The Gift of Feeling

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Our Western civilization is masculine and dominated by masculine values: cold objectivity, reason, power, efficiency and competition. This means the suppression of other values in the sphere of irrationality and subjectivity: sentiments, emotions, personal relationships. It is no coincidence that women have been rejected from public life and culture and relegated all too often to the home. This situation has given rise to the enormous contrast between the great powers of science and technology and the decline in the quality of life. Men are interested in things and mechanisms, women in people. Men have constructed a world of things in which people suffer, believing themselves manipulated like one more machine. Paul Tournier argues that this is a situation in which women can make a decisive contribution. For a century they have struggled to take their places in civilization. In order to do so however, they have had to adapt to fit a masculine society. They have proved capable of that, but could they not go on from there to cure our civilization of its malaise and introduce what is missing, a sense of the person? This is the question asked by this book. As in Dr Tournier's previous books, it is not raised in a theoretical way but concretely, through his own experiences, in his personal life, in his marriage and his long career as a counsellor during which he has heard so many confidences about feminine discontent.