Archive for William James

GLAD TO THE BRINK OF FEAR

Posted in Food For Thought, TEXT with tags , on August 13, 2010 by ToroToroTokyo

The occasion and the experience…are nothing. It all depends on the capacity of the soul to be grasped, to have its life-currents absorbed by what is given. “Crossing a bare common,” says Emerson, “in snow puddles at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear.”

-William James, from “On a Certain Blindness of Human Beings”

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EAGERNESS

Posted in Food For Thought, TEXT with tags , on February 22, 2010 by ToroToroTokyo

Wherever a process of life communicates an eagerness to him who lives it, there the life becomes genuinely significant. Sometimes the eagerness is more knit up with the motor activities, sometimes with the perceptions, sometimes with the imagination, sometimes with reflective thought. But, wherever it is found,

there is the zest, the tingle, the excitement of reality;

and there is ‘importance’ in the only real and positive sense in which importance ever anywhere can be.

-William James, “On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings”

AND THE TRUE REALISM, ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE, IS THAT OF THE POETS

Posted in Food For Thought, TEXT with tags , on February 5, 2010 by ToroToroTokyo

For, to repeat, the ground of a man’s joy is often hard to hit. It may hinge at times upon a mere accessory, like the lantern; it may reside in the mysterious inwards of psychology…It has so little bond with externals…that it may even touch them not, and the man’s true life, for which he consents to live, lie together in the field of fancy…In such a case the poetry runs underground. The observer (poor soul, with his documents!) is all abroad. For to look at the man is to but court deception.We shall see the trunk from which he draws his nourishment; but he himself is above and abroad in the green dome of foliage, hummed through by winds and nested in by nightingales. And the true realism were that of the poets, to climb after him like a squirrel, and catch some glimpse of the heaven in which he lives. And the true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing.

-Robert Lewis Stevenson, quoted in William James’, “On a Certain Blindness of Human Beings”