Ego and Soul: the modern West in search of meaning

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Scribe Publications Pty Limited, Oct 27, 2008 - Social Science - 336 pages
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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.

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About the author (2008)

John Carroll is professor of sociology at La Trobe University in Melbourne. His books include The Western Dreaming, Terror: a meditation on the meaning of September 11, The Existential Jesus, Ego and Soul: the modern west in search of meaning, and Greek Pilgrimage.

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