Monday, October 5, 2015

"There is No Self"

"You are never the same once you have acquired the 
knowledge that there is no self that will not crumble."

- Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon

This is the most beautiful book. I've been up late devouring it the past two nights and I can't recommend it highly enough—whether you have experienced mental illness firsthand or know someone who has. Beautifully written, beautifully clear, beautifully compassionate.


  1. I agree, that book is amazing. I already told you this but will put it here for the possible benefit of other readers, his later book, 'Far From the Tree,' is also wonderfully written and totally engrossing. It didn't hit home with me for personal reasons like 'The Noonday Demon' did, because I hadn't really been affected by the issues it covers, but it was still fascinating and all I wanted to do the week I was reading it was talk about it to everyone I knew.

    1. I have loved 99% of the book so far. That being said:

      I think he missed the boat on his discussion of "female depression." It felt a bit dismissive (just a couple pages in a 400+ page book), especially since women suffer depression at far greater rates than men—particularly middle-class white men... Furthermore, he cherrypicked some of the most extreme/militant feminists to represent "feminism," which made the whole issue seem wildly irrational.

      We could argue that our discussion/research agendas/target outcomes should really be driven by "female depression," since women suffer at a rate two-fold that of men. But of course medicine and scientific research is and always has been a good old boys' club.

      I understand that Solomon is a man and was writing from that perspective, but I could have used a little more humility/insight from him on this point.

    2. I don't remember that part at all; I wonder if I blocked it or if it's something he added when he released an updated edition a year or two ago. Does sound like a fumble on his part!