GREAT BOOKS 18: Jessica Benjamin's The Bonds of Love, with Jessica Benjamin
In several pathbreaking books, Jessica Benjamin provides a major corrective to the modern Western conception of subjectivity. Rather than privileging the development of autonomy and independence, Benjamin asks whether there’s a part of humanity that is deeply relational but gets buried in the stories and practices we impose on ourselves to grow up. This one-sided explanation of who we are as human beings fails both boys & girls, and women & men because it slots us into categories and behaviors that ultimately deny all of us a vital part of our humanity.
I spoke with Benjamin, who is a psychoanalyst, author, and teacher, about a different way of orienting our life stories, and a different way of organizing the disciplines of psychology, sociology, and politics -- and why a deep belief in the repairability of the world is so essential for our survival.