“How William James Can Save Your Life”

Originally posted in our October 2022 Top of Mind Newsletter.

What’s the point of it all? This question has led to a range of discourses in psychology, philosophy, and religion. One philosopher from the turn of the 20th century spoke very openly about this in an 1895 lecture titled “Is Life Worth Living?”

William James, often referred to as the father of American Psychology sought to understand this question to save himself. He framed this type of existential dilemma as having a soul-sickness, but in turn, developed a way of having a healthy mind to combat the darkness we might face when pondering life. John Kaag, the author of Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life, was on Scott Barry Kaufman’s The Psychology Podcast, talking about how his study of James’ work has had an immense impact on his own life and shares how it could do the same for others.

Discussing the range of emotions experienced by philosophers and their students, Kaag provides a compelling look into what it takes to have a healthy mind and why the answer to James’ question may just have to be “maybe?”

Let’s start living.