Words about God and Life for the Attention Deficit Generation

The Triumph of the Therapeutic

from Elizabeth Lasch-Quinn’s 2006 introduction to Philip Rieff’s seminal work:

Ephebe NarcissusWith nothing shared beyond a commitment to the self, which turns out to be a commitment to nothing, the individual lacks essential resources for flourishing in ordinary times and for solace in periods of great need. The anything goes mentality of niche marketing prevails, driving what qualifies as reading and thinking downward to new lows.

Elizabeth Lasch-Quinn, “Introduction (2006),” in Triumph of the Therapeutic: uses of faith after Freud, by Philip Rieff, 40th Anniversary Edition. (ISI Books, 2006), vii–xxvi.



  1. Sam Norton

    Interesting – I recently took possession of a 2nd hand copy of Rieff as it’s close to what I’m wanting to talk about at MSW in May…

  2. Justin Lewis-Anthony

    And I think that Rieff is as close as it gets to a prophet of our culture. Have you read “The Narcissism Epidemic” by Jean M. Twenge?

  3. Sam Norton

    No – but I do have several books on my shelf about narcissism (eg Lasch) that I plan to be working through. Also did quite a lot of thinking about narcissism in my own 3 years of therapy…!

  4. Blair Paterson

    Just started Gerhard Forde’s “On Being a Theologian of the Cross” and in his preface he notes the shift from sinner to victim and states: “Since we are victims and not really sinners, what we need is affirmation and support, and so on. The language slips and falls out of the place. It becomes therapeutic rather than evangelical…”

  5. Kieran McGovern

    Hello All,
    I have been reading, on and off and with much interest, your Anglican 3 Minute “specific dates” and comments.
    I am just wondering if a special piece might be added to your Anglican Roots theme on the subject :- “Conversations at Malines 1921-1925”.
    While I suppose the vine on which the “Conversations” grew came to nothing and appear to have suffered from “dead arm” at the time, I have a feeling that the particular “special date 1921-1925′ may be about to produce new growth and a very palatable new wine?
    Kieran, Dublin.

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