Book Review – The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

The psychology of Alfred Adler (1870-1937) – a rival of Freud

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We determine our own lives according to the meaning we give to past experiences.

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Takeaway – My notes and quotes from the book

  • This world is astonishing simple and life itself is, too
  • You live in a subjective world that we ourselves have given meaning to
  • Alfred Adler is in line with Greek Philosophy
  • AETIOLOGY vs TELEOLOGY
  • We are not determined by our experiences, but by the meaning we give them
  • We do not suffer from the shock of our experiences – the so-called trauma – but instead we make out of them whatever suits our purposes
  • If he thinks, “I can’t … because I was abused by my parents”, it’s because it is his goal to think that way. His real goal is “not going out.” He is creating anxiety and fear as his reasons to stay inside. Why doesn’t he want to go out? So his parents will worry. So he can get all his parents’ attention. If he takes one step out of the house, he’ll become part of a faceless mass whom no one pays attention to. He’ll end up average, or less than average. And no one will take special care of him.
  • Everyone of us is living in line with some goal
  • You did not fly into a rage and then start shouting. You got angry so that you could shout. To fulfill your goal of shouting, you created the emotion of anger.
  • Anger is a tool that can be taken out as needed. It can be put away the moment the phone rings, and pulled out again after one hangs up. Anger is a means to achieve a goal. Personal anger is nothing but a tool for making others submit to you. Anger is a form of communication, and that communication is possible without using anger.
  • You are not controlled by emotion. When you fly into a rage and shout at another person, it is “you as a whole” who is choosing to shout. Emotions don’t somehow exist independently. It is a lie to separate “I” from “emotion” and think, “It was the emotion that made me do it.”
  • You are not controlled by the past. The Freudian etiology that is typified by the trauma argument is determinism, and it is the road to nihilism. Freudian etiology denies our free will and treats humans like machines.
  • You should arrive at answers on your own, and not rely upon what you get from someone else

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