Bruno Bettelheim Essays

It was as if asking him to talk about his life and ideas was equivalent to asking him to look through a scrapbook from a now-inconsequential journey. The older one gets, the greater the likelihood that one will be kept alive without purpose.” I asked him to elaborate, and he dodged the question.Finally frustrated by his disinterest, I asked him abruptly: “Are you afraid of dying? Seeing that he was growing tired, I turned off the tape recorder and prepared to leave, when Bettelheim unexpectedly turned to me. “I am planning to take a trip to Europe from which I may or may not come back.” His intention, he said, was to meet with a doctor in Holland, an old friend of his, who was willing to give him a lethal, and in Holland a perfectly legal, injection.That October, it was clear that he had squarely faced the multiplicity of issues brought on by old age and confronted the question: To be or not to be?

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As director of the Orthogenic School in Chicago, he successfully treated children who were so emotionally withdrawn they had been written off as incurable.

He wrote dozens of influential essays and books, among them the 1976 National Book Award winner “The Uses of Enchantment,” which explored how fairy tales help children wrestle with their most troublesome problems and fears.

For the record Los Angeles Times Sunday April 7, 1991 Home Edition Los Angeles Times Magazine Page 8 Times Magazine Desk 1 inches; 17 words Type of Material: Correction The name of Bettelheim’s long-time literary agent, Theron Raines , was misspelled in “Love and Death.”Although the calendar read late October, it was one of those flawless, forever-summer Southern California days--a disturbing contrast to the conversation at hand: Bruno Bettelheim was talking about whether or not he would kill himself. “However, if I could be sure that I would not be in pain or be a vegetable, then, like most everyone, I believe I would prefer to live.” And then he smiled.

For a moment his gaze traveled around the room, which was filled with a lifetime’s treasures: Greek and pre-Columbian artifacts from various trips abroad, a wall full of art books and operatic recordings, Rembrandt etchings and, centered over the couch, an eerily beautiful painting, of a woman walking down the side of a building, titled “The Dreamer.” “Things I enjoyed are no longer available to me, you know,” he said. “But, of course,” he said, “there is no such guarantee.

When he conducted his guest to a chair, his gait was shuffling and labored, his shoulders permanently hunched. It was the worst of all times.’ It all depends on how you look at it.

Ali Shoeb Phd Thesis - Bruno Bettelheim Essays

As he talked, the movements of his right hand--his writing hand--were jerky, inaccurate and obviously not completely within his conscious control. At my age you can no longer look at it and say, ‘It is the best of all times.’ At least, I find it impossible.”He paused.

“THE PROBLEM IS finding a reason to live.”The man talking was Bruno Bettelheim, legendary psychoanalyst and child psychologist.

He was seated in his favorite chair, a 1960s vintage Danish Modern, in the living room of his fifth-floor Santa Monica condominium.

The news of his death stunned the psychological community.

For 50 years, Bruno Bettelheim had been acknowledged as one of the most important thinkers and practitioners in the field of psychology and child development.


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