Self-Help Advice Books Love or Perish

About the self-help book Love or Perish by Smiley Blanton, history and advice from the book.



The Head Man: Psychoanalyzed by Sigmund Freud himself in 1929, Smiley Blanton had an impressive professional background: an M.D. from Cornell University, work in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, a diploma in psychological medicine from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in London, professorships at several highly regarded colleges, and a successful private practice in psychology and psychiatry. In 1937 he met Norman Vincent Peale, with whom he established the basement clinic in Marble Collegiate Church, later to become the independent American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry. (Blanton was its director.) With Peale, Blanton wrote Faith Is the Answer (1940) and The Art of Real Happiness (1950); with his wife, Margaret G. Blanton, he authored several books on child guidance. He was a man of great perception, endowed with enormous physical and emotional strength. In his 70s, he could drive a golf ball 200 yd. and score in the low 80s. Blanton died in 1967 at the age of 75.

Overview: The basis of Blanton's book Love or Perish is Freudian theory--the duality of Eros (love-life-constructiveness) and Thanatos (death-hate-destructiveness), which exist in relative balance in the healthy person. The helplessness of the child, along with the desperate need for love in order to survive, leads the child to fear loss of that love and to develop behavior patterns that keep it coming. These patterns become outmoded as the child moves into self-sufficient adulthood, but they often persist. Love, to Blanton, is "a harmonious attitude toward life in general. It is a steady, unflinching desire for constructive action which permeates the whole personality. Love is a basic emotional approach that we must develop in our work, in our relationship with other people, and also in our attitude toward ourselves. Modern psychiatry teaches us that we fall ill, emotionally and physically, if we do not use love in this way to guide and control our behavior."

Help-Yourself Advice:

1. To be lovable, you must be a "good parent" (concerned for the welfare of others) as well as a "good child" (someone who has put aside the habit of using hate to achieve goals).

2. It is not our problems (which are inevitable in reality) that make us unhappy; it is our failure to solve them.

3. Forgive your parents for their injustices (both real and imaginary) to you.

4. Have faith in a "universal power greater than man's--a source of love and life."

5. Accept your own aggressive impulses, redirecting them into constructive channels.

6. On paper and at random, review your emotional attitudes, not looking for faults but for patterns of resentment and hostility, noting those that are holdovers from childhood.

7. Forget the idea that "to want a thing deeply enough means automatically to be punished for it" (usually learned in childhood). Don't be afraid of success; you won't be punished for it.

8. Protect your own legitimate rights. "To create harmonious relationships on a permanent basis, we must make sure that we do not neglect our just rights at the expense of unconscious (and hence uncontrollable) aggression later on."

9. Train yourself, one area at a time, in the automatic, unconscious use of love.

10. Remember that happiness comes from within you.

11. Be alert to hidden, buried impulses in yourself and others which have nothing to do with present reality.

12. Acknowledge openly that you and others need and want love.

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