I Argue With Paul Gottfried

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Hitler and Abductive Logic: The Strategy of a Tyrant By Ben Novak

Here are some excerpts from this 2014 book:

* The question that initiated this study was a simple question that mystified Adolf Hitler’s contemporaries and has subsequently baffled historians and biographers: Why was Hitler successful in his rise to power? Initially, this seems to be a straightforward question, answered by simply describing: (1) who this man was; (2) what he did; and (3) how he did it. However, most biographers and historians have answered only one of these three questions, namely, what he did. As for the other two questions, they have proved unable to arrive at consensus or provide satisfactory answers.

H. R. Trevor-Roper was the first post–World War II historian to recognize the mystery constituted constituted by Hitler’s rise to power and to identify these two unanswered questions as the essential elements of the continuing mystery of Hitler. Trevor-Roper raised these in a lengthy essay published in 1953, entitled “The Mind of Adolf Hitler,”[1] which begins with the stark question: “Who Was Hitler?” He then goes on to castigate his fellow historians for failing to answer that question, as well as for failing to answer the second question constituting the mystery: “How did he do it?” Indeed, Trevor-Roper accused historians of “evading” these questions. It is worth quoting him more fully, for he minces no words:

“Who was Hitler? The history of his political career is abundantly documented and we cannot escape from its terrible effects. And yet, . . . how elusive his character remains! What he did is clear; every detail of his political activity is now—thanks to a seizure of documents unparalleled in history—historically established; his daily life and personal behavior have been examined and exposed. But still, when asked not what he did but how he did it, or rather how he was able to do it, historians evade the question, sliding away behind implausible answers.[2]”

In the intervening half century, despite an overwhelming amount of scholarship devoted to these two questions (Robert G. L. Waite has opined, “It seems likely that more will be written about Adolf Hitler than anyone else in history with the exception of Jesus Christ.”)[3], no advance has been made in answering them or solving the mystery.

Eberhard Jaeckel pronounces the question “How could Hitler have come to power?” to be “the seminal question of the twentieth century.” century.”[4] James M. Rhodes writes that “The rise of the German Workers’ Party (Hitler Movement)” is a phenomenon that has “never been adequately explained.”[5] Biographer Robert Payne candidly admits at the beginning of his biography, The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, that “the rise of Adolf Hitler to supreme power is one of those events in world history which are almost totally inexplicable in any rational terms;”[6] while Joachim Fest, the author of one of the most respected biographies of Hitler,[7] acknowledges thirteen years after publication that “Hitler and National Socialism, despite years of study and reflection about them, have remained more myth than history.”[8] Robert Nelken pithily summarizes the mystery: “Hitler has puzzled generations of investigators.”

The present status of this mystery, especially regarding the two unanswered questions identified by Trevor-Roper, is well reflected in three major works published as the twentieth century was ending. In 1997, John Lukacs published The Hitler of History, a survey of the major historical scholarship and research relating to Hitler. Lukacs was motivated to conduct his study because he felt that the same two questions that Trevor-Roper had identified in 1953 were still unanswered: “There is no disagreement about this among historians,” writes Lukacs, “What they ask from the record—and from themselves—are two questions: How could Hitler have come to such power? And: What kind of a man was he?”[10] In his conclusion, Lukacs reiterates the judgment of Percy Ernst Schramm that “by virtue of his personality, his ideas, and the fact that he misled millions, Hitler poses an historical problem of the first magnitude.”[11] Lukacs himself summarizes the mystery posed by Hitler in almost Biblical terms, capitalizing each word: “And Hitler Was, Is and Remains a Problem.”[12]

The following year a second work appeared demonstrating the continuing mystery of Hitler. In 1998, Ron Rosenbaum, a journalist who sensed a significant story in the failure of historians to solve the mystery of Hitler, published Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origin of His Evil. The story that Rosenbaum reports is the almost-scandal among historians that Hitler remains unexplained. For his book, Rosenbaum interviewed many of the most prominent Hitler scholars, recording his surprise—and their frustration—that the most fundamental historical and moral questions about this man remain unanswered. Rosenbaum identifies these two yet unanswered questions as (1) “The real search for Hitler—the search for who he was,” and (2) “the question of his advent and success.”[13] Rosenbaum then records in eloquent language the layman’s amazement at the failure of historians to find any coherent or consensus answers to these questions:

