October 1964

The Vital Balance: The Life Process in Mental Health and Illness.

Author Affiliations

By Karl Menninger, MD, with Martin Mayman, PhD, and Paul Pruysen, PhD. Price, $10. Pp 531. Viking Press, 625 Madison Ave, New York 10022, 1963.

Arch Intern Med. 1964;114(4):579-580. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.03860100161050

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The three mythical princes of Ceylon in their search for the legendary verse, "Death to Dragons," have a serendipitous journey filled with fascinating diversions. This volume is such a journey. The magic scroll is the unitary concept of mental illness. In Dr. Karl's odyssey one visits the "Intangibles" and the dimension of hope, which have changed psychiatry from a static to a highly dynamic specialty.

Man is not a mere spectator of cosmic events but a prime mover in choosing his own existence. In the last 5,000 years two or three simple descriptive psychiatric entities grew into thousands of mental illnesses. With the development of the modern era the number of recognized illnesses was progressively reduced. In this volume Menninger reduces all illnesses to one. In this heuristic model of human behavior there are five levels of hierarchical organization of the personality complex. On the first level ordinary ways of

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