A radical new take on one of humanity's most misunderstood periods of transition: the midlife crisis.
Only two species of mammal have a post-reproductive life that lasts longer than their reproductive life: killer whales, whose elders are able to sniff out food supplies over vast oceanic distances to keep their pods fed, and Homo sapiens. While the evolutionary purpose of the killer whale’s extensive life seems clear, what is the point of ours?
This was a question that intrigued the psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who observed that if a culture is to maintain its deepest, profoundest roots while moving forward to embrace the challenges of historical and technological change, it needs to find an equilibrium between the energy, vigor, and creativity of those in the ego-driven first half of life and the experience, dignity, and wisdom of those in the second. But to make it to that second half of life, we need to traverse the dreaded middle years, when so many of us find ourselves discontented with our jobs, unhappy in our relationships, and lamenting our fetishized youths.
In this highly readable and groundbreaking new book, the psychoanalyst Andrew Jamieson examines the Jungian concept of the midlife crisis to show how it is an essential evolutionary and social rite of passage that we all must proceed through—a set of challenges that we either take advantage of or ignore, depending on whether our complex or neurosis blocks this developmental impulse.
Drawing on history, psychology, science, and literature, Jamieson shows just how ubiquitous, and crucial, the “midlife crisis” is, and the devastating consequences for society at large if we continue to regard it as something we can, and should, avoid.
About the Author
Andrew Jamieson has worked in the music business in the UK for over forty years. After coming out the other side of his own “midlife transition,” he retrained and is now a practicing psychotherapist. He lives in Bath, Somerset, UK.