. But I guess, ultimately, I have to complain: isn't psychotherapy still a clinical enterprise? If embracing sexual promiscuity as an ersatz freedom leads to a neglect of the Eros element in human relationship and experience, and ultimately an existential emptiness (which I believe to be true!), then where and how have you seen this to be true clinically? More importantly, where and how has knowledge of the etiology led to regeneration of the patient? Or at least where and how were the etiologies indicated? These are critical details which suffuse Freud's work, but which are startlingly sparse in May's. Because of this, it is very difficult to see Love and Will as an independent pyschoanalytic theory on its own merits. It begins to feel more like a seamster has strung together some elements of Freud, a dash of Aristotle and (most questionably) Plato's views on sex, and then patched them up with some admittedly powerful, and very relevant insights of his own. All fine and well – now where do we go from here? I guess the truth, is, though, that I don't think either of the motivations I have suggested were actually May's intentions. He wasn't trying to make a Rollo May reader, and he wasn't trying to make a Rollo May textbook. I think he was trying to write a book that would help the reader to understand himself and, thus, evolve as a human being. He was trying to write a self-help book in the mold of Thoreau's Walden. But if it is true for the introspective man that the neglected element in his personal psychoanalytic conception of his selfhood is the aspect of intentionality, which links his will to the external world (which I believe to be true!), then what am I to do with this knowledge? Where and how has May seen this to be true clinically? Where and how were its etiologies indicated? Maybe I'm being unfair here. Maybe I'll be told that it's silly that I've asked for explicit application in a book of psychoanalytic theory – that I am criticizing the book based upon my own preconceptions about what it had to offer me. And I'll tell you, you're right. I'm only criticizing the book based upon my own preconceptions about what it had to offer me. I keep thinking back to On Solitude, a mostly ignored book on personal psychotherapy and philosophy written by John Cowper Powys, a rare copy of which I had to hunt down on Abebooks on the recommendation of some Goodreaders. On Solitude has a very similar vision of intentionality. Powys, in much the same way as May, identifies the breakdown of the will in the moment in which the individual reaches out to interact with the external world. Compared to Love and Will, On Solitude is extremely weak and critical theory, and even weaker on aha! moments that make you jump up out of your seat. But On Solitude teaches so extensively about how the man can behave to heal that rift (part of the answer being right there in the title), that I find my mind wandering to it again and again. Love and Will didn't give me that. Love and Will gave me a full journal page of insightful quotes about what is wrong with modern man, and little to do with those quotes except cite them on my facebook page.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    Not my favorite existential psychologist, but Rollo May includes some stellar quotes in Love and Will about sex, ardor, and what it means to truly care about someone or something. I felt that the first two-thirds of the book drifted off into history (e.g. the Victorian era and its implications, Plato's philosophy) and the foundations of psychology (e.g. the Daimonic, lots and lots of Freud) without offering new or relevant ideas. While May does a great job of discussing the strengths and weaknes Not my favorite existential psychologist, but Rollo May includes some stellar quotes in Love and Will about sex, ardor, and what it means to truly care about someone or something. I felt that the first two-thirds of the book drifted off into history (e.g. the Victorian era and its implications, Plato's philosophy) and the foundations of psychology (e.g. the Daimonic, lots and lots of Freud) without offering new or relevant ideas. While May does a great job of discussing the strengths and weaknesses of Freud's contributions to psychology, he did not give many applicable insights into contemporary culture or human behavior in general, which disappointed me because of the prevalence of concepts such as love and will. However, the last third of this book provides many striking and memorable quotes about the intersectionalities of love and will. While I recommend reading more of Yalom's or Rogers' writing, May still provides valuable commentary within an existential lens. I will end this review with some of his most stellar passages: "Love and will are both forms of communion of consciousness. Both are also affects - ways of affecting others and our world. This play on words is not accidental: for affect, meaning affection or emotion, is the same word as that for affecting change. An affect or affection is also the way of making, doing, forming something. Both love and will are ways of creating consciousness in others. To be sure, each may be abused: love may be used as a way of clinging, and will as a way of manipulating others in order to enforce a compliance. But the abuse of an affect should not be the basis for its definition. The lack of both love and will ends up in separation, putting a distance between us and the other person; and in the long run, this leads to apathy." "But eros cannot live without philia, brotherly love and friendship. The tension of continuous attraction and continuous passion would be unbearable if it lasted forever. Philia is the relaxation in the presence of the beloved which accepts the other's being as being; it is simply liking to be with the other, liking to rest with the other, liking the rhythm of the walk, the voice, the whole being of the other. Philia does not require that we do anything for the beloved except accept him, be with him and enjoy him. It is friendship in the simplest, most direct terms. This is why Paul Tillich makes so much of acceptance, and the ability - curious loss for modern man that this will sound strange - to accept acceptance. We are the independent men who, often taking our powers too seriously, continuously act and react, unaware that much of value in life comes only if we don't press, comes in quietly when it is not pushed or required, comes not from a drive from behind or an attraction from in front, but emerges silently from simply being together." "We love and will the world as an immediate, spontaneous totality. We will the world, create it by our decision, our fiat, our choice; and we love it, give it affect, energy, power to love and change us as we mold and change it. This is what it meanas to be fully related to one's world. I do not imply that the world does not exist before we love or will it one can answer that question only on the basis of his assumptions, and, being a mid-westerner with inbred realism, I would assume that it does exist. But it has no reality, no relation to me, as I have no effect upon it; I move as in a dream, vaguely and without viable contact. For in every act of love and will - and in the long run they are both present in every genuine act - we mold ourselves and our world simultaneously. This is what it means to embrace the future."