Voyages of the Heart

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9780029011089: Voyages of the Heart

This book argues that, at a pre-conscious level at least, we control our emotions rather than being at the mercy of them. The authors say that we should seek to understand our emotions and thus be better equipped to cope with situations that provoke strong emotional responses. The book starts by using recent research in psychology, biology, anthropology and sociology to give an account of the nature of emotion and the extent to which individuals are able to control them. It goes on to compare the expression and management of emotion in men and women, and in different cultures and societies. Finally, it adduces evidence to support the theory that people who have a better undestanding of their own emotions are more sympathetic towards others.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A deep, wide-ranging, and scholarly exploration of emotion by two psychologists who assert that this area of human nature is much more subject to our control and creative transformation than is commonly believed. Drawing on the writings of poets, artists, philosophers, and other psychologists, and grounding their own somewhat abstract concepts in fascinating examples selected from their therapeutic practices, Averill (Psychology/UMass at Amherst) and Nunley (a Texas clinician) discuss the nature of emotion and the myths surrounding it (e.g., that emotion is biologically determined; that it is the same for both sexes and across all eras and cultures; and that it necessarily holds us in an unshakable grip). The authors present evidence from other cultures and times that show a great variety in such supposedly universal and primary emotions as love and anger, and they go on to explore the nature of creativity and suggest that an ``ART'' of emotion (``Acquisition, Refinement, and Transformation'') is possible. After examining the most common conditions that challenge and facilitate our emotional development (death and dying, pain and pleasure, intimacy, solitude, freedom, autonomy, imagination, the arts), Averill and Nunley recommend five steps to foster an emotionally creative life (making a commitment to remain emotionally flexible; being knowledgeable about the possible range of emotional responses, etc.). Provocative but stronger in theory than in practical application--and further examples of people who replaced uncreative emotional responses with more authentic and effective ones would have enhanced the closing prescriptions. Still, overall, rewarding- -if demanding. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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James R. Averill
Published by Free Press (1992)
ISBN 10: 0029011086 ISBN 13: 9780029011089
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