It matters that people have a way to use the latest findings in psychology beyond buying a pill for depression. It matters that people have a way of looking at their lives that lets them ask the big questions and determine how they want to live – and that this is supported by therapists and mental health professionals.

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Posts tagged with the category Art and Existentialism

Ebenezer Scrooge in a 19th woodcut by John Leech.
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...
Within Existential conversations, there is a lot of talk about Being. And why not? Existentialism has been called the “Science of Being” and, as such, how “Being” is defined and understood tends to be the basic premise against which all our movement’s themes and concerns are evaluated. “Being” has been...
Johann Peter Hasenclever's Die Sentimentale
This past week I was looking for a definition of perception for some academic work and sat down to read through my notes on Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception (1954). The vivid accounts of magnanimous shifts of consciousness were enticing. I thought about the fantastic accounts of folds in trousers and bamboo chairs: how items in a drug...
Mark Rothko
In The Courage to Create (1975), May stated: In human beings courage is necessary to make being and becoming possible. An assertion of the self, a commitment, is essential if the self is to have any reality.… Courage is not a virtue or value among other personal values.… It is the foundation that underlies and gives reality to all...
I am willing to admit that I live in a “bubble”—a liberal bubble. I live in an East Coast city and agree with most progressive political and social positions. Most of the people I associate with share similar views and opinions. It takes concentrated effort, therefore, to understand views diametrically opposed to my own. One...
Jello Biafra. Photo by Catherine Andersen.
“Last call for alcohol; last call for free speech; drink up; happy hour is now enforced by law.” --"We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now" On a drive home from a recent family reunion, my daughter and I popped in the Dead Kennedys' (1980) Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. It’s an album that for me marks an...
“The eyes are the window to your soul.” Variations of this quote have been attributed to Shakespeare, Cicero, and Matthew in the New Testament. But no matter who said it first, this quote has found its way into common parlance, and has almost become a cliché, at least as far as barroom pick-up lines are concerned. But we...
Photo by Jennifer Rensel.
I was an art major in college. I studied painting. I was immersed in the New York art scene, as my school was just two hours north of the city. The small, liberal arts school I attended encouraged this involvement. We were to go down and see the shows, go to openings, see what was out there. It was the New York art world of the 80’s, before...
Painting by Richard Bargdill.
One of the things I have marveled at is how many humanistic existential folks have found art to be an important part of their self-care. I understand that we are “amateur” artists, poets, painters and musicians, but I think that in itself is beautiful because we are, in a sense, truly making art for art’s sake. Or maybe even...
Steal a Pencil for Me (The Movie), 2007
Last spring, I heard a reading of the opera Steal a Pencil for Me at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. The opera, composed by Dr. Gerald Cohen, with a libretto by Deborah Brevoort, is based on the book and memoirs, Steal a Pencil for Me, by Jack (Jaap) Polak and Ina Soep Polak. I had originally met Jack and Ina in 2004 at another...
Le nozze di Figaro. Photo by Gunnar Wrobel.
In my last blog, I wrote about a beautiful moment of cinematic creation in the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Since presenting this western movie to workshop participants across Asia, I since found out that this is one of the top ten movies for male audiences in China. The movie is a cinematic classic that inspires us to move beyond...
Last week, I bought a hat. For the record, I do not normally buy hats, nor do I normally shop in the kind of fancy one-of-a-kind SoHo boutiques in New York City where I bought this one. But my friend Carmen was visiting from Spain—her first trip to the United States—and saw the interesting collection of fabrics in the window and...