The Saybrook Forum

Posts

New Existentialists

Waxing Existential: New Year, New You?

01/02/2014
Waxing Existential: New Year, New You?
I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. --George Carlin I’m going into 2014 considering all the events of the last year, and what the New Year will bring. While I feel the urge to self-assess and get on the bandwagon of New Year’s resolution-making, I am trying to think of myself and my life differently this year. Resolution, according to Merriam-Webster online can be defined six ways. Allow me to self-indulge and share a few with you: the act or process of resolving as a: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b: the act of answering...

Continue Reading

New Existentialists

The Walmartization of Higher Education

12/30/2013
The Walmartization of Higher Education
I quit one of my jobs today. I’ve been trying to get out of the for-profit college that first employed me out of graduate school but, until recently, could not afford to. Remember that we all make choices from the range of options available rather than from a range of idealized possibilities. Just as people work at Wal-Mart or McDonalds largely because all the other options are worse, so I worked for a for-profit school because the alternative was complete unemployment. Things are better now, but far from perfect. I considered keeping this job but events this term have really made it...

Continue Reading

New Existentialists

Christmas, Incarnation, and the Experience of the Sacred

12/27/2013
Christmas, Incarnation, and the Experience of the Sacred
Martin Luther once stated that the image of a baby lying in a manger demonstrates the profound wisdom and compassion of the Almighty. He believed it was human nature to be drawn to a baby because of the innocence and vulnerability a baby represents. C. S. Lewis once described the birth of Jesus as the equivalent of a human being becoming an ant. Each of us has experienced encounters with the sacred or holy. Some refer to these experiences as seeing the face of God. Others describe such an experience as connecting with the Universe. Each of us, in our own way, experiences that which is...

Continue Reading

New Existentialists

We Need To Talk About Kevin… And His Mother

12/26/2013
We Need To Talk About Kevin… And His Mother
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” (Sartre, 1957, p. 27) Or… is he? And what about his mother? A few nights ago, I watched the 2011 movie “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Since then I’ve been saying, “Oh yes, we do.” (Warning: A lot of spoilers following). This movie left me with a feeling so weird, I didn’t even have the words to describe. I was really in a state of shock and sadness. I also felt the need to discuss it with someone, but unfortunately for me, I...

Continue Reading

New Existentialists

The Growth-Oriented Dimension of the Person

12/23/2013
The Growth-Oriented Dimension of the Person
What makes life worth living? Is it the depth of one’s capacity to love and trust, the ability to forgive and make amends, the realization that life is momentary and nothing can be grasped, the satisfaction and recognition of accomplishment, self knowledge, the power to accept what we cannot change, or something else? Another set of questions then arises…. Where do we find strength and fortitude when life is painfully difficult and seemingly nonsensical? Do we give up? Do we mentally uncover and uncouple rationalizations to logical conclusions? Do we take a stand based on our...

Continue Reading

Rethinking Complexity

SPECIAL TRIBUTE - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: A Great Leader and Elder that Took a Stand for Humanity!

12/22/2013
SPECIAL TRIBUTE - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: A Great Leader and Elder that Took a Stand for Humanity!
"A real leader uses every issue, no matter how serious and sensitive, to ensure that at the end of the debate we should emerge stronger and more united than ever before.  ~ Nelson Mandela from a personal notebook, 16 January 2000” as posted on the Nelson Mandela Facebook Page on December 5th 2013.   This was the statement on my mind as I retired to bed on December 5th 2013. I had just shared this message from the Nelson Mandela Facebook page at about 9:45 pm (Kenyan time) as my Facebook status as well as emailed the same to a group I have been working with on...

Continue Reading

New Existentialists

Searching for Sunglasses: Existential Depression and the Winter Solstice

12/20/2013
Searching for Sunglasses: Existential Depression and the Winter Solstice
I reside in the Chicagoland area of Illinois, where a deficiency of Vitamin D in the blood is a widespread medical condition. I am acutely aware of the encroaching brevity of daylight and the darkening of the year as I stand upon the threshold of the Winter Solstice. The lengthening shadows of the afternoon loom like grim, sarcastic teachers, holding out their hands for my work, eyebrows raised in skepticism. Although those of you in the vicinity of Saybrook who may enjoy a regular banquet of California sunshine and warmth may not fully relate, I suffer from a seasonal pattern of depression...

Continue Reading

New Existentialists

Human Dignity and Humanistic Values: A Call to Humanistic Psychology’s Mission

12/19/2013
Human Dignity and Humanistic Values: A Call to Humanistic Psychology’s Mission
Several years ago, when I learned of my election as President of Society for Humanistic Psychology and took on the role of President-Elect, I began to use this preparation time to reflect deeply on what it means to be a humanistic psychologist. Much of this preparation has been an exploration of the early history of the movement, and its emergence as a Third Force in psychology between the behaviorists that dominated the academy and the psychoanalysts who thrived in the clinic. As a Society, we have had many occasions to revisit fundamental questions about our humanistic identity. I think we...

Continue Reading

Rethinking Complexity

Sometimes, It Pays to Think

12/18/2013
Sometimes, It Pays to Think
Bill Gates apparently took time out of his busy schedule to guest edit the December 2013 issue of Wired Magazine. In that issue is an article entitled, "This is the Man Bill Gates Thinks you Absolutely Should be Reading." The article opens with the quotation from Gates, “’There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil.’”  Smil is prolific. He has published over 30 books, three of them just this year. Smil’s page on Amazon.com shows a wide variety of topics, including...

Continue Reading

New Existentialists

The Call to Authentic Existence: Scrooge and the Hope of Redemptive Transformation

12/18/2013
The Call to Authentic Existence: Scrooge and the Hope of Redemptive Transformation
The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. Every year I look forward to it with great excitement, eagerly anticipate it, and can’t wait for it to arrive. Most especially, I love Christmas. While I know it may sound corny and cliché to some, I do believe that it is truly magical and profoundly special, a phenomenon of incredible power that can heal and transform our individual lives, relationships, and broader culture. It is the one time during the year when joy, happiness, kindness, peace, etc. are nationally-sanctioned experiences that have become the expected norm for...

Continue Reading

Share this

share

Don't miss a thing - follow Saybrook on social media

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Google Plus