A Question of Attachment—Toward A Lossless Society

The Foundation’s president has successfully navigated the challenging waters of Kindle Direct Publishing. His new book A Question of Attachment—Toward A Lossless Society is now available exclusively at Amazon. It is available in eBook and paperback formats. To read a preview and for ordering information, click on this link. Here’s the Amazon web site description:

Using his unique background in geology, counseling psychology, and philanthropy, Frederick Leonhardt takes us on a tour of topics contained in John Bowlby’s Trilogy on Attachment that, while important, have been largely overlooked. Leonhardt writes about organic systems theory, cognitive maps, parentification patterns (i.e., treating kids as adults), as well as the development of what cognitive scientists call Executive Function skills, such as empathy, planning, focusing attention, and, yes, cognitive map processes. Leonhardt illuminates these topics by telling us about Walter Mischel’s Marshmallow Test, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s unattached soldiers of the Vietnam War, Kay Hymowitz’s anticulturalism, George Lakoff’s Nurturant Parent, and even Leonhardt’s own experience working with troubled teens.

Leonhardt takes us on this tour as a way of shedding light on the question he sees being asked by insecure attachment in our society today: “How do I bring to myself a sense of connection, even intimacy, while at the same time distancing myself from the pain and heartbreak that connection and intimacy inevitable bring?” Leonhardt worries that the Question asked by insecure attachment is being answered by such troubling societal trends as increasing attachment to screen devices, various forms of addiction, increasing use of parent substitutes, and an overall wish to become postmodern or posthuman (i.e., expressing a desire to transcend biology).

Leonhardt sees a new mantra emerging: All Gain, No Pain. This mantra points to a desire to live in a lossless society where shared mourning rituals are devalued (a pattern that John Bowlby describes in volume III of his trilogy). Leonhardt spends time looking at the challenging ten-year period (2002–2012) during which the FHL Foundation (Leonhardt is the Foundation’s president) tried to promote Bowlby’s theory of attachment as a theory of social change. Leonhardt’s take home message is this: “It is high time we dust off Bowlby’s theory and put it in the service of shedding light on these perplexing answers to the Question asked by insecure attachment.” A Question of Attachment offers up some suggestions on how we might go about tackling societal problems using Bowlby’s theory of attachment as a guide.