A provocative and elegant defense of the art of kindness in a selfish age
Kindness is the foundation of the world’s great religions and most-enduring philosophies. Why, then, does being kind feel so dangerous? If we crave kindness with such intensity, why is it the last pleasure we permit ourselves? And why—despite our longing— are we often suspicious when we are on the receiving end of it?
In this brilliant book, eminent psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and historian Barbara Taylor examine the terrors of kindness. As a species we seem to have become fundamentally antagonistic to one another, our motives self-seeking. Drawing on intellectual history, literature, psychoanalysis, and contemporary social theory, this book explains how and why we have chosen loneliness over connection. On Kindness argues that a life lived in instinctive, sympathetic identification with others is the one we should allow ourselves to live.
Bursting with often shocking insight, this brief and essential book will return to its readers what Marcus Aurelius declared was mankind’s “greatest delight”: the intense satisfactions of generosity and compassion.
About the Authors:
Adam Phillips is a psychoanalyst and the author of twelve books, including On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored and, most recently, Side Effects. Barbara Taylor has published several highly regarded books on the history of feminism. Both live in London.