InThe Body Never Lies, Miller pays particular attention to the Fourth Commandment—the edict that one must honor one’s parents, no matter their conduct. For thousands of years, this commandment—in concert with our personal denial of early maltreatment—has led us toward repression, emotional detachment, illness and suicide. This Commandment, suggests the author, is a species of morality “that consigns our genuine feelings and our own personal truth to an unmarked grave.” While many of the Ten Commandments remain valid, the Fourth Commandment is diametrically opposed to the laws of psychology.
To illustrate her ideas, Miller provides brief portrayals of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzche, Friedrich von Schiller, Virginia Woolf, Arthur Rimbaud, Yukio Mishima, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Saddam Hussein, and Adolf Hitler.
What do these writers, dictators, serial killers and others have in common? They all lived their lives in accord with the Fourth Commandment. They…
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