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Battling the Inner Dummy: The Craziness of Apparently Normal People.

David L. Weiner with Gilbert M. Hefter. Battling the inner Dummy: The Craziness of Apparently Normal People. Amherst, New York: Prometheus, 1999.

Freud believed that the "id," a name he gave to the brain's center of instinctual action, has no concept of time, awareness, or logic. In other words, it can be impervious to the persuasion of what he called the "ego," or our rational, "external conduit" (his words) that science believes has its basis in the brain's neocortex.

For popular psychology writer David Weiner "id" stands for "Inner Dummy" and in Battling the inner Dummy he examines and describes how this part of our brain's primitive limbic system can cause otherwise "normal" people to act wacky. For example, the inner dummy led Bill Clinton to have multiple romps with Monica Lewinsky; it moved a fifteen-year-old girl who weighed eighty-two pounds to believe she's obese; and it impelled a professor to scream profanities at other drivers in snarled traffic.

To battle the inner dummy Weiner suggests employing strategies such as:

* Change your environment in some way to avoid whatever may trigger the id drives one is trying to avoid.

* Employ "ego defense" strategies, like willpower, to resist tempting limbic-based drives and/or endure their punishing emotion.

* Utilize relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation.

* Use "education therapy" since, for most of us, learning something focuses and exercises the rational side of our mind.

Weiner also includes sound advice from clinical psychiatrist Gilbert Hefter on how to handle our own Inner Dummies with built-in rewards and punishments, and he cleverly interweaves delightful, imagined conversations with Freud and with staffers at a mythical advertising agency, who have been given the assignment of communicating the nature of the id's irrationalities to the general public (e.g., T-shirts that say "Would someone please fix my Inner Dummy before I fall in love with another idiot?" and a bathroom scale that automatically subtracts eight pounds from your current weight each time you use it).

Robert Anton Wilson, an author and a former Korzybski Memorial lecturer, notes that "... Battling the Inner Dummy is the most enlightening, amusing, hopeful, and generally wonderful book on psychology and brain science in the last decade. Weiner deserves five gold stars." Considering the fun I had reading this book I'd give him six.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:LEVINSON, MARGIN H.
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Words:382
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