Frasi di William James

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William James

Data di nascita: 11. Gennaio 1842
Data di morte: 26. Agosto 1910

William James è stato uno psicologo e filosofo statunitense di origine irlandese. Egli fu presidente della Society for Psychical Research dal 1894 al 1895.

„[La depressione] è un tormento vivo e concreto, una sorta di nevralgia psichica totalmente ignota alla vita normale.“

—  William James

Origine: Da Varie forme dell'esperienza religiosa; citato in Serena Zoli, Giovanni B. Cassano, E liberaci dal male oscuro, TEA, Milano, 2009, p. 482. ISBN 978-88-502-0209-6

„Sforzati di credere che la vita è degna di essere vissuta e questo ti aiuterà a renderla tale.“

—  William James

Origine: Citato in Julia Butterfly Hill, Ognuno può fare la differenza, traduzione di Isabella Bolech, Corbaccio, Milano, 2002, p. 16. ISBN 88-7972-542-4

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„This sense of clean and beautiful newness within and without one is one of the commonest entries in conversion records.“

—  William James

Lecture X, "Conversion, concluded"
1900s, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902)
Contesto: The characteristics of the affective experience which, to avoid ambiguity, should, I think, be called the state of assurance rather than the faith-state, can be easily enumerated, though it is probably difficult to realize their intensity, unless one has been through the experience one's self.
The central one is the loss of all the worry, the sense that all is ultimately well with one, the peace, the harmony, the willingness to be, even though the outer conditions should remain the same. The certainty of God's 'grace,' of 'justification,' 'salvation,' is an objective belief that usually accompanies the change in Christians; but this may be entirely lacking and yet the affective peace remain the same — you will recollect the case of the Oxford graduate: and many might be given where the assurance of personal salvation was only a later result. A passion of willingness, of acquiescence, of admiration, is the glowing centre of this state of mind.
The second feature is the sense of perceiving truths not known before. The mysteries of life become lucid, as Professor Leuba says; and often, nay usually, the solution is more or less unutterable in words. But these more intellectual phenomena may be postponed until we treat of mysticism.
A third peculiarity of the assurance state is the objective change which the world often appears to undergo. 'An appearance of newness beautifies every object,' the precise opposite of that other sort of newness, that dreadful unreality and strangeness in the appearance of the world, which is experienced by melancholy patients, and of which you may recall my relating some examples. This sense of clean and beautiful newness within and without one is one of the commonest entries in conversion records.

„So far, war has been the only force that can discipline a whole community, and until and equivalent discipline is organized, I believe that war must have its way. But I have no serious doubt that the ordinary prides and shames of social man, once developed to a certain intensity, are capable of organizing such a moral equivalent as I have sketched, or some other just as effective for preserving manliness of type.“

—  William James

1900s, The Moral Equivalent of War (1906)
Contesto: Such a conscription, with the state of public opinion that would have required it, and the many moral fruits it would bear, would preserve in the midst of a pacific civilization the manly virtues which the military party is so afraid of seeing disappear in peace. We should get toughness without callousness, authority with as little criminal cruelty as possible, and painful work done cheerily because the duty is temporary, and threatens not, as now, to degrade the whole remainder of one's life. I spoke of the "moral equivalent" of war. So far, war has been the only force that can discipline a whole community, and until and equivalent discipline is organized, I believe that war must have its way. But I have no serious doubt that the ordinary prides and shames of social man, once developed to a certain intensity, are capable of organizing such a moral equivalent as I have sketched, or some other just as effective for preserving manliness of type. It is but a question of time, of skilful propogandism, and of opinion-making men seizing historic opportunities.

„Unhappiness is apt to characterize the period of order-making and struggle.“

—  William James

Lecture VIII, "The Divided Self, and the Process of its Unification"
1900s, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902)
Contesto: Now in all of us, however constituted, but to a degree the greater in proportion as we are intense and sensitive and subject to diversified temptations, and to the greatest possible degree if we are decidedly psychopathic, does the normal evolution of character chiefly consist in the straightening out and unifying of the inner self. The higher and the lower feelings, the useful and the erring impulses, begin by being a comparative chaos within us — they must end by forming a stable system of functions in right subordination. Unhappiness is apt to characterize the period of order-making and struggle.

„I will now confess my own utopia. I devoutly believe in the reign of peace and in the gradual advent of some sort of socialistic equilibrium.“

—  William James

1900s, The Moral Equivalent of War (1906)
Contesto: I will now confess my own utopia. I devoutly believe in the reign of peace and in the gradual advent of some sort of socialistic equilibrium. The fatalistic view of the war function is to me nonsense, for I know that war-making is due to definite motives and subject to prudential checks and reasonable criticisms, just like any other form of enterprise. And when whole nations are the armies, and the science of destruction vies in intellectual refinement with the science of production, I see that war becomes absurd and impossible from its own monstrosity. Extravagant ambitions will have to be replaced by reasonable claims, and nations must make common cause against them.

„Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events.“

—  William James

Lecture VI, Pragmatism's Conception of Truth
1900s, Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907)
Contesto: Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself, its veri-fication. Its validity is the process of its valid-ation.

„We patch and tinker more than we renew. The novelty soaks in; it stains the ancient mass; but it is also tinged by what absorbs it.“

—  William James

Lecture V, Pragmatism and Common Sense
1900s, Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907)
Contesto: Our minds thus grow in spots; and like grease-spots, the spots spread. But we let them spread as little as possible: we keep unaltered as much of our old knowledge, as many of our old prejudices and beliefs, as we can. We patch and tinker more than we renew. The novelty soaks in; it stains the ancient mass; but it is also tinged by what absorbs it.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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