New Here?
     
Posts tagged "William James"

Jennifer Lawrence, the Irony of Normalcy, and the Righteousness of Faith

Jennifer Lawrence, the Irony of Normalcy, and the Righteousness of Faith

This piece was written by our friend Brad J. Gray.

She caught our eye in 2007 on a short-lived network comedy. Then, she broke through with an independent drama in 2010 that earned her national acclaim and attention. She flew into the stratosphere and became the mega-star we know and love with a summer blockbuster in 2012, the success of which she’s likely still riding the coattails. If you didn’t already catch it, I’m referring to Jennifer Lawrence. “J-Law,” as she’s lovingly known on the “Interwebz,” made a name for herself on The Bill Engvall Show during its brief run on…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Vanishing Adults, Mysterious Loss, "Spiritual" Mental Health, A Tragi-Comic Religion, Humanities vs. Engineering, and the Power of Groupthink

Another Week Ends: Vanishing Adults, Mysterious Loss, “Spiritual” Mental Health, A Tragi-Comic Religion, Humanities vs. Engineering, and the Power of Groupthink

1. I recently had a conversation with an elderly woman who became supremely concerned over whether or not I would work on the 4th of July. “Surely you’ll take off a federal holiday,” she intoned. I admitted that I probably would but hadn’t made any plans yet. That wasn’t enough to defuse the tizzy that followed, an agonized cascade of complaints about workaholism, how young people these days are married to their jobs. “I get it,” she lamented; “there are ladders to climb, there’s money to save. But is work all there is?”

This week, B.D. McClay asked a similar question…

Read More > > >

William James’ Self-Esteem Equation

From the, er, esteemed psychologist’s Psychology, A Briefer Course:

“With no attempt there can be no failure; with no failure no humiliation. So our self-feeling in this world depends entirely on what we back ourselves to be and do. It is determined by the ratio of our actualities to our supposed potentialities; a fraction of which our pretensions are the denominator and the numerator our success: Thus:

selfesteem

Such a fraction may be increased as well by diminishing the denominator as by increasing the numerator. To give up pretensions is as blessed a relief as to get them gratified; and where disappointment is incessant and the struggle unending, this is what men will always do. The history of evangelical theology, with its conviction of sin, its self-despair, and its abandonment of salvation by works, is the deepest of possible examples, but we meet others in every walk of life. There is a strange lightness in the heart when one’s nothingness in a particular area is accepted in good faith… How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young or slender. ‘Thank God!” we say, ‘those illusions are gone.’ Everything added to the Self is a burden as well as a pride.” (pg 168)

0a508e198260d55cd20eb68f352ee8db

Mining Netflix: The Beautiful Brokenness of What Maisie Knew

Mining Netflix: The Beautiful Brokenness of What Maisie Knew

This one comes to us from Joe Nooft:

I love sad movies: the tear-imposing, hope-impairing films that by their finale have lost all resolve. If I go to a cinema to see what I anticipate will be a gloomy movie, I want to leave that theater, two hours later, in shambles. I want to get into my car and ride home in silence. A necessary silence because I know that no melody can parallel the mental melancholia of what I just experienced in that cold, dark theater. I love sad movies. Weird? Maybe.

As someone who wastes way too much time…

Read More > > >

Another One from William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience

“Where God is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution are not the absolutely final things.” (517)

Positive Thinking and Bad Medicine

Positive Thinking and Bad Medicine

An interesting editorial in Monday’s NY Times by Richard Sloan, entitled A Fighting Spirit Won’t Save Your Life, about the dangers of linking spirituality and physiology. Suffice it to say, the author is no homeopath. Yet as anti-religious as he comes across, there are definitely some sympathetic ideas being expressed. John 9 springs to mind:

The idea that an individual has power over his health has a long history in American popular culture. The “mind cure” movements of the 1800s were based on the premise that we can control our well-being. In the middle of that century, Phineas Quimby, a…

Read More > > >

William James on Muscular Moralism and Spiritual Birthdays

William James on Muscular Moralism and Spiritual Birthdays

Quite the humdinger from William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, ht BM:

“The moralist must hold his breath and keep his muscles tense; and so long as this athletic attitude is possible all goes well — morality suffices. But the athletic attitude tends ever to break down, and it inevitably does break down even in the most stalwart when the organism begins to decay, or when morbid fears invade the mind. To suggest personal will and effort to one all sicklied o’er with the sense of irremidiable impotences is to suggest the most impossible of…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Pandoran Pantheism, Tissot's NT, Stanley Fish, Closeted Christians, Films of The Decade

Another Week Ends: Pandoran Pantheism, Tissot’s NT, Stanley Fish, Closeted Christians, Films of The Decade

1. Ross Douthat in the NY Times echoed what many have been saying about the “message” of Avatar. For the record, it doesn’t make me want to see it any less (ht JS):

It’s fitting that James Cameron’s “Avatar” arrived in theaters at Christmastime. Like the holiday season itself, the science fiction epic is a crass embodiment of capitalistic excess wrapped around a deeply felt religious message. It’s at once the blockbuster to end all blockbusters, and the Gospel According to James.

But not the Christian Gospel. Instead, “Avatar” is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism — a faith that equates…

Read More > > >