Our bodies are part of our identities and represent us. They are theatres of emotion, means for conveying intentional or involuntary messages, revealing things that are beyond our conscious control. Human beings have an uneasy relationship with their physical self-image. This relationship has been studied since the late 19th century by neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and, earlier still, by artists and philosophers. Today more than ever, the body, obsession with health, outward image worship, and medical and aesthetic manipulation play important social roles. This book explores our relationship with the body and its image, the tension between our identity and the changing body, the discomfort and the negative emotions that we feel when we contemplate our bodies. The relationship we have with our bodies is sometimes calm and unfocused, then distressed and concerned. The author provides a thoughtful, suggestive analysis that draws upon philosophy, biology, psychology, psychopathology, neuroscience, and neurophilosophy, but also resorts to clinical cases and examples taken from literature, cinema and mythology.
Massimo Cuzzolaro formerly taught Clinical Psychiatry and Psychology at the Sapienza University in Rome and is editor-in-chief of “Eating and Weight Disorders”.