The Revolutionary War at the Straits of Mackinac: At The Crossroads
The secular-fueled religious revival

The epitome of arrogant self-help: Richard Schwartz's No Bad Parts

I have read a fair number of pop-psychology and self-help books, always under duress.  I've found my archetype, identified my color and learned my language.

None of has mattered in the least because it's just the same warmed-over feelgood nonsense.

That being said, Richard Schwartz's No Bad Parts really does stand apart from the crowd.  I don't think I've ever read a book that combines such monumental arrogance with laughable ignorance while purporting to give expert advice.

In only 14 pages, the author declares that he has more wisdom than the Church Fathers and more insight than Buddha.  This is like the scene from The Princess Bride where Vizzini asks the Man in Black if he's heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates.


"Morons," Vizzini replies.

That's Schwartz's view of the world.  He's figured out the key to mental health, and he's also divined how to bring about world peace and solve all our other problems.  As the book progresses, he takes a less dismissive tone towards religion, modestly informing us that his methods are actually true manifestations of Buddhist thought as well as an interpretation of Christian philosophy that Jesus Christ would be happy to endorse.

It's the kind of book that both Evelyn Waugh and G.K. Chesterton have mocked, so the genre is actually quite old.  It's funny how these miracle methods keep popping up and yet people are ever more depressed.  Maybe, just maybe, there are limited to what secular analysis and treatment can do, and a vaguely spiritual worldview isn't enough to deal with the existential issues of life.

Of course, Schwartz isn't nearly as smart as he thinks he is, especially when it comes to religion.  His summaries of Christianity is a comedy of misunderstandings, but combined with his air of absolute certainty, one must either hurl the book through a window or burst out laughing.

Then there are the transcribed therapy sessions, which remind me of the role-playing examples given in Dungeons and Dragon books from 40 years ago.  It's unclear if their purpose is to show off the doctor's amazing therapeutic manner or just pad the page count, but I found them insufferable.

Aside from humor value, the book does contain about 14 pages of insight, chiefly near the beginning when it discusses the terminology used for various conditions.  That was genuinely helpful, but I could have gotten it from a pamphlet or web site. 


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This is the sort of subject that propelled me away from AoS, and not because it isn't worth discussing because it is, but because stating the obvious can be "words of war" there.
Richard Schwartz should stay clear of any critique of any form of Christianity or any religion besides his own. In all likelihood his views of that subject were learned from members of his own physical family and friends, by Hollywood, and by the Democrat party and he internalized them to form his own "parts". I feel the same way when Jake Tapper has popped off about Christianity, or when a random rabbi or minister has decided that Catholics worship statues.
The Obama borrowed title of another of his tomes told me to steer clear of his views

A.H. Lloyd

Online communication has made people less capable of handing differing opinions with civility. In person, losing your mind will either earn you a police escort or a punch in the mouth. Everyone's fearless in front of a keyboard, however.

Schwartz likely has never encountered a devout Catholic - disgruntled apostates, sure, but not actual believers.

I enjoy the book and prayer threads. Less anger, better discussions.

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