The Quest for Identity Author:Allen Wheelis (From inside cover): This book is an essay on man in mid-twentieth century America. It is concerned with his changing character, with the loss of his old identity, and his search for a new one. It is concerned also with psychoanalysis, to which he turns with increasing frequency in this quest. The relevance of psychoanalysis to the treatment of ... more »neurosis is not in question here; but the relevance of psychoanalysis to the malaise of our times - the quest for identity - is subjected to searching critical examination.
Allen Wheelis explores the implications and consequences of accelerating social change with a fresh and penetrating intelligence. The decline of the superego, the diminished unconscious, the underminining of traditional values and ways of adjusting to life are seen to cause new patterns of personal unrest and uncertainty. The need to find a basis for a durable sense of identity for our time. For, says the author, modern man cannot recapture an identity out of the past; his old identity was not lost, but outgrown. Identity is not, therefore, to be found; it is to be created and achieved.
Interwoven with the analytical reflections of this book are episodes of personal narrative, written with the skill and power of a novelist. These counterpoint the sections which portray the emergent social character of today, and provide an individual measure of social change.« less