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New Existentialists

Out With the Old, In With the New

12/03/2014
Out With the Old, In With the New
For those of you who do not follow the HBO series The Newsroom, penned by that most provocative of television writers, Aaron Sorkin, you have missed a most disturbing plot twist in the series’ final episodes that has actually made me lose sleep. The series centers on the newsroom of the fictional 24-hour news channel, ACN, which is struggling in fourth place behind the other news channels. In addition to ongoing legal and news gathering issues, the company and network is about to be sold, leaving the fate of its staff in limbo. In typical dramatic fashion, a buyer has appeared at the...

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New Existentialists

Finding Common Threads in Unfamiliar Places

12/02/2014
Finding Common Threads in Unfamiliar Places
There was a time when I was ashamed to be Chinese, when I was defensive yet embarrassed in knowing next to nothing about being "Chinese." The spell probably snapped when my mentor told me, "Jung loved China," though I did nothing to hunt for crosslinks in the bifurcated streambeds of my psyche. But falling in step with the Western fascination with Eastern traditions, I waded through sacred books of India, China, and Japan, until the whole urge of my being wound around the jigsaw puzzle of Confucius’ sayings. So it was a jolt of a revolving door that reverted me to...

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New Existentialists

Quiet Voices of Change

12/01/2014
Quiet Voices of Change
No doubt, countless articles have already been written in the aftermath of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. No doubt, there are polarized opinions on whether this was the “right” decision. No doubt, the people of Ferguson are reeling from the impact of this decision. And soon, if not already, no doubt, people not immediately affected by the situation will become tired of reading, talking, and hearing about all of it. I noticed my hesitance in even beginning to write a piece on this. Leading scholars, award winning journalists...

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Rethinking Complexity

Rethinking Ghana's Energy Future

11/29/2014
Rethinking Ghana's Energy Future
 In late 2006 and continuing into 2007, Ghana experienced a major power crisis that caused planned power outages, also known as load shedding, with outages lasting up to 72 consecutive hours.  Since then, Ghana has sought to strengthen its electricity sector. However, in spite of these efforts, power supply continues to be a challenge.  For example, in 2013 the load shedding exercise recommenced and it is forecasted to continue until 2015 though on a reduced scale. This situation arose, in part, from technical issues having to do with an over-aged and inefficient transmission...

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New Existentialists

Opening to Heartfulness: Gratitude and the Sacred

11/26/2014
Opening to Heartfulness: Gratitude and the Sacred
Last year, I was teaching a section of Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy and discussing with my students the topic of mysticism and personal experiences of the “sacred,” which I loosely define as that which is associated with authentic perception of beauty, feelings of awe, and the dawning of wordless profound wisdom that enriches our lives. Trusting that they had at least glanced at the assigned readings on Maslowian peak experiences, trance, William James, shamanism, and indigenous spiritual traditions, I asked them in class to identify the hallmarks of a mystical or sacred...

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New Existentialists

What's With All the Slapping?

11/25/2014
What's With All the Slapping?
I was trying to find a story for a friend, a Zen koan about a master slapping his student. They were walking through a field and a flock of geese rose up, and the student commented how beautiful they were. Then the master slapped him, and he experienced a moment of satori. In that moment, he said, "They were always here!" I don't remember where I read the story or when, but it has always stuck with me. And trying to find it, I came across a number of Internet threads wondering why there is so much slapping and hitting in these stories. A bunch of such stories came up related to...

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New Existentialists

Empathy Blindness and the Joyless Life

11/24/2014
Empathy Blindness and the Joyless Life
I did something unusual as a graduate student of psychology. While all my colleagues were studying ways that people can become miserable, I was interested in what makes people joyful and happy. When I would tell my professors or colleagues that I wanted to study joy for my dissertation, a typical response was a belittling chuckle. But within the past 10-15 years, joy has become a hot subject (Robbins, 2008), and people are not laughing anymore when I tell them I study joy. Well, they do smile though—but in a good way. In my research on joy (Robbins, 2006), participants describe the...

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New Existentialists

Existential Roundup

11/21/2014
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. In honor of Thanksgiving, I would like to present a list of existential (and related) websites to be grateful for (and to browse instead of shopping, either in the stores or online). Without further ado, and with the hope that readers will start contributing their own so that this list will grow: 5+ Existential (and related) Websites for Which I Am Grateful: Project Gutenberg—the original free eBook site,...

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Rethinking Complexity

Engaging Team Members: Managing by Building Relationships

11/20/2014
Engaging Team Members: Managing by Building Relationships
As discussed in Keeping Team Members Engaged in a Distributed Workplace: Initial Thoughts for Discussion, it is hard to stay current with everything, let alone be fully active in all of the networks in which we are members. It is a challenge to accomplish work demands while fulfilling personal responsibilities, not to mention trying to have some type of leisure moments that foster rejuvenation and enable “re-creation.” There is too much happening in our networked lifestyles, where boundaries are hard to maintain or have vanished altogether between the workplace and home life....

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New Existentialists

What Gives Your Job Meaning?

11/20/2014
What Gives Your Job Meaning?
Those lucky enough to have jobs are spending more and more time at them—so it matters more than ever to our mental health and psychological well-being what makes people happy on the job. A recent poll asked Americans what it is that makes them happy at work, and the answers aren’t really surprising to anyone with an existential bent. A significant number (88 percent) said it mattered to them that they could believe in the mission and purpose of their company. Meanwhile companies with fewer than 100 employees had a higher chance of those employees saying they were satisfied than...

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