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    In 1971 I dropped out of college and returned home to await prosecution for draft resistance. The return was not all bad. I had felt uncomfortable at Grinnell, initially insecure because of my presumably exceptional virginity and general immaturity (I really was a late bloomer, physically--hadn't yet even shaved), torn between study and political work and social desires. Going home was comfortable, a chance to spend time with old friends. One of them, the oldest friend going back to Junior High, In 1971 I dropped out of college and returned home to await prosecution for draft resistance. The return was not all bad. I had felt uncomfortable at Grinnell, initially insecure because of my presumably exceptional virginity and general immaturity (I really was a late bloomer, physically--hadn't yet even shaved), torn between study and political work and social desires. Going home was comfortable, a chance to spend time with old friends. One of them, the oldest friend going back to Junior High, Hank, held a party at the apartment he shared with Brian in DesPlaines. I went, but felt bored, or just boring, so sought a book and came upon Love and Will. I'd heard of, but not read, May. I had long been interested in existentialism, thinking the existentialists to at least be honest, and he was one of them, so that was a plus. Also, thinking myself pretty messed up, the idea of studying psychology was attractive. I had just gotten a job as a research associate and test administrator at a local psychiatric hospital, a job beyond my competence, so studying it seemed an objectively practical thing to do. At the time of reading the book was somewhat disappointing. May wasn't declarative enough, I thought, but then I was so ignorant that perhaps he was addressing issues in the field that I didn't yet recognize. My concern was with values. I liked all the stuff about love of course, but being pretty loveless myself, I was very concerned that I just wanted what I couldn't have and kept on getting love confused with sexual attraction, a pretty unfair and often unloving game I'd observed. I wanted principles, moral principles, something that would stand up to critical analysis as more than matters of prudence, convenience or personal taste. May helped clarify some important distinctions, distinctions between sex and love and caring, but he didn't offer a grounding from which to build a considered life. I now believe Love and Will had more of an effect than I had appreciated at the time. Later, back in college, a very committed scholar now, much more knowledgeable about psychology and a lot of other things, I read his co-edited Existence with great appreciation. Then, graduating with a religion degree, but wanting to study depth psychology, I went on to his seminary, UTS in New York, where, sedulously studying philosophy for the thesis, I finally found such ground as an existentialist can in the technique of the transcendental deduction.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I read this back in 2010 and reread this month because it is easily the most seminal work on psychotherapy I have come across. I was lucky to have read it before beginning grad school, as it gave me invaluable perspective. I cant believe I haven't written a review for it. I'll try and update when I have it handy but the gist is that it's a must read: gorgeous writing, big ideas, timeless, and refreshing. It's a gorgeous read. I read this back in 2010 and reread this month because it is easily the most seminal work on psychotherapy I have come across. I was lucky to have read it before beginning grad school, as it gave me invaluable perspective. I cant believe I haven't written a review for it. I'll try and update when I have it handy but the gist is that it's a must read: gorgeous writing, big ideas, timeless, and refreshing. It's a gorgeous read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I like Rollo May, I think. I know, damning with faint praise. Credit where credit is admirably due, however, for parsing good from bad with regard to Freud's legacy, and making an impassioned (and excellent) argument against indiscriminate use of medication ("It is the failure of therapy, rather than its success, when it drugs the daimonic, tranquilizes it, or in other ways fails to confront it head on."). But, at the end of the day, he's just not my favorite existentialist. It took me a long ti I like Rollo May, I think. I know, damning with faint praise. Credit where credit is admirably due, however, for parsing good from bad with regard to Freud's legacy, and making an impassioned (and excellent) argument against indiscriminate use of medication ("It is the failure of therapy, rather than its success, when it drugs the daimonic, tranquilizes it, or in other ways fails to confront it head on."). But, at the end of the day, he's just not my favorite existentialist. It took me a long time to drag my way through this, despite fits and piques of interest, and in the end, two of my three favorite quotes are from people other than May: " 'Apathy is a curious state,' remarks Harry Stack Sullivan; 'It is a way used to survive defeat without material damage, although if it endures too long one is damaged by the passage of time. Apathy seems to me to be a miracle of protection by which a personality in utter fiasco rests until it can do something else'." "The moral problem is the relentless endeavor to find one's own convictions and at the same time to admit that there will always be in them an element of self-aggrandizement and distortion. Here is where Socrates' principle of humility is essentially, for psychotherapists and for any moral citizen." Finally: " 'If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well.' --Rilke"

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris M.H

    This book taught me a great deal. Inside its pages we cover the subjects of sex – how it has developed prior to the Victorian era and the liberation of the act, albeit perhaps not so freeing – the different states of love human beings experience ( Eros, Philia and Agape), the power and self-affirmation of life that can be enhanced when man accepts and cultivates the daimonic forces which we all posses and the relation of will – power, wish and intentionality – to the feeling of love. To learn th This book taught me a great deal. Inside its pages we cover the subjects of sex – how it has developed prior to the Victorian era and the liberation of the act, albeit perhaps not so freeing – the different states of love human beings experience ( Eros, Philia and Agape), the power and self-affirmation of life that can be enhanced when man accepts and cultivates the daimonic forces which we all posses and the relation of will – power, wish and intentionality – to the feeling of love. To learn that suffering after tragedy, when linked with genuine feelings of love isn’t only destructive and painful but more often than not transcending and a vital component of human relations was wonderful to encounter. You can’t love deeply without also experiencing loss and grief, the fear and uncertainty that comes with joining yourself to another being and truly wanting everything that’s good for them. Out of these types of relationships, of long-standing commitment and cultivation, comes inevitably resentment for the other, feelings of daimonic possession which if not assimilated and expressed will serve to destabilise relationships and repress many parts of the human spirit. But after having done so new perspectives are born and the experiencing of life enhanced. Rollo May walks you through a couple of his experiences with patients when performing psychoanalysis and trying to get to the root of their problems. He makes it clear that without finding the unconscious/intentionality behind the motivations of his patients, and subsequently making it clear to the person themselves, often no progress can be made. They must first want to discover, be ready to accept that their old ways, their old intentions (conscious decisions) have not been working out for them and then begins the search for what they truly desire, what they will for in their future. You can not will without first having a wish, as you can not perceive without first conceiving. What is most worth having as you move through life often comes from a deep connection with your feelings and how open you are to experiences of others and yourself will guide you to what you genuinely desire, in spite of all the deterministic forces which inhibit life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Rollo May was an existential psychologist - this book provides some great insights. Below are some of my favorites: "The individual completes the creative work vastly relieved and more a person that before - but also maimed. It is the hurt after the struggle, the imminence of a neurotic break, though the person may simultaneously be more a person aft the wrestling. Van Gogh was maimed; Nietzsche was maimed; Kierkegaard was maimed. It is the paradox of consciousness. Assertion and dedication are n Rollo May was an existential psychologist - this book provides some great insights. Below are some of my favorites: "The individual completes the creative work vastly relieved and more a person that before - but also maimed. It is the hurt after the struggle, the imminence of a neurotic break, though the person may simultaneously be more a person aft the wrestling. Van Gogh was maimed; Nietzsche was maimed; Kierkegaard was maimed. It is the paradox of consciousness. Assertion and dedication are necessary even to go to that frontier, and although a genuine self realization may be achieved, he is also maimed in the process." "We now confront one of the most profound and meaningful paradoxes of love. This is the intensified openness to love which the awareness of death gives us and, simultaneously, the increased sense of death which love brings with it. To love completely carries with it the threat of annihilation." Rollo May is deep! I've always been fascinated by the link between mysticism and existentialism. I think according to philosophers like Sartre, there is "no exit". Existentialism is where the journey ends. But I wonder if there is an exit. Perhaps existentialism is the only doorway to the mystical. Rollo admits that the "intensity of consciousness has something in common with the ecstasy of the mystic". Perhaps depth psychology (Jung) has the answer?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Verena Wachnitz

    A remarkable treatise on romantic love, sex, intimacy, the demonic, intentionality... life. Existential psychology at its best, providing plenty of insight into the human condition and providing much needed answers and insights in regards to the challenges we face to lead meaningful lives immersed in a world where all our material needs are by and large met, and it is incredibly easy to stay "entertained" and lead a shallow existence. Rollo May combines psychology, philosophy, literature and art A remarkable treatise on romantic love, sex, intimacy, the demonic, intentionality... life. Existential psychology at its best, providing plenty of insight into the human condition and providing much needed answers and insights in regards to the challenges we face to lead meaningful lives immersed in a world where all our material needs are by and large met, and it is incredibly easy to stay "entertained" and lead a shallow existence. Rollo May combines psychology, philosophy, literature and art to convey deep and thought provoking ideas, as relevant today as 50 years ago when he wrote this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Kirkpatrick

    The heart of man's dilemma, according to Rollo May, is the failure to understand the real meaning of love and will, their source and interrelation. Bringing fresh insight to these concepts, May shows how we can attain a deeper consciousness.An extraordinary book on sex and civilization....An important contribution to contemporary morality. I first read it as a kid when it first came out and I find it as relevant today as it was then....probably May's masterwork....rich with meaning. The heart of man's dilemma, according to Rollo May, is the failure to understand the real meaning of love and will, their source and interrelation. Bringing fresh insight to these concepts, May shows how we can attain a deeper consciousness.An extraordinary book on sex and civilization....An important contribution to contemporary morality. I first read it as a kid when it first came out and I find it as relevant today as it was then....probably May's masterwork....rich with meaning.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    My friend calls it the Existentialist Bible. I like stories and flawed characters. This is one of the only books on psychology I've read. But it got me excited about connecting with the world around my. To reach out and combat apathy. Every page opened me up to positive existentialism. There are also great insights to the psyche of artists. Good stuff. Rollo May seems to be writing predominantly from the perspective of New Yorkers. Even though it was written in the sixties I found everything to b My friend calls it the Existentialist Bible. I like stories and flawed characters. This is one of the only books on psychology I've read. But it got me excited about connecting with the world around my. To reach out and combat apathy. Every page opened me up to positive existentialism. There are also great insights to the psyche of artists. Good stuff. Rollo May seems to be writing predominantly from the perspective of New Yorkers. Even though it was written in the sixties I found everything to be pretty valid, certain things needed adjusting for the passing of time, but every idea still seems to hold up. Apathy is the opposite of love...not hate.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    If you ever wanted to read about the banalization of sex in modern society, this is the book for you! While the opening chapters are about the ubiquity of sex, the other chapters explain how this is a counter to old victorianism, and how this affects people (it gives them existential crises! GREAT). The latter chapters deal more with love and will, and they were kind of complicated, so I might have to revisit this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maria Menozzi

    I love Rollo May. He tells it like it is, psychologically speaking. He gets to the heart of our emotions on both of these subjects and our behavior in turn. Really good stuff.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Liang

    I think if I re-read this thing it'll be a five. This sure kicked the crap out of any contemporary pop psychology/self-help book that might be raved about. The difference is in May's probing, inquisitive approach to his exploration of love and will, and ultimately in eros, the daemonic, and intentionality. The book's mixture of psychology, philosophy, literature, linguistics, and May's clinical experience was definitely something up my alley – my only reticence is in whether any of this is backe I think if I re-read this thing it'll be a five. This sure kicked the crap out of any contemporary pop psychology/self-help book that might be raved about. The difference is in May's probing, inquisitive approach to his exploration of love and will, and ultimately in eros, the daemonic, and intentionality. The book's mixture of psychology, philosophy, literature, linguistics, and May's clinical experience was definitely something up my alley – my only reticence is in whether any of this is backed by science (If this book is just arm chair psychology then well... at least it was cool to read.) I was also very interested on May's commentary regarding how the affect of Victorian society paved the way for the modernist problems in the 20th century, namely apathy, feelinglessness, sex without love, etc. (think The Sun Also Rises, Eliot pre-Christianity). You best believe these problems weren't ever resolved and then became the post-modernist problems (feelinglessness as a result of technology and the internet. Think Father John Misty'sPure Comedy or Radiohead's Ok Computer). I docked a point because I think he gets about 80-90% there with the arguments in the love and will sections; this should have been fine considering there is a third part of the book, love AND will, but it ended up being something entirely different. Or maybe I'm just dumb, idk – never rule that option out.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary Karpel-Jergic

    I started reading this book ages ago, found it less interesting than expected so put it down and subsequently let it gather dust on my book shelf. I decided to revisit and finish and to attempt to articulate what I learned from Rollo May's perspective on love and will. The book's first copyright was 1969 and the content reflects this era. However it was reprinted in 2007 so there must be relevance remaining today. It is deeply psychoanalytical and philosophical and is littered with literary refer I started reading this book ages ago, found it less interesting than expected so put it down and subsequently let it gather dust on my book shelf. I decided to revisit and finish and to attempt to articulate what I learned from Rollo May's perspective on love and will. The book's first copyright was 1969 and the content reflects this era. However it was reprinted in 2007 so there must be relevance remaining today. It is deeply psychoanalytical and philosophical and is littered with literary references and citations. An American existential psychologist who died in 1994, this book was his most influential and famous. I was led to this book by my interest, at the time, in the complexities of love and sex and how they are sometimes in conflict with one another. May, although developing a case for the links between love and will does indeed throw a number of interesting perspectives that explore the contradictions of sex and love. May argues that over time our modern sexual behaviour has affected our concept of love. "Sex for many people has become more meaningless as it is more available... 'love' has seemed tremendously elusive if not an outright illusion". This sexual form of feelings offers only a facsimile of love rather than something which offers personal meaning. He argues that, following a short period of time after World War I, we as a society became obsessed by sex and this has led to an emphasis on sexual activity; performance and technique. This shift in attitude has created a distinction between making love and having sex. "The emphasis, beyond a certain point, on technique in sex makes for a mechanistic attitude toward love making and goes along with alienation, feelings of loneliness, and depersonalisation." What I found interesting was his observation that sexual intimacy did not lead to emotional intimacy. "It is a strange thing in our society that what goes into building a relationship - the sharing of tastes, fantasies, dreams, hopes for the future, and fears from the past - seems to make people more shy and vulnerable than going to bed with each other. They are more wary of the tenderness that goes with psychological and spiritual nakedness than they are of the physical nakedness of sexual intimacy." This certainly resonates with my understanding of people that can have an immediate sexual relationship with another person without any of the additional relationship trimmings. Using the myth of Eros helps to conceive of a way of aligning and joining sexual activity with love. "Sex can be defined fairly adequately in physiological terms as consisting of the building up of bodily tensions and their release. Eros, in contrast, is the experiencing of the personal intentions and meaning of the act. Whereas sex is a rhythm of stimulus and response, Eros is a state of being... The end toward which sex points is gratification and relaxation, whereas Eros is a desiring, longing, a forever reaching out, seeking to expand." Our capabilities for achieving a relationship that offers more than just a sexual intimacy is rooted in our feelings about ourselves. Citing the abundance of evidence accumulated by Harry Stack Sullivan, May informs us that "we love others to the extent that we are able to love ourselves, and if we cannot esteem ourselves, we cannot esteem or love others." The bottom line appears to be caring. "Care is a state in which something does matter... care is the necessary source of Eros, the source of human tenderness." The love act which combines both sex and love requires us to care and in return we grow as human beings. "Despite the fact that many people in our culture use sex to get a short-circuited, ersatz identity, the love act can and ought to provide a sound and meaningful avenue to the sense of personal identity."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hiram Brown

    Hardest book I think I ever read. I have slogged through many boring, clinical, dry and just plain hard to read books. I have never felt more like I am collapsing at the finish line of a marathon. Now, before this is interpreted as a negative review, let me clarify that this book is the hardest that I ever remember reading because it cut to the heart of my life (or lack thereof). Rollo May has been called an existential psychologist. I’m not even sure what that means but his point of view is extr Hardest book I think I ever read. I have slogged through many boring, clinical, dry and just plain hard to read books. I have never felt more like I am collapsing at the finish line of a marathon. Now, before this is interpreted as a negative review, let me clarify that this book is the hardest that I ever remember reading because it cut to the heart of my life (or lack thereof). Rollo May has been called an existential psychologist. I’m not even sure what that means but his point of view is extremely deep. After living my life dedicated to self control and an obsession with not giving in to anger that might wound another human being I find myself confronted with the truth that every human being is a creature of passion and those of us that spend our lives trying to deny it wind up being detached and/or repressed. Sixty-two and thirty-nine years into a marriage is a bit late to just be getting a first glimpse of this truth but maybe it’s a start. The countless references to Victorian repression, writings of Freud, Greek mythology and Biblical references kept my head spinning from beginning to end. Mostly I think it was just a case of my life’s experiences lining up with his ideas such that I was challenged instead of numbed. I am torn between burying the book indefinitely and starting over at page one immediately. Take-away: I really mean it when I give the book five stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Howard

    It is one of those rare books that enlightens your heart and mind. Rollo May exhibits the power of existential thought as he blends literature, philosophy, linguistics, mythology and history to inform psychotherapy. He provides insights into how meaning-making and myth are central to human thriving. He elaborates on essential and fundamental concepts to the human condition: eros, daimonic forces, sex, intentionality, free will, integration, authenticity, and creativity. This book asserts intenti It is one of those rare books that enlightens your heart and mind. Rollo May exhibits the power of existential thought as he blends literature, philosophy, linguistics, mythology and history to inform psychotherapy. He provides insights into how meaning-making and myth are central to human thriving. He elaborates on essential and fundamental concepts to the human condition: eros, daimonic forces, sex, intentionality, free will, integration, authenticity, and creativity. This book asserts intentionality, phenomenolgy, mythology, artistry, and relationality as redemptive perspectives to the shortcomings of naturalism, determinism, fatalism, hedonism, materialism, and rationalism. Love and Will is more for a graduate level audience than the self-help genre, but I hope many will read it. It is unfortunate that western civilization has seen a declined interest in existentialism since its heyday in the 60s and 70s.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Willa

    May gives a very impassioned cultural critique of our postmodern times, amazingly, right at the start of it (1969). I value many of his insights, however find some of them a bit dated in the sense that they are limited by his generational outlook, which lacks the cultural broadness of the repertoire of cultural understanding available to us today. Sometimes he ascribes problematic cultural issues to the times we live in, while some of it is more the culmination of the age-old egoic make-up of Ma May gives a very impassioned cultural critique of our postmodern times, amazingly, right at the start of it (1969). I value many of his insights, however find some of them a bit dated in the sense that they are limited by his generational outlook, which lacks the cultural broadness of the repertoire of cultural understanding available to us today. Sometimes he ascribes problematic cultural issues to the times we live in, while some of it is more the culmination of the age-old egoic make-up of Man, which just gets more prolific in times of great freedom like the last 50 years.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    Wow, Mr. May. Thank you for this. Love and Will, as necessary human emotions, have become almost indecipherable in our age of technology. Love and WIll showcases that all is not lost. Though the human experience has been confounded in our era of transition, Rollo May helps delineate the interconnectedness of both love and will. Without love, we cannot will. Without will, there is no love. It's a heavy read, but well worth the struggle... which may just epiomize the main point of the novel: both l Wow, Mr. May. Thank you for this. Love and Will, as necessary human emotions, have become almost indecipherable in our age of technology. Love and WIll showcases that all is not lost. Though the human experience has been confounded in our era of transition, Rollo May helps delineate the interconnectedness of both love and will. Without love, we cannot will. Without will, there is no love. It's a heavy read, but well worth the struggle... which may just epiomize the main point of the novel: both love and will are active verbs which require diligence, attention and faith.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Petrea

    recommended by another author--it's a series of essays written in the 1960s and before by Rollo May who was/is a psychologist or something--some of his ideas are really lovely, many seem very out of touch with current reality. The parts of the book about love were lovely--the parts about will rather difficult for me to follow. recommended by another author--it's a series of essays written in the 1960s and before by Rollo May who was/is a psychologist or something--some of his ideas are really lovely, many seem very out of touch with current reality. The parts of the book about love were lovely--the parts about will rather difficult for me to follow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Santa cruz

