9/7/12

Proselytizing: “Possibilianism”, Faith, and Idealism



David Eagleman on 'Possibilianism'









Rabbi David Wolpe on 'Why Faith Matters'



Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. ... In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.







Viktor Frankl on 'Man's Search for Meaning' and the value of 
extending the highest of expectations to others.**





Post Scripts

During the past thirty years, people from all civilized countries of the earth have consulted me ... Among all my patients in the second half of life -- that is to say, over thirty-five years -- there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them had really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.
- Carl Jung    

Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." Since then I've spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I've read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."


The capacity of the strenuous mood lies so deep down among our natural human possibilities that even if there were no metaphysical or traditional grounds for believing in a God, men would postulate one simply as a pretext for living hard, and getting out of the game of existence its keenest possibilities of zest. ... Every sort of energy and endurance, of courage and capacity for handling life's evils, is set free in those who have religious faith.
- William James      


When all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on the universe; and into sacrifices and surrenders of some sort, deliberately looked at and accepted, we are drawn and pressed as into our only permanent positions of repose. Now in those states of mind which fall short of religion, the surrender is submitted to as an imposition of necessity, and the sacrifice is undergone at the very best without complaint. In the religious life, on the contrary, surrender and sacrifice are positively espoused: even unnecessary givings-up are added in order that the happiness may increase. Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary; and if it be the only agency that can accomplish this result, its vital importance as a human faculty stands vindicated beyond dispute. It becomes an essential organ of our life, performing a function which no other portion of our nature can so successfully fulfill.
- William James     


Addendums



And (in zero-sum contests) discipline, defense, aggression and strategy, usually paramount.

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To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
- Howard Zinn      


PPS: ...expect you won't mind if I hold my peace re. the nuances of my personal [rational, considered...] Jamesian approach to meaning and faith.

 ‡ Please and thank you. (And or you're welcome.)






(Thanks for your interest,
and all the best.)