The Western tradition relies on a balance between fulfilling the ego and allowing the soul freedom to speak. But, with modernity, the old certainties that guided human life have faded. A crisis of meaning has followed.
In this substantially revised edition of Ego and Soul, John Carroll examines the battlegrounds across which a struggle for meaning is being fought — including work, sport, intimacy, the university, shopping, tourism, computers, democracy, and a retreat into nature.
On the one side, depressive pessimism, rancour, and disenchantment have arisen, accompanied by rampant consumerism. The upper-middle-class elites, with their high culture, have lost their way. On the other side, much of what people still do disguises a search for meaning. Groping unconsciously for direction, inhabitants of the modern West are even, in their ordinary and everyday lives, casting lines into the transcendent in the hope of a catch. And there is success.
Ego and Soul offers a surprising and compelling new look at the way we live today, and the way we try to make sense of our lives.
'John Carroll writes books that are generally hard to categorise. They range across the areas of philosophy, history, politics, cultural studies and theology with consummate ease in his attempt to get to what he sees as the root causes of modernity. In Ego and Soul, Carroll looks at the cultural beliefs attached to modern existence and explains why each of these disguises an underlying and sometimes desperate search for meaning … Ego and Soul is written with clarity and is for anyone who wants to explore the reasons behind some of the perplexing cultural problems that face us today. FOUR-AND-A-HALF STARS'