Springs of Delight - The return to life


How much do I want to read more? 6/10

This is actually a book about W. James, and not by him.
It's interesting, but so much verbose, and most of it is boring. Why Philosophy has to sound so complicated?


Preface

Spirituality is the link of continuity between every human breath, every moment, and every epoch.
Life, as James says, is a chain: a flowing stream of succession to which we may contribute, not only through the spires of our genes but more overtly in our voluntary devotions and ideals. The living breath that measures our moments and days also marks the distance between an atten- tive present, coveted futures, and life’s remote denouement. Respiration, in- spiration, and aspiration are entwined aspects of the vision of life as a chain.

Introduction - The Glimmer and Twinkle of Jamesian Transcendence

Philosophy lives in words, but truth and fact well up into our lives in ways that ex- ceed verbal formulation.There is in the living act of perception always something that glimmers and twinkles and will not be caught, and for which reflection comes too late. No one knows this as well as the philosopher. He must fire his volley of new vocables out of his conceptual shotgun, for his profession condemns him to this industry; but he secretly knows the hollowness and irrelevancy. . . . In the reli- gious sphere, in particular, belief that formulas are true can never wholly take the place of personal experience.

-- Varieties of Religious Experience

“To the question about the meaning of life everybody answers with the story of his own life,” said Hungarian novelist Gyorgy Konrad.

The fact that one person’s very reason for being leaves another cold and uninterested is at the heart of what he consid- ers the enduring mystery of happiness and is part of the larger mystery of life.

We are all experts in the matter of what our experience means to us.

An enduring paradox of our existence is that most of us are happiest when we are least troubled to understand why we are happy, when we re- sist the natural pull of our curiosity to reduce all phenomena to problems for research.
Only when we are unhappy, or worse, do we profit from ex- plicit attention to whatever hidden biochemical or emotional mechanism it may be that results in our states of conscious weal and woe.

The Temper of a Pluralistic Naturalist

“Every bit of us at every moment is part and parcel of a wider self, it quivers along various radii like the wind-rose on a compass, and the actual in it is continuously one with possibles not yet in our present sight.”

"The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possi- ble, to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding…"


1 - Taking Subjectivity Seriously

Bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day.

-- Emerson, Self-Reliance


Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each others’ eyes for an instant?

-- Thoreau, Walden