Ethics and Lao-Tzu

  • “Thanks so much for that extraordinary moral narrative – which taught me so much as I read it with great admiration! The visual ‘moments’ in the book had me thoroughly absorbed! I very much hope what you have to tell (and teach) will soon be available to others.”

    Robert Coles, MD
    Harvard University

  • “Ed Mendelowitz is the poet laureate of existential psychology. In Ethics and Lao-Tzu, Mendelowitz lays out an extraordinary vision of ethically informed living. With singular eloquence linked to psychospiritual luminescence, he draws upon such literary and artistic masters as Kafka and Beckett, Coltrane and Dylan, and even his own therapy client to weave a masterwork of guidance for the perplexed. All who are challenged and indeed incensed by the present age of gimmickry will profit from this page-turning paean to renewal.”

    Kirk Schneider, Ph.D.
    Existential-Humanistic Institute
    Editor/Author of Handbook of Humanistic Psychology, Rediscovery of Awe, The Polarized Mind

  • “Reading this book was a journey that took me into the depths of my soul, reminding me of things I have so often forgotten or abandoned. As Dr. Mendelowitz co-journeyed with his perceptive and poetic patient, Kristina, so I co-journeyed with him. Within these pages, I lingered not only with Lao-Tzu but also with Camus, Beckett, Coltrane, Blake, Rilke, Rumi, Van Gogh, Buber, William James and many others who know the Tao that dances in silence and in the spaces between. This book, unlike so many others, spoke to my inner life and because of this, I want to me a better man. I suspect it will have a similar effect on others.”

    David N. Elkins, Ph.D.
    Professor Emeritus of Psychology
    Pepperdine University

  • “Ed Mendelowitz has produced a contemporary classic, a compelling integration of Eastern and Western wisdom and folklore—voices and dreams that descend and ascend through and from the mind/soul set of a visionary psychotherapy client—and from this model has managed to create a challenging manifesto. Mendelowitz mobilizes and activates a diverse chorale of voices whose earthy wit and spiritual wisdom converge in magnificent splendor. While hardly claiming to be an instructional guide, this work seeks to create a new atmosphere through which those who labor in the vineyard of facilitating others through their personal hailstorms will decipher a heroic ambiance in which to fulfill their callings.”

    E. Mark Stern, Ed.D.
    Professor Emeritus of Psychology
    Iona College


  • “It is a remarkable book, a compendium of wisdom from an astonishing variety of sources.”

    Allen Wheelis, MD
    Psychoanalyst and Author of The Listener, The Way We Are, How People Change, The Life and Death of My Mother

  • “You have grasped the innermost kernel.”

    Eugene Taylor, Ph.D.
    Saybrook University
    Author of William James on Consciousness Beyond the Margin, Shadow Culture, The Mystery of the Personality

  • “A masterwork of dazzling dimensions.”

    Margaret and George Yonemura
    Bank Street College of Education and SUNY at Binghamton

  • “Ethics and Lao Tzu is a monumental contribution to psychological literature. The book is written by Ed Mendelowitz, who may be the best contemporary writer in the field of psychology. Few authors are able to bridge a literary writing style with scholarly work in the manner that Mendelowitz demonstrates in this book. Through his unique approach, Mendelowitz is able to bring many of the greatest thinkers of all time—Nietzsche, Kafka, and Camus, for example—into dialogue with one another.

    Ethics and Lao Tzu is not really about Taoism and is not about ethics as we think of it today. Yet ethical thinking and Taoist ideas permeate many aspects of the text. Rather, the book is about a client, Kristina, diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Kristina’s heartrending story is the starting point for a discussion that radiates with existential psychology and thought while not being bound by it. The book is filled with Kristina’s artwork—and she is a very talented artist indeed, each drawing and painting richly imbued with symbolism and meaning. Mendelowitz also incorporates many quotes from numerous thinkers, sages and artists. Through a commingling of quotations, artwork, Kristina’s story and Mendelowitz’s voice, the many aspects of dissociation are in some way replicated. Every quote and piece of art is exquisitely placed so that there is not so much as a comma out of alignment. Mendelowitz doesn’t offer the easy solutions or falsely happy endings to which we have grown so accustomed in narratives of psychotherapy; he is too honest about the human condition to provide simplified answers to a difficult existence. He offers, rather, something more: an illustration that even the most complicated existence can still be exquisitely rendered and profoundly meaningful, that only the most discerning eye will perceive what most would overlook. Throughout, Mendelowitz invites the attentive reader to join him in the exploration of the depths of the human soul.”

    Louis Hoffman, Ph.D.
    Saybrook University
    Editor of Brilliant Sanity, Existential Psychology East-West, Stay Awhile

  • “A book that sings, an author who dances, a reader moved. This book is a hidden gem amidst the endless, oftentimes superfluous, existing works in psychology. It represents what psychology is and should be all about: an inquiry into the psyche, a discourse on character and ethics, an examination of our deepest thoughts and feelings, a critical look at how life can be lived meaningfully.

    Mendelowitz’s writing is meditative and poetic. He invites the reader not necessarily to engage in intellectual debates on topics of morality or the systemic structure of a mental health facility but, rather, to reflect with depth and sensitivity on what it means to be human, on how we can better recognize and express the humanity that inheres within each of us. Mendelowitz cites a diverse wellspring of thinkers. Such a feat is impressive not because of the mere quantity of citations but, rather, because of the genuine interest in reconnecting psychology with its siblings in art, literature, music, theater and so on. The indispensable connection between psychology and these other pursuits will be obvious to any practicing artist, though the vast majority of psychologists are likely to remain oblivious to its very existence. Rather than remaining stuck on the left-brain of psychology, Mendelowitz embraces the affective and creative sides of human existence. He sees that these fields, too, are concerned with the potential meaning (and meaninglessness) of human existence and that the insights garnered from these explorations are to be embraced and integrated.

    As much as I would like to shower Ethics and Lao-Tzu with ongoing praise, I realize that I have only scratched the surface of the profundity of this book. It is a privilege to read Mendelowitz’s writing and to meet his patient Kristina. If you have ever been awed by the exigencies of life, you are likely to find yourself instantly caught up by a work that strengthens and inspires the attentive reader.”

    Jason Peng, M.A., MSW
    Social Worker and Psychotherapist


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