“Is it conceivable, more than half a century after Hitler’s death, after all that has been written and said, that we are still wandering in this trackless wilderness, this garden of forking paths, with no sight of our quarry? Or, rather, alas, with too many quarries: the search for Hitler has apprehended not one coherent, consensus image of Hitler, but rather many different Hitlers, competing embodiments of competing visions, Hitlers who might not recognize each other well enough to say “Heil!” if they came face to face in Hell.”

* “No comprehensive study of all aspects of Hitler’s language exists.”[36] So far, no rhetorician has conducted a study of Hitler’s rhetoric that would explain his phenomenal political success.[37] If Hitler’s demagogy—his speechmaking, oratory, and rhetoric—were so important in explaining Hitler’s success, why has no one seen fit to study it in order to explain the principles of its effectiveness?

Joseph Cotto writes:

Even astute researchers might be surprised to discover that, while a youngster, Hitler was enamored of Saxony-born novelist Karl May, best remembered for volumes depicting the Old American West. It was from May’s writings, Novak relates, that Hitler originally learned about abductive logic — despite May being a Christian humanitarian who was no enemy of Jews or non-Aryans. The manner through which Hitler transformed a realm of adventurous fantasy into a living nightmare inflicted upon millions and millions consumes the bulk of Novak’s work.

Understanding how a poorly educated, emotionally volatile, and psychologically disturbed nobody from the hinterlands became a global public enemy for the ages is quite an ordeal. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this is discovering that Hitler, through sheer force of his own will (itself fueled by a desire to overcome too many personal insecurities to mention here), twisted a plot pattern from pedestrian fiction to fashion a methodology for mass murder, astounding theft of property and real estate, as well as intended enforcement of totalitarian governance for over 1000 years.

Novak, in tracing Hitler’s childhood and rise to power as an adult, more than ably disseminates a story of how the lowest depths of humanity were reached. From Hitler — an unremarkable, unsuccessful farm boy gone to the big city — channeling his deep personal rage into political power to the ease with which throngs of voters rallied to his cause to how he attained stomach-wrenching domestic order primed to liquidate not only those within but abroad, nary a stone is left unturned.

Especially astounding is that, for all of the power he attained, Hitler never delivered typical campaign promises, like pragmatic solutions to pressing popular concerns. Instead, he cast such a spell over those around him that Nazi supporters were willing to pay admission so they could be present at their party’s gatherings.

A friend says:

I don’t think Cotto’s description is quite correct. He says, “Abduction is unlike both deduction, which proceeds from a universal rule to a specific case and then to a conclusion, and induction, which moves in the opposite direction. Abduction begins with the odd or inexplicable.” In a deductive inference, the conclusion *logically* follows from the premises, and doesn’t have to go from a “universal rule” to a specific cases. All mathematics is deduction. (a) If Smith has a hat the hat is black, (b) Smith has a hat, (c) Smith has a black hat” is deduction. People use “induction” kind of loosely, but it basically refers to statistical inferences. Statistics is the science of induction. Abduction means inference to the best explanation. All thinking people and animals employ abduction, but scientists supposedly do it on a higher level. The premises that are the basis of an abductive inference don’t have to be “odd or inexplicable”–it’s just normal everyday reasoning.

I think usually people don’t call it abductive *logic*, since it’s not exactly logic. Traditionally the main goal of philosophy of science was to explain how abduction/inference to the best explanation works, but so far it’s been a failure. People have distinguished lots of categories of induction/abduction.

I think the best way to understand scientific theories is as “research programs.” A research program posits a body of core explanatory principles to explain some evidence. All theories face empirical difficulties/counterexamples, so they must be supplemented with auxiliary hypotheses to explain away the counterexamples. Successful research programs produce auxiliary hypotheses that make successful new predictions, whereas unsuccessful programs require more and more rescuing hypotheses to explain counterexamples without making new predictions.

