The Path Not Taken: Reflections on Power and Fear

Allen Wheelis, Author
Allen Wheelis, Author W. W. Norton & Company $17.95 (123p) ISBN 978-0-393-02831-7
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Sounding like a cross between Machiavelli and Alfred Adler, San Francisco psychoanalyst Wheeler sees the will to power as all-pervasive. Anything altruistic--love, charity, self-sacrifice--is just another mask of power, he contends. Fear and morality are the only barriers to strivings for power, in his theory, and nations, the most power-mongering of entities, ``speak the language of morality without the intention of being limited by it.'' The lone individual who refuses to accept conformist norms--the artist, the rebel--lives in existential dread and isolation. Wheelis, whose books include The Scheme of Things and the novel The Doctor of Desire, uncomfortably mixes into this short meditation autobiographical fragments reflecting his own development as a ``weakling'' (a thinker, an introspective seeker). Still, his relentless vision of power as the motive and measure of all things is disturbing. (June)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!