How much do I want to read more? 8/10

This book reads well with the idea I had at the back of my mind at this time. I come from a hollow, a deep sense of not knowing myself. To know oneself, we should fill ourselves from the inside: analyse our thoughts, ask why do we think this way, does it serves me well, and what should I do better next time.
I'm also looking to absorb content and ideas that echoe with my values. And knowing what my values are in the first place. What helps me is getting more attentive with insights I get when something resonate with me.
We sometime need to experience a deep low, so that we have no other choice but to know ourselves for the better.
if you're experiencing this kind of will to overcome your emptiness, or are looking where to fit in society, this book will certainly speak to you.


Epigraph

To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self. . . . And to venture in the highest sense is precisely to become conscious of one’s self.

—- Kierkegaard


The one goeth to his neighbor because he seeketh himself, and the other because he would fain lose himself. Your bad love to yourselves maketh solitude a prison to you.

—- Nietzsche


Preface

ONE of the few blessings of living in an age of anxiety is that we are forced to become aware of ourselves.

the therapist who did not get glimpses into what blinds people in our day from themselves, and what blocks them in finding values and goals they can affirm.

Alfred Adler once said, referring to the children’s school he had founded in Vienna, “The pupils teach the teachers.” It is always thus in psychotherapy.

every good book is a self-help book—it helps the reader, through seeing himself and his own experiences reflected in the book, to gain new light on his own problems of personal integration.

the wisdom of those who through the ages, in the fields of literature, philosophy, and ethics, have sought to understand how man can best meet his insecurity and personal crises, and turn them to constructive uses.


Part 1 - OUR PREDICAMENT

1/ The Loneliness and Anxiety of Modern Man

When we look beneath the outward occasions for people’s disturbances, such as the threat of war, the draft, and economic uncertainty, what do we find are the underlying conflicts?
To be sure, the symptoms of disturbance which people describe, in our age as in any other, are unhappiness, inability to decide about marriage or vocations, general despair and meaninglessness in their lives, and so on. But what underlies these symptoms?

The Hollow People

the chief problem of people in the middle decade of the twentieth century is emptiness.
not only that many people do not know what they want; they often do not have any clear idea of what they feel.

What people want? to get a job, to fall in love and marry and raise a family —but it is soon evident, even to them, that they are describing what others, parents, professors, employers, expect of them rather than what they themselves want.
“I’m just a collection of mirrors, reflecting what everyone else expects of me.”

sex for so many people is an empty, mechanical and vacuous experience.

One might place on his tombstone the epitaph, “Like the dinosaur, he had power without the ability to change, strength without the capacity to learn.”

The clearest picture of the empty life is the suburban man, who gets up at the same hour every weekday morning, takes the same train to work in the city, performs the same task in the office, lunches at the same place, leaves the same tip for the waitress each day, comes home on the same train each night, has 2.3 children, cultivates a little garden, spends a two-week vacation at the shore every summer which he does not enjoy, goes to church every Christmas and Easter, and moves through a routine, mechanical existence year after year until he finally retires at sixty-five and very soon thereafter dies of heart failure, possibly brought on by repressed hostility. I have always had the secret suspicion, however, that he dies of boredom.

Perhaps Americans will arrive at an ant society, not through fiat of a dictator, but through unbridled desire to get along with one another.

The experience of emptiness, rather, generally comes from people’s feeling that they are powerless to do anything effective about their lives or the world they live in.
his conviction that he cannot act as an entity in directing his own life, or effectually influence the world around him.

When a person continually faces dangers he is powerless to overcome, his final line of defense is at last to avoid even feeling the dangers.

We need only remind ourselves that the ethical and emotional emptiness in European society two and three decades ago was an open invitation to fascist dictatorships to step in and fill the vacuum.