I have read the September 17, 2010 book-review in Amazon of the book by Mackler Toward Truth: A Psychological Guide to Enlightenment. The very title is imbued with the entrapments of the New Age. Below I quote part of the book-review I’ve just read in epistle form:
How are you? I finished reading the book and I agree with you to a great extent. By no means DM [Daniel Mackler] “takes Alice Miller to the next level” as it says on the cover and as he seems to see himself. There is nothing much new in this book that Alice Miller hasn’t already said, but in a much better, clearer and more convincing way. He has no real arguments to prove what he says and just repeats what he has read or heard elsewhere and adds some of his own personal points of view, which he has a right to of course, but which he shouldn’t present as general truths, for example his views on sex, relationships, abortion and having children or even keeping pets.
To me he seems a very frustrated person who has not overcome his own traumas as much as he thinks [my emphasis]. The whole book seems more like a personal diary, which may help him in his own personal quest to find himself, but I don’t find it very helpful for someone who is looking for a way out of his or her childhood trauma.
Before he works as a therapist or gives advice to others, he should get a lot of more things settled for himself, in my opinion. He touches a lot of general subjects and truths without getting deeper into any of them, unlike Alice Miller who concentrates on concrete cases and uses them to explain the general mechanism of how mistreatment affects the individual and the society.
Apart from that, I don’t really understand his criteria for enlightenment. Who defines when a person is fully, partially or not at all enlightened and thus has the right to have children for example? I think he generalizes far too much without giving convincing explanations for his opinions, which is ok, as long as it is just his opinion and not an expectation to others.
In general I don’t disagree with what he writes, because it’s obvious that his intentions are good and he wants to defend children. Maybe I wouldn’t go as far as you to call him abusive, I think it’s a question of definition, but I also found him confusing and not very precise, especially for people who read this book without knowing Alice Miller. I think he will rather confirm the negative options of people who reject or minimize the idea of the importance of childhood traumas than convince them. To me he seems to be a perfectionist and a puritan.
As to his language I found it simply horrible, hammering the same phrases over and over again into the reader’s mind, using anaphors (all the sentences starting with the same words) all the time (e.g., it comes as no surprise… if he is fortunate… he conceives… he imagines… etc.). This is the typical stylistic device used by a preacher or a politician who wants to convince his audience of something he has not completely understood himself, trying to give power to his words and to make up for the lack of genuine meaning. His style is demagogic, polemic and fanatic and he states a lot of common places and platitudes (something that he criticises in other writers). When I was reading the book, especially the first part, I visualized a fanatic man preaching to a big crowd. Besides I don’t like his distribution of gender roles, whenever he speaks of the abused child he refers to HIM as HE, while the abusive parent is always a SHE, the same when he speaks of the therapist: the (enlightened) therapist is always a HE while the patient is a SHE. I think this is just discriminating and sexist use of language, even if it is exchangeable, it’s quite significant.
[Paragraph unrelated to Mackler omitted. Note that Mackler himself has confessed in YouTube that his mother was the perpetrator in his childhood—cf. Wirsén’s point about post-Miller entrapments. Search for the phrase: “the author secretly smuggling out and reworking, often lying about and numbing, their abusive emotional childhood…”]
Back to DM I think his book is definitely not a great work of art, but whoever writes a book writes it from his or her own point of view, and it’s up to the readers what we make of it: if we like it or if we consider it worthwhile. Every attempt to make people aware of the connection between childhood dramas and the state of our world is good.
Conclusion: let’s write a better book, a more practical one that might really appeal to people who usually don’t read this kind of books.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Note of October 9, 2011:
The above review is gone! It looks like Mackler asked Amazon Books to censor this review from their site.
My own review was deleted from Amazon too, on the excuse that I quoted Mackler violating his copyright. Actually my review was removed twice! But then I re-submitted it without the quotations and, at least for the moment, this shorter version of my review can be read at Amazon.
Note of March 12, 2012:
And now, thanks to our complains, the reviews have been restored.