The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

The Three Christs of Ypsilanti
Milton Rokeach

The cover of the first edition of this 1964 case study called it the story of three “lost men.” That subtitle was ditched for the 2011 NYRB reprint, which is unfortunate given that it was about as clear an assessment as possible of the three unhappy individuals who were the study’s subjects. Loss of their grip on reality was only the final loss for each of them, and instead of focusing on issues of sexuality (which were no doubt in play) perhaps analysis might have begun with the narcissism born of failure and low esteem. As would be demonstrated in the result, there is no cure for such a condition, as it is in effect not just a product of but a part of one’s life. As for the fourth Christ, author Milton Rokeach, I think he could only be forgiven for his manipulation of the patients under his care on the condition that his goal was solely to help them, and not to write a book or simply further his career. The book was later made into a play and two operas. Shades of Sibyl Inc.? The question has to be asked.

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