    This is one of my favorite books, a very enjoyable read. However due to the time period the book was published there was an obvious debilitation in my youthful love life. In peace with the old i don't regret coming across the beauty and knowledge of this book. This is one of my favorite books, a very enjoyable read. However due to the time period the book was published there was an obvious debilitation in my youthful love life. In peace with the old i don't regret coming across the beauty and knowledge of this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Dunnington

    The is the most fundamental introduction to May and maybe also an original introduction to Existentialism, Phenomenology and Experiential Psychology.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jay H. Hahn

    This is one of the most challenging books that I have read in a long while. The work can best be described as an extended paper addressed to the field of psychoanalysis, focusing on the suite of 'positive' emotions, labeled as love (eros), and theoretical underpinnings of action and change. The action and change he calls 'will,' and the chief of the underpinnings he refers to as 'intentionality.' He puts forth a case for his perspectives on these subjects, love and will, and then seeks to describ This is one of the most challenging books that I have read in a long while. The work can best be described as an extended paper addressed to the field of psychoanalysis, focusing on the suite of 'positive' emotions, labeled as love (eros), and theoretical underpinnings of action and change. The action and change he calls 'will,' and the chief of the underpinnings he refers to as 'intentionality.' He puts forth a case for his perspectives on these subjects, love and will, and then seeks to describe to his colleagues their application in therapy. [[Interestingly enough, many of the psychological structures posited by May here have counterparts to the metaphysical concepts described by Robert M. Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Of course, to those familiar with Pirsig's proposals on Quality also know he had a very different experience with mental health. Perhaps that difference came from Pirsig viewing himself a 'poor student' in the two and a half millennia of metaphysics, while May was an established pioneer in psychological analysis, a field in 1969 barely a hundred years old.]] I cannot give this book five stars, for while I am unqualified to evaluate the merits of these proposals, I can observe and report the problems I find with May's structure and communication. Terms are defined in multiple nuance, and as they continued to be used, it became difficult to ascertain which exact nuance the author was emphasizing at that point. He draws the book around his center foci of love and will, but he clearly feels there are more basic foundations to each, and instead of using that bedrock, he drifts back to these two terms, even after admitting they are imprecise. Terms are considered such as 'intend' and 'belief' and branded indispensable, without which more central concepts become impossible, but then they are left in their small section, without further application. The overall flow of these concepts is bewildering, with what rests on what stated, but the nature, meaning, and significance of these relationships unexplored, the hierarchy of elements likely present within May's mind as each chapter written, but never clearly set before the reader nor mentioned with sufficient repetition to gel in the mind. I will read this book several times again in the coming years, for I clearly did not absorb all that was available. I have purchased a trade paperback which I shall happily desecrate with highlighters and margin notes until I can find no more wealth within.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Caspar Vega

    Amazingly lucid in parts and rather convoluted in others, a fascinating read overall. Top highlights: 1. Art is the only way modern man will allow himself to be shown the unflattering, cruel, and hideous aspects of himself which are part of the daimonic. 2. But because of their capacity to confront the daimonic directly, rather than resorting to modern man's self-castrating defense of denying and repressing it, the Greeks were able to achieve their belief that the essence of virtue for a man is tha Amazingly lucid in parts and rather convoluted in others, a fascinating read overall. Top highlights: 1. Art is the only way modern man will allow himself to be shown the unflattering, cruel, and hideous aspects of himself which are part of the daimonic. 2. But because of their capacity to confront the daimonic directly, rather than resorting to modern man's self-castrating defense of denying and repressing it, the Greeks were able to achieve their belief that the essence of virtue for a man is that he responsibly choose his passions rather than be chosen by them. 3. No writer writes out of his having found the answer to the problem; he writes rather out of his having the problem and wanting a solution. The solution consists not of a resolution. It consists of the deeper and wider dimension of consciousness to which the writer is carried by virtue of his wrestling with the problem. We create out of a problem; the writer and the artist are not presenting answers but creating as an experience of something in themselves trying to work. To seek, to find and not to yield. The contribution which is given to the world by the painting or the book is the process of the search. 4. This gives me the possibility of in-sight or inward sight, of seeing the world and other people in relation to myself. Thus, the previous bind of repressing wishes because I cannot stand the lack of their gratification on one hand, or being compulsively pushed to their blind gratification on the other, is replaced by the fact that I myself am involved in these relationships of pleasure, love, beauty, trust. I then have the possibility of changing my own behavior to make them more possible. 5. Sentimentality is thinking about sentiment rather than genuinely experiencing the object of it. Tolstoy tells of the Russian ladies who cry at the theater but are oblivious to their own coachman sitting outside in the freezing cold. Sentimentality glories in the fact that I have this emotion; it begins subjectively and ends there. 6. This is the mythos of care. It is a statement which says that whatever happens in the external world, human love and grief, pity and compassion are what matter. These emotions transcend even death.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diana Raab

