Monday, May 2, 2011

I am a neurotic (and so are you)

I am a neurotic (and so are you)
By Lianna Kong

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This is not the kind of book I pick up.  This is not the kind of book I read.  This is not the kind of book I review, and I had no intention of reviewing it once I had it home and discovered what it was!  How’s that for an introduction?

It’s a very quick read (less than an hour).  The pictures are interesting and the neuroses are . . . interesting.  They are a collection of anonymous ideas submitted to an online blog that asked for them.

Many of the ideas — even though they may be true — are quite silly: “I always have to burn any meat I eat. I am so worried I will smell that undercooked, moist essence,” or, “Whenever I kiss my girlfriend I have a need to push my glasses up using her nose,” or “I can only eat jelly doughnuts by squeezing all the jelly out.”

I find most of the neuroses unique.  That is, I think they are peculiar to individuals and not the least bit universal in nature.  Also, I don’t find them neuroses (disorders of the psychic or mental functions) about which neurotics “suffer” (according to the dictionary).  They are, instead, quirks, mannerisms, or idiosyncrasies; however, I’m not sure when a quirk, mannerism, or idiosyncrasy becomes a neurosis.  When does it cross the line?  When it becomes a habit or a defining characteristic?

Yes, you will find that most of them do not fit your own modus operandi — the way you normally behave.  And, because of that, it might make you feel more sane or normal, that’s true.

But we all have little quirks.  The way we squeeze the toothpaste tube, the order in which we eat the food on a plate, the way we get dressed in the morning, the route we take to get to work, the order in which we do our exercises and how many of each we do, which e-mail messages we answer and in which order, etc., etc., etc. . . .

This is not a book I would order (there is virtually no substance here), and it makes no sense as a reference book.  If you left it in your bathroom just to read at those critical moments when you need a book to read, you would finish it in two or three seatings.  The quirks are short; however, they offer little, if any, insight into the human condition or into human behavior since they are totally anecdotal in nature and being relegated to idiosyncrasies rather than to anything supported with evidence, there is no generalization that can be developed based on their expression — except one: Lianna Kong found an interesting way in which to put a book together!

This book is available at I am neurotic (and so are you)

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