Why do people do things that are blatantly bad for them? Think of the falls from grace of Richard Nixon, Gary Hart, Rob Lowe, Martha Stewart, and Kobe Bryant. Portmann argues that we are often our own worst enemies, and that the hardest kind of ...
suffering to bear is what we inflict upon ourselves. This groundbreaking book is a wide-ranging exploration of self-destructive behavior and self-injury. It helps us better understand how and why we engineer our own downfalls, and why dizzying reversals of fortune often leave a trail that leads back to people who should have known better—like Jayson Blair and his blatant plagiarism or Bill Clinton and his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
After developing an exciting philosophical category—"raving"—in which we take leave of our senses and refuse to act according to societal mores, Portmann observes that we all occasionally crave the forbidden or the dangerous. While raving takes varied forms, from streaking nude across a college campus to indulging in unsafe sex, it is best described as "a temporary vacation from the self." Cautioning that our very happiness is at stake, Portmann exhorts us to choose wisely. This rare book is the North Star for cautious rebels.
"Bad for Us is an engaging book that explores a social and moral paradox. Drawing from thinkers ranging from Immanuel Kant to Thomas Sowell to Madonna, John Portmann deeply explores a topic all but taboo among modern writers—the dual need each of us feels to develop and maintain a sense of self-control, and to lose it from time to time." —William N. Eskridge, Jr., author of Gaylaw: Challenging the Apartheid of the Closet and John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School
Number of pages: 224
Date of publication: 15/07/2004
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