The book’s very stimulating thesis: the twenty-first century will be the century of the brain and the neurosciences, which are already playing the role that psychoanalysis played in the twentieth century.
Examining the changes that have occurred since the 19th century in both psychiatry and society at large, this book shows how the internal collapse that is depression is the ultimate symbol of our culture of powerlessness. The depressed person cannot rise above the demands imposed on him or that he imposes on himself. He has no recourse but fatigue, inhibition, and indecision. But what does it mean to learn to be oneself? Is our society merely creating huge numbers of hypochondriacs? Can we any longer draw a line between the small unhappinesses and frustrations of daily life, and pathological suffering? Alain Ehrenberg is a sociologist.