    This classic book was originally published in 1969. A year later, I turned 16 and my family physician gave it to me as a gift, saying, "In the years to come, this book will come in handy for you." I went home, sat in my reading chair and flipped through its pages. The discussion was way over my head. It seemed too grown up, deep, and incomprehensible to me at the time. I filed the hardcover book away on my shelf. Numerous times in subsequent decades, I've picked up the book up, only to realize th This classic book was originally published in 1969. A year later, I turned 16 and my family physician gave it to me as a gift, saying, "In the years to come, this book will come in handy for you." I went home, sat in my reading chair and flipped through its pages. The discussion was way over my head. It seemed too grown up, deep, and incomprehensible to me at the time. I filed the hardcover book away on my shelf. Numerous times in subsequent decades, I've picked up the book up, only to realize that it is indeed a gem, not to be read at once, but in small doses. Rollo May, one of my favorite humanistic psychologists is a seeker who looks to examine the inner reality of the way things are, whether he writes about, love, will or creativity. He says that our task is to unite love and will, but will often fights against love, because human will often starts with a 'no,"' and this willing begins against something. May says, "Will comes in to lay the groundwork which makes a relatively mature love possible," (p. 285). Finding a balance or agreement of love and will is indeed a human achievement that ultimately leads to integration and wholeness.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    There are bits of this that I could relate to and understand, but this is not a subject where I have much prior knowledge. It's a long book, and it comes across as very academic, making it a tougher read. I'm also not old enough to have a historical perspective on the 60's so the stories & analogies that would perhaps had helped pull me in, had no meaning for me. Despite all this, there were concepts and ideas that I could relate to and take something away from. So while I think I could have pul There are bits of this that I could relate to and understand, but this is not a subject where I have much prior knowledge. It's a long book, and it comes across as very academic, making it a tougher read. I'm also not old enough to have a historical perspective on the 60's so the stories & analogies that would perhaps had helped pull me in, had no meaning for me. Despite all this, there were concepts and ideas that I could relate to and take something away from. So while I think I could have pulled more from this with a better understanding of his era and more of a background in psychology, this was not entirely unapproachable. I ended up needing to return this to the library with the last 100 or so pages unread, but there is consistent repetition and building on earlier ideas and concepts as the book progresses, as well as some previewing of ideas that will be flushed out in more depth later. Despite not finishing (though I did skim through the end), I don't feel like I really missed anything as much of the detail was lost on me anyway.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Published at a time when the world of youth and academia were anxiosly looking to find tbeir inner selves and to uncover hidden love or to invest every inter-personal exchange or act of social wlfare with forever meaning. Which of course can be the case. At the very same time every person (of worth and value) would intuitively know he or she must rise above such mundanity and exist in pure action with meaning alone. No mistakes, no fuzziness, no complication. May was much sought after as a visiting Published at a time when the world of youth and academia were anxiosly looking to find tbeir inner selves and to uncover hidden love or to invest every inter-personal exchange or act of social wlfare with forever meaning. Which of course can be the case. At the very same time every person (of worth and value) would intuitively know he or she must rise above such mundanity and exist in pure action with meaning alone. No mistakes, no fuzziness, no complication. May was much sought after as a visiting lecturer/guest speaker. And then came the time of 'greed is good' Phenomenology was my life before I was aware of it's signifiers and so it has continued. Will have to check on May, although I am aware he has passed on. Did he go out with acknowledgement for his efforts or had he been absorbed i to the far horizons?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    Meh. I didn't get a lot out of this one. The Hungry Mind list of 100 best books of the 20th century has been more encompassing--fewer dead white guys, more voices, a decent focus on the end of the century. But I don't know why this book is on there. Maybe it was more influential than I realize--many of the things he discusses felt like stuff I already knew. The psychologizing of everyday life means that many of his insights are already known to people, because we have been taught to understand " Meh. I didn't get a lot out of this one. The Hungry Mind list of 100 best books of the 20th century has been more encompassing--fewer dead white guys, more voices, a decent focus on the end of the century. But I don't know why this book is on there. Maybe it was more influential than I realize--many of the things he discusses felt like stuff I already knew. The psychologizing of everyday life means that many of his insights are already known to people, because we have been taught to understand "deeper" motivations, the influence of social factors, etc. Having said that, boy is he a pompous ass. His references to his patients are gossipy, judgmental and self-congratulatory (see how cleverly I fixed this person?). His quotations from past artists, philosophers, and great writers follow no conceivable plan, other than some support what he says (sometimes without knowing that they did--he inserts himself into their creative processes to show how perceptive HE is) and some do not. He uses examples and analogies to prove generalizations and broad statements meant to cover all of humanity. Well, no. Meant to cover men. White men. Straight men. White straight men of a particular background. It's not his fault, that he takes the heteronormative, male position as central to life and leaves all other potential readers to cross-identify with his findings (which is hard to do when he tells me that there are inherent differences between the sexes, that we shouldn't pretend otherwise, and THEN he goes on to write about man and his problems). His biological determinism bummed me out, especially in the face of his attempt to say that even if our actions are determined or circumscribed that we should behave and "care" as if we have more freedom than that, that we should make meaning when and where we can. He addresses the work of his colleagues by calling them "Professor" unless they're women, then they are "Miss." Even as he tries to posit the need for more encompassing attitudes and greater understanding of the human experience, he is woefully a product of his own time period in the language that he uses. It is hard to take him seriously about expanding consciousness when he is so focused on the male experience and so condescending toward women and minorities. Again: product of time period. But if a person intends to revolutionize his field and point to major blindspots, including the blindspot of lack of recognition of the humanity of others or the variety of human experience and how it is both individual and communal, it's a serious drawback to his claims. His strategy of argument is to find words that have multiple connotations and similarities, use a bunch of italics for emphasis, and claim that the whole thing thus is true and meaningful. Yes, "tend" is the root for both caring (to tend) and a striving (to tend toward). I don't have a problem with close reading and meaning assessment. I have a problem with the lack of further analysis, the rest of the evidence that could support the taking of such a position. I think I'm saying this badly. The point is: I don't like how he argues--I think he bases generalities on some undeclared assumptions, including "art [by artists I like] is neat" and "literature [that I like] articulates elements of the human experience." He is clearly well-read, and much of this reads like performance. "Trust me because I have a lot of references to people you've heard of." I guess all arguments are made up references to a variety of evidence from others, but he seems to take it for granted that if Shakespeare said it, it should be good enough for me to believe. It's the veneration of great white males (don't get me started on Freud) who have something to say to us in the present, if only we have a great white male (May) to explain those works' ongoing relevance. Barf. He conflates love with sex and sex with love; he talks about them nearly interchangeably. His "vive la difference" deterministic attitude, while he does occasionally use words like "fucking" and make reference to the liberation of sexuality made possible by birth control, makes him sound like a square. And he's judgy about sex: impotent men and promiscuous girls (oh, yeah: adult females are girls if they are sexually attractive--this happens more than once) are the WORST. They have so many problems! They need so much help! They are so blind to their empty, empty lives! His use of "hippies" to describe all manner of sexual liberation and concomitant loss of values recalls the attitude of dear Anton Scalia in a recent court decision. At one point, he refers to a patient with so many problems that he went through "a beatnik period" in blind rebellion against the world. His tone, his writing (TOO MANY ITALICS), his examples, his pomposity, it's all too much. I could take this as a straight-up description of how to integrate love and will in one's life. But his attempt to declare his theory all-encompassing and then focus on a limited subset of the male population (without even seeming to realize this) is deceitful and lacks awareness, the same awareness he claims all people should cultivate. There is something to be said for forming relationships, recognizing the conscious and unconscious and social motivations at work in decisions and action, seeing that people are rarely ONLY rational beings, and that acceptance of contradiction or at least acknowledgement of it can be productive. But, again, unless he thought these ideas up (which he didn't, which I know because he provides LOTS AND LOTS of quotations about how other people thought these things up first) why am I to consider this book so influential? Meh.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Love and Will, as necessary human emotions, have become almost indecipherable in our age of technology. Love and WIll showcases that all is not lost. Though the human experience has been confounded in our era of transition, Rollo May helps delineate the interconnectedness of both love and will. Without love, we cannot will. Without will, there is no love. It's a heavy read, but well worth the struggle... which may just epiomize the main point of the novel: both love and will are active verbs whi Love and Will, as necessary human emotions, have become almost indecipherable in our age of technology. Love and WIll showcases that all is not lost. Though the human experience has been confounded in our era of transition, Rollo May helps delineate the interconnectedness of both love and will. Without love, we cannot will. Without will, there is no love. It's a heavy read, but well worth the struggle... which may just epiomize the main point of the novel: both love and will are active verbs which require diligence, attention and faith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Clarke

