“On (and Beyond) Love Gone Wrong” is an essay written by Stephen A. Erickson included in Phineas Upham’s book Space of Love and Garbage. Stephen A. Erickson is the E. Wilson Lyon Professor of Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Pomona College in Claremont, California. His latest book is The (Coming) Age of Thresholding. He lectures extensively throughout the United States, England and Continental Europe on what he sees as the underlying sense of emptiness in contemporary life. His research involves the renewed exploration of what it means to be in but not altogether of this world.
Here is the bio (above) from the essay and a quotation of my favorite paragraphs of the essay (below).
Christopher Lasch and others have suggested that the narcissistic personality is paradigmatic of our time—not that it is the only or all-determining paradigm of the late-twentieth-century human, but, certainly, that it is a contributing one, and one which greatly influences our self-understanding and the actions (and those more broadly conceived practices) which issue from this understanding.
Some go significantly further. Heinz Kohut, in fact, the recently deceased founder and leader of the “self-psychology” movement, has construed narcissistic personality disorder to be the most pervasive and explanatory malady of our historical age. Love, it seems, has somehow gone terribly wrong, and, as Dr. Krokowski, high up in the sanitarium in Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain, pointed out long ago, only emptiness, illness, and devastation are likely to follow. We are presented with a bleak picture of the human heart indeed.