Knots by R. D. Laing

Jack likes my blog
There­fore I like Jack
Jill doesn’t like my blog
There­fore I don’t like Jill

Jack likes Jill
Jill doesn’t like my blog
They have a fight
Jack doesn’t like Jill

I love Jack for not lik­ing Jill
Jill hates me for mak­ing Jack not like her
I hate Jill for hat­ing me
Jack loves me

With me so far? I don’t think so, but if you are, you must read R. D. Laing’s book, “Knots”. I read the book dur­ing my ado­les­cent years, and didn’t think it would appeal to most peo­ple. I was hyp­no­tized and trapped by it. Then I dis­cov­ered that the book was a great suc­cess when it sold 75,000 copies in US in a few weeks, when pub­lished in 1970. But that was a dif­fer­ent era…

R. D. Laing was a con­tro­ver­sial psy­chi­a­trist — an excerpt from his Wikipedia entry:

Laing was, more­over, a crit­ic of psy­chi­atric diag­no­sis, he argued that diag­no­sis of a men­tal dis­or­der con­tra­dict­ed accept­ed med­ical pro­ce­dure: diag­no­sis was made on the basis of behav­ior or con­duct, and exam­i­na­tion and ancil­lary tests that tra­di­tion­al­ly pre­cede diag­no­sis of viable patholo­gies occurred after the diag­no­sis of men­tal dis­or­der. Hence, psy­chi­a­try was found­ed on a false epis­te­mol­o­gy: ill­ness diag­nosed by con­duct but treat­ed bio­log­i­cal­ly.”

A real excerpt from the book:

Once upon a time, when Jack was lit­tle,
he want­ed to be with his mum­my all the time
and was fright­ened she would go away

lat­er, when he was a lit­tle big­ger,
he want­ed to be away from his mum­my
and was fright­ened that
she want­ed him to be with her all the time

when he grew up he fell in love with Jill
and he want­ed to be with her all the time
and was fright­ened she would go away

when he was a lit­tle old­er,
he did not want to be with Jill all the time
he was fright­ened
that she want­ed to be with him all the time, and
that she was fright­ened
that he did not want to be with her all the time

Jack fright­ens Jill he will leave her
because he is fright­ened she will leave him.

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  • Bill

    Read “Knots” in col­lege in the 1970’s and got around to buy­ing a copy around 2004. It’s still a great col­lec­tion. There was a short film made in the ear­ly 70’s with R.D. explain­ing how “peo­ple have a habit of tying each oth­er up in knots” and some actors did read­ings of some of the poems. Great stuff.

  • It’s the first time I com­ment­ed here and I should say that you share us gen­uine, and qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion for blog­gers! Good job.
    p.s. You have an awe­some tem­plate . Where have you got it from?

  • Inter­est­ing. I’m tempt­ed to say it can have an alter­na­tive title of “That’s Life! for Dum­mies”. Except, it wont only be for dum­mies. Will look it up 🙂

    -one such dum­my

    • I think you will like it, Gau­ri. A pro­found, if some­times dif­fi­cult read.