The Myth of Irrationality: The Science of the Mind from Plato to Star Trek

John McCrone, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $24 (339p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0067-7
McCrone ( The Ape That Spoke ) redraws the map of psychology in this iconoclastic, often provocative work. He labels as harmful fallacy the persistent belief, from Plato to Freud, that humans have an irrational, emotional core. Instead of Freud's model dividing the mind into ego, id and superego, McCrone advances a bifold model differentiating the mind's animal roots from its cultural components--self-awareness, language, thought, refined feeling, memory. Central to his theory is the ``inner voice'' with which we speak silently in our heads and which, McCrone argues, is instrumental to thought. Blaming the ``myth of irrationality'' for today's rampant individualism and cult of self-assertion, he advocates a self-aware, ``post-romantic'' approach to experiencing emotion. So-called feral children, the mental processes of the deaf and the neglected research of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who investigated the ``inner voice'' in the 1930s, provide grist for McCrone's thesis. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
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