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New Existentialists

Confronting the Destructive Nature of Religious Dogmatism: Overcoming the Disease of Dogmatism, Part Two

04/17/2014
Confronting the Destructive Nature of Religious Dogmatism: Overcoming the Disease of Dogmatism, Part Two
Whereas my previous post regarding our human obsession with certainty and its resulting dogmatism dealt with particular concerns relating to dogmatism in general, I will now focus on the dangers inherent to one of its specific and most insidious manifestations. While I am deeply concerned with any concrete form of dogmatism, the one against which I am most strongly opposed, and which I would like to specifically address here, is religious dogmatism. In the interest of transparency and authentic disclosure, this is entirely due to my own religious upbringing, which was based on the tradition...

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New Existentialists

Beyond Existential Martyrdom

04/16/2014
Beyond Existential Martyrdom
In a recent email exchange with a friend, Michael Moats, I was teasing him about having a good attitude after witnessing a scary event. What began as good-natured humor also led to an important serious conversation as Michael wisely noted, “I still think there is something here to write on about the martyrish love affair I sometimes hear with people of existentialism.” I deeply appreciate Michael’s positive attitude and believe that it reflects his deep existential nature. For those who know Michael, they can attest that he does a wonderful job at balancing zhi mian (facing...

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New Existentialists

The Walmartization of Higher Education, Continued

04/15/2014
The Walmartization of Higher Education, Continued
In a previous issue, I noted that for-profit, corporate motives have infiltrated our public education system, resulting in the same sorts of power structures at community colleges as at Wal-Mart or at for-profit schools. In other words, we depend increasingly on part-time labor whom we can deny benefits or fair pay while compensating the top executives at rates never before seen. It is easy to argue that the seven major heirs to Sam Walton's fortune could change the nature of the economy all on their own; it would cost a trivial amount of their comparative fortune to pay a living wage to...

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Rethinking Complexity

Destructive Cycle/Generative Cycle

04/14/2014
Destructive Cycle/Generative Cycle
After going through a long destructive cycle in my life, where everything I counted on fell away, I have emerged into a generative period in which life energy has returned, and I am moving toward the world again. This period of disintegration changed everything for me. Keeping my seat as life’s fabric unraveled was hard, to say the least. And that was all I could do—try to keep centered, meditate more, stay present with my experience, and as best as I could be compassionate toward myself and others. I rode the waves of Lyme disease that became my world. Like water flowing down a...

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New Existentialists

Relationships, Anxiety, Depression, and Bad Faith

04/14/2014
Relationships, Anxiety, Depression, and Bad Faith
In the early phase of any evolving relationship, we humans present a certain persona or enact a certain role, depending on what we want or are seeking. The ability to use different personas differentiates us from other species. With some exceptions, other species know only one mode—authenticity. In people who have come to value authenticity, the persona is actually who they really are. Sometimes that authenticity can be irritable to others. The other may personalize their partner’s authentic expression, and not understand, accept, or appreciate them for their honesty. Nonetheless...

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Mind-Body Medicine

Schoolo of Mind-Body Medicine Admissions Counselor, Shohreh Seirafi, Shares her Persian Heritage

04/11/2014
Persian Fire Ceremony March 2014 in Bay Area

 

Shohreh Seirafi is the Senior Admissions Counselor for the Saybrook University School of Mind-Body Medicine, as well as for the School of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Inquiry Human Science program.

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New Existentialists

Existential Roundup

04/11/2014
Existential Roundup
Welcome to the Existential Roundup, where we bring you links to some articles currently trending that may be of interest to those in the existential-humanistic psychology community. With Spring Break coming up for elementary, middle, and high school children, many people may be wondering about what to do with the children for this Passover/Easter/vacation week? And the most burning question of all—what psychological and existential questions can we discuss? Well, fear no more. This week’s roundup is here to help you out of your conundrum. Having been teenagers ourselves, we know...

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New Existentialists

The Two-Way Mirror: Projection, Responsibility, and Connection

04/10/2014
The Two-Way Mirror: Projection, Responsibility, and Connection
Here in Chicago, we have been experiencing the first tantalizing hints of spring after the coldest winter on record. I am giddy with excitement to see the tips of tiny daffodil shoots poking shyly through the soil. The weeping willows that line our yard have quite suddenly and boldly sported the yellow tone that heralds the imminent growth of strands of elongated, deep green leaves. Chipmunks have dutifully and enthusiastically begun their seasonal scolding of the squirrels. I paused this evening on my walk from the train station to our house, just to savor the rosy glow of a sunset that...

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Rethinking Complexity

Complexity and Grace

04/09/2014
Complexity and Grace
I have been teaching systems thinking as an approach to deal with complexity for many years. Complexity has become a catch word, something that is recognized as a part of modern life, something that should not be ignored or simplified. We have too many examples of reductionist approaches that tried to solve a problem through a technological (quick) fix to only find out that the solution had “side effects” that made the problem worse or created new problems. So acknowledging and even embracing complexity has been, in my opinion, a step in the right direction.  However, there...

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New Existentialists

Nuts to Passover?

04/09/2014
Nuts to Passover?
The Jewish holiday of Passover is arguably the most existential-phenomenological of all the Jewish holidays. In the Haggadah, the book we read at the Passover Seder on the first two nights of the holiday, the text asks us to imagine ourselves as slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt—to put ourselves in the places of our forbearers, to truly try to feel what it feels like to be enslaved, and then to be liberated. Among the many rituals that help cultivate this feeling is the one that prohibits the eating of “leavened” bread—bread that has been allowed to rise. The story behind...

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