The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost

The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost

Paperback Classics in Human Development

By (author) Jean Liedloff

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  • Publisher: Da Capo Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 208mm x 18mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 22 January 1986
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, MA
  • ISBN 10: 0201050714
  • ISBN 13: 9780201050714
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 29,648

Product description

Jean Liedloff, an American writer, spent two and a half years in the South American jungle living with Stone Age Indians. The experience demolished her Western preconceptions of how we should live and led her to a radically different view of what human nature really is. She offers a new understanding of how we have lost much of our natural well-being and shows us practical ways to regain it for our children and for ourselves.

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Author information

Jean Liedloff practices and teaches psychotherapy based on the Continuum Concept, She lectures and broadcasts in many countries where her views have earned a substantial following. She is living in California.

Editorial reviews

"Already a sensation in England," notes the publisher, and no wonder. Advocating the natural way to raise children, this book insists on the importance of 24-hour physical contact between mother and child, from birth until the child takes the initiative for independent movement, and "instinct-reinforcement" thereafter. This "continuum," an evolutionary adaptation, supplies the crucial sensory experiences which lead to neurosis-free adulthood, an end to anxieties. Uh-oh. Liedloff, who spent several years among the Yequana Indians of Venezuela, is offering their way of bringing up baby as the norm from which we civilized folk have somehow (unspecified) been diverted. No matter that adult Yequanas spend their days fetching water and grating manioc, whereas increasing numbers of young mothers work: those that have a choice will gladly delay careers indefinitely and those who must work can find grandmothers or other eager caretakers to carry baby around while scrubbing and cooking. ("It would help immeasurably if we could see baby care as a nonactivity.") Liedloff maintains that the feeling of bliss which comes from this constant contact (including a shared bed) is what heroin addicts and others (criminals, homosexuals, alcoholics, gamblers) have missed; fortunately, "There is reason to believe that the missing experience can be supplied to children and adults at any stage." Despite a handful of pertinent, original observations, this anti-intellectual argument - like most panaceas - is full of speculations and half-truths, bearing little resemblance to the realities most of us know, and the suggestions for research are feeble. Liedloff (apparently childless) found "the missing center of things" in her "beloved jungle," a reenactment of a childhood epiphany; here, ironically, she seems out of touch. (Kirkus Reviews)

Table of contents

* Introduction * How My ideas Were So Radically Changed * The Continuum Concept * The Beginning of Life * Growing Up * Deprivation of Essential Experiences * Society * Putting Continuum Principles Back to Work