September 26, 1966

The Ways of the Will: Essays Toward a Psychology and Psychopathology of Will

Author Affiliations



by Leslie H. Farber, 226 pp, $5.95, New York and London: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1966.

JAMA. 1966;197(13):1110. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110130110046

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Although "will to power" was recognized by Alfred Adler, and Otto Rank promulgated "will psychology," most 20th century psychiatrists have paid little attention to the subject. Perhaps the preference of many scientists for determinism leads them to deny the existence of will, although they discuss motivations and desires. Perhaps some association of will and morality, and a reluctance to discuss the latter, explain this avoidance. Now, however, Farber, a psychoanalyst active in the Washington School of Psychiatry, has written a book about the will.

The first chapter discusses the many shades of meaning of the term and describes two distinct relams. The first is the general underlying direction or aim of our lives, the second, the more immediate conscious purposes and goals. The author points out how often we attempt to exert will in areas where it cannot succeed. For instance, we can will knowledge, but not wisdom; eating, but