|The Third Culture|
How Is Personality Formed?|
A Talk With Frank J. Sulloway [11.24.98]
"A few months ago, a group of authors gathered at a country house in Connecticut for a weekend, taking walks in the meadows and woods, dining alfresco and talking about their work. They did not, however, discuss movie rights, the fate of the novel or the current rash of memoirs. They talked about multiple universes, the philosophy of mathematics and the nature of consciousness. -James Gorman, The New York Times , 10/14/97 -Science
-James Gorman, The New York Times , 10/14/97 -Science Times, p1.
That weekend at Eastover Farm in rural Connecticut was my first opportunity to meet Frank Sulloway, a fascinating character who, while never having held a formal academic position, has had an important impact on contemporary thought.
His first book, a biography of Freud, looked at the legendary figure as a scientist. His landmark study of birth order (Born to Rebel), based on 26 years of research and writing, is perhaps as important for applying the scientific method to the study of history as it is for his insight into the topic of the book. In it, Sulloway brings to bear what he calls "hypothesis testing, which is a method that saves us all from becoming either astrologers or psychoanalysts."
In this way he connects with the others in the third culture, i.e. "those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are."
Frank J. Sulloway is the author of Freud, Biologist of the Mind : Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend, and Born to Rebel : Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives.