A nonconfrontational strategy for social change

If we want to heal the world, we might look for an effective treatment or therapy. In this context, Roth contrasts solution-focused and problem-focused therapies. A problem-focused therapy, which is the traditional approach, seeks greater understanding of the problem—the diagnosed condition. But greater understanding or insight doesn’t necessarily alleviate the pain or save the patient.

Hedda Gabler and the specialist

The only way to manage the explosion of knowledge in 18th-19th centuries was through specialization. In premodern Europe, the amateur or “gentleman scholar” could be respected. A person of wide learning who studies for the pleasure it, not as a profession, would be much sought after in upper class society, which is the world Hedda Gabbler is accustomed to and wants to return to. When she can’t find it–and other characters’ desires start closing in on her–she shoots herself.

The Novel, the Individual, and the Public

In a primarily stratified or centralized society, there can be no individuality in the modern sense. The same can be said for the public. There was no public in pre-modern society because there was no individual. The individual/pubic distinction arose together as a result of functional differentiation, which legally separated the individual off from the family

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