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William James

Geburtstag: 11. Januar 1842
Todesdatum: 26. August 1910

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William James war ein US-amerikanischer Psychologe und Philosoph. Von 1876 bis 1907 war er Professor für Psychologie und Philosophie an der Harvard University. James gilt sowohl als Begründer der Psychologie in den USA als auch als einer der wichtigsten Vertreter des philosophischen Pragmatismus.

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Zitate William James

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„Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half-awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.“

—  William James
1910s, Memories and Studies (1911), Context: Every one is familiar with the phenomenon of feeling more or less alive on different days. Every one knows on any given day that there are energies slumbering in him which the incitements of that day do not call forth, but which he might display if these were greater. Most of us feel as if we lived habitually with a sort of cloud weighing on us, below our highest notch of clearness in discernment, sureness in reasoning, or firmness in deciding. Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half-awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources. The Energies of Men

„Take the happiest man, the one most envied by the world, and in nine cases out of ten his inmost consciousness is one of failure.“

—  William James
1900s, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), Context: Take the happiest man, the one most envied by the world, and in nine cases out of ten his inmost consciousness is one of failure. Either his ideals in the line of his achievements are pitched far higher than the achievements themselves, or else he has secret ideals of which the world knows nothing, and in regard to which he inwardly knows himself to be found wanting. Lectures VI and VII, "The Sick Soul"

„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
1900s, Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907), Context: 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. Lecture V, Pragmatism and Common Sense

„I must get up, this is ignominious,“

—  William James
1890s, The Principles of Psychology (1890), Context: We know what it is to get out of bed on a freezing morning in a room without a fire, and how the very vital principle within us protests against the idea. Probably most persons have lain on certain mornings for an hour at a time unable to brace themselves to the resolve. We think how late we shall be, how the duties of the day will suffer; we say, “I must get up, this is ignominious,” and so on. But still the warm couch feels too delicious, and the cold outside too cruel, and resolution faints away and postpones itself again and again just as it seemed on the verge of the decisive act. Now how do we ever get up under such circumstances? If I may generalize from my own experience, we more often than not get up without any struggle or decision at all. We suddenly find that we have got up. A fortunate lapse of consciousness occurs, we forget both the warmth and the cold; we fall into some reverie connected with the day’s life, in the course of which the idea flashes across us, “Hollo! I must lie here no longer” – an idea which at that lucky instant awakes no contradictory or paralyzing suggestions, and consequently produces immediately its appropriate motor effects. It was our acute consciousness of both the warmth and the cold during the period of struggle which paralyzed our activity. This case seems to me to contain in miniature form the data for an entire psychology of volition. Ch. 26

„Of course, the sovereign cure for worry is religious faith“

—  William James
1910s, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals (1911), Context: Worry means always and invariably inhibition of associations and loss of effective power. Of course, the sovereign cure for worry is religious faith; and this, of course, you also know. The turbulent billows of the fretful surface leave the deep parts of the ocean undisturbed, and to him who has a hold on vaster and more permanent realities the hourly vicissitudes of his personal destiny seem relatively insignificant things. The really religious person is accordingly unshakable and full of equanimity, and calmly ready for any duty that the day may bring forth. "The Gospel of Relaxation"

„To plead the organic causation of a religious state of mind, then, in refutation of its claim to possess superior spiritual value, is quite illogical and arbitrary, unless one have already worked out in advance some psycho-physical theory connecting spiritual values in general with determinate sorts of physiological change.“

—  William James
1900s, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), Context: To plead the organic causation of a religious state of mind, then, in refutation of its claim to possess superior spiritual value, is quite illogical and arbitrary, unless one have already worked out in advance some psycho-physical theory connecting spiritual values in general with determinate sorts of physiological change. Otherwise none of our thoughts and feelings, not even our scientific doctrines, not even our dis-beliefs, could retain any value as revelations of the truth, for every one of them without exception flows from the state of their possessor's body at the time. Lecture I, "Religion and Neurology"

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

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