Monday, November 01, 2021

Book tells the Philip Roth Story

Philip Roth is the world's most famous Jewish novelist, with 4 of his novels among the top 25 Jewish novels. He was a Jewish atheist who rejected some Jewish traditions, but his writings were very much about Jewish life.

A new biography reveals what a neurotic weirdo he was:

After becoming a bestselling author and National Book Award winner, Roth was paying 50 percent of his income for psychotherapy (for himself, a blonde to whom he was briefly married, and a stepdaughter who came with the blonde). ...

What did he do with the other half of his money at the time? By order of the New York Family Court, he was paying it to his plaintiff (the blonde). ...

One of the topics that Roth discussed with his psychoanalyst was his desire to kill his plaintiff and thereby more than double his spending power. (One reason that Roth was angry with his plaintiff, aside from her continuing bids for increased alimony, was that she had obtained his agreement to marry via fraud. She purchased urine from a pregnant woman and turned that into a positive pregnancy test result, which induced Roth to “do the right thing.”) The topic was being discussed with the medial-psychiatric professional at a tremendous weekly cost right up to the point that the plaintiff was killed in a car accident (1968), thus putting an end to family court litigation that had lasted longer than the marriage and to alimony payments and legal fees that consumed more than half of Roth’s income (he borrowed to pay his lawyers, his plaintiff, and the platoon of shrinks).

He was also a Trump-hater, and his politics was driven by weird paranoid delusions.

It is funny how Roth could reject much of Judaism, and then buy whole hog into Jewish psychoanalysis. I have never heard a good explanation of why Jews believe in that stuff so much. Maybe they are much more neurotic than non-Jews, but even if so, why did Roth continue to pay big bucks for it when it did not seem to be doing anything for him?

It seems to be one of those bizarre Jewish beliefs, like hating Trump. If I were to make a list of the top wacky Jewish beliefs, I think Psychoanalysis would be tops, and Marxism second. They believe in that stuff more than the Bible.

I found this message posted somewhere.

I am not sure about what motivates this. I have heard that schizophrenics get along better with other schizophrenics, than normal people. Pretty much everyone in psychotherapy is suffering from a serious mental illness, and those people often resent normal people, and seek to normalize mental illness.

The NY Times has an essay on why conservatives are happier than liberals.

Conservatives generally score higher on internal control as well as the Protestant Work Ethic, which emphasizes the inherent meaningfulness and value of work and the strong linkage between one’s efforts and outcomes, and is positively associated with achievement. Liberals, on the other hand, are more likely to see outcomes as due to factors beyond one’s personal control, including luck and properties of the social system.

These differences have consequences:

Perceptions of internal control, self-efficacy, and the engagement in meaningful work are strongly related to life satisfaction.

This makes sense to me. It is hard to see how anyone in psychotherapy could be happy. Philip Roth was probably miserable.

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