    May's disorganized style, bloated with highbrow references, sometimes fails to hold my attention as I lose my grip on what he's driving at. Nevertheless, the book is very good, and Chapter 12: "The Meaning of Care" is powerful: from "There is a strange phenomenon about the Vietnam War" to "...what impresses him the most...is...my belief that he can change and that his behavior has meaning."---poignant and beautiful. May's disorganized style, bloated with highbrow references, sometimes fails to hold my attention as I lose my grip on what he's driving at. Nevertheless, the book is very good, and Chapter 12: "The Meaning of Care" is powerful: from "There is a strange phenomenon about the Vietnam War" to "...what impresses him the most...is...my belief that he can change and that his behavior has meaning."---poignant and beautiful.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marcás

    Marvellous! Especially the first half on love. The centrality of 'the daemonic' to his work in practical existential therapy is original and magnificent. Building on the wisdom of generations across the disciplines. This emphasis, on what might also be called Passion, gives Existential therapy a proper mission and he made good use of real life examples to show it's effectiveness. He also highlighted percipiently the perils of repression and perversion of this force. The consequences of taking the Marvellous! Especially the first half on love. The centrality of 'the daemonic' to his work in practical existential therapy is original and magnificent. Building on the wisdom of generations across the disciplines. This emphasis, on what might also be called Passion, gives Existential therapy a proper mission and he made good use of real life examples to show it's effectiveness. He also highlighted percipiently the perils of repression and perversion of this force. The consequences of taking the daemonic, as well as eros, seriously are profound for men, women, sex and civilization. Similarly prophetic witness can be seen in Fr John Behr and Jamie Moran. They also place this daemonic force/Passion where it rightly belongs- a means of giving in love which tramples down death by death. This is fulfilled in Christ who did this in it's complete form and we can participate in that pattern of life, death and resurrection. In the latter half of the book, we received Rollo's reflections on intentionality and many philosophical points. This was good and helped his existential project, especially for bringing will back to love from it's dull Descartian and disneyfied hiatus. However, this ramble was rather dry and overlong, rambling on a bit. All in all though, this is a magnificent book and May's depth can be appreciated especially commensurate with those other Christian writers.

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