Flesh and Soul Publication date : March 6, 2008
For centuries, humanity has been intrigued by the mysterious accords and discords between body and soul. Boris Cyrulnik re-examines these mysteries in the light of recent findings in the neurosciences and of clinical data gathered by research groups working under his supervision. Backed by specific examples, he demonstrates how the affective envelope we live in has profound neurological consequences.
He concludes that vulnerability is not a curse: weak serotonin transmitters, acting as “affective cushioning”, construct a safe environment in which they can successfully assert themselves. Suffering, says Cyrulnik, is not only physical but also psychic, and words can be as deeply hurtful as deeds. He argues that the ageing process is accompanied by the disappearance of anxiety and by the development of a sense of a Supreme Being.
As in his previous books, Cyrulnik makes us aware of the extent of our inner strength and shows us how we can use it not only to make up for our weaknesses but also to help others. He provides clear, positive answers to some of life's great issues: vulnerability, mental suffering, empathy, ageing. And he argues that humans were only able to raise themselves above the animal state by constructing an appropriate affective environment — neither aggressive nor overly protective, but stimulating and compassionate.
Following his earlier best-selling works on resilience, Cyrulnik now reveals the environmental conditions that are a prerequisite for happiness and success.
Boris Cyrulnik, a neuro-psychiatrist, is a director of studies at the University of Toulon, France. He is the author of many best-selling books, most notably Un merveilleux malheur(1999) and Les vilains petits canards (2001), which have helped popularise the notion of resilience. His works include Les Nourritures affectives (1993), L'Ensorcellement du monde (1997), Le Murmure des fantômes (2003) and Parler d'amour au bord du gouffre (2004).