The Tower of Babel: Identity and sanity.

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(11), 973. Reviews the book, The Tower of Babel: Identity and sanity by Adi Shmueli (see record 1979-21171-000). This book presents the author's view of what sanity is and how psychologists can help people become more sane. The argument is tied at key points to empirical research, but the author does not attempt to build an airtight empirical case. Instead, he uses illustration, myth, and parable to convey his ideas. The biblical story of the “Tower of Babel” is his central metaphor for analyzing the relationship between identity and sanity. Shmueli suggests that the quest for identity, for making a name, involves constructing cognitive towers of meaning. The extremes of identity construction, lack of any identity or rigid adherence to a fixed identity, are insane. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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