Maybe Hitler was good at coming up with narratives? I think the psychology of how narratives appeal to people should receive a lot more attention. It’s discussed a little in moral psychology, but it’s not a major issue.

From the German Studies Review:

Ben Novak—whose interdisciplinary PhD combines history, philosophy, and political science—wrestles with questions that he believes historians have not successfully answered: who was Hitler and why did he succeed in taking power over others who were better educated, more experienced, and better connected? Whereas numerous biographers of Hitler, the most recent being Ian Kershaw (1998, 2000), see Hitler as an impenetrable mystery, Novak seeks to make sense of him. Following Konrad Heiden (A History of National Socialism, 1971), who called attention to Hitler’s “natural gifts” (61), and the nineteenth-century American logician Charles Samuel [End Page 190] Pierce, Novak argues that the key to Hitler’s success was his mastery of a third form of logic besides deduction and induction known as “abduction” (20–21).

Abduction is unlike both deduction, which proceeds from a universal rule to a specific case and then to a conclusion, and induction, which moves in the opposite direction. Abduction begins with the odd or inexplicable. Proceeding from instinct and imagination, the observer reasons backwards from a puzzling occurrence to create a story out of what appear to be insignificant clues. In Hitler’s hands, abduction led to a simple but comprehensive explanation for seemingly incomprehensible events: the lost war, the punitive peace settlement, hyperinflation, and then the Depression. Only a criminal plot—an international conspiracy of communists, socialists, liberals, pacifists, and especially Jews—could explain the multiple traumas of interwar Germany. As Novak argues, abduction can provide a fruitful way to produce a working hypothesis in circumstances where no universal rules or foundational principles can be assumed. Hitler thus provided a compelling story that other Weimar politicians could not produce. His conspiratorial hypothesis was not open to refutation.

According to the author, abductive logic is as old as the “first caveman” (29), but its emergence in the popular literature of the late nineteenth century, such as Sherlock Holmes detective stories and Karl May’s westerns, was central to Hitler’s maturation. To make his case, Novak himself uses abductive logic to explain Hitler’s transformation from a socially well-adjusted, model student into a loner with little passion for school who angrily rejected his father’s desire that Adolf follow him into the Austro-Hungarian civil service. Rather than reject out of hand Hitler’s own testimony in Mein Kampf, which most historians consider too dubious to be credible, Novak takes it seriously as a point of departure, linking Hitler’s testimony with the other fragmentary evidence. Most scholars recognize that, by the age of eleven, Hitler had become a pathological mystery. Yet Novak argues that this change can be explained. His attraction to Karl May’s hero “Old Shatterhand” (first appearing in Winnetou in 1893), who abductively discovered truths about the world and his own existence, justified his rebelliousness and his growing belief in his own uniqueness. Hitler saw himself as extraordinary, too special to conform to the “department store” (161) world of bourgeois careerism that guided his early youth and his father’s expectations. Hence Hitler decided to become an artist, a profession with the freedom to allow his genius to thrive. After World War I, politics provided a different but equally creative path.

Novak’s contribution lies in his detailing the rationality of Hitler’s thinking. Neither sociopathic, irrational, opportunistic, nor mediumistic, Hitler was eminently logical. In his brief concluding chapter, Novak describes how the Führer seamlessly combined messianism with formidable business skills to assure his and his party’s success. By charging admission to party rallies, Hitler created a self-financing political entity while simultaneously enhancing Nazism’s revivalist novelty. By limiting photographs of himself, Hitler enhanced his personal magnetism and thus enticed even more people [End Page 191] to see him in person. According to Novak, Hitler’s riveting oratory was less significant to the growth of the Nazi Party than the creativity and solidity of his management.

Professor Steven Jefferson writes for Journal of Contemporary European Studies:

According to Ben Novak, three events that ‘set [Adolf Hitler] on the road to becoming Der Fuehrer (sic)’ were his distinct rejection of the idea of ordinary work and an ordinary life [ … ] at the age of eight; [the] formation of a personal identification with an abstract idea of the German people [ … ] at age nine; and [his] discovery of Karl May [ … ] at the age of eleven. (121)

It was during his extended engagement with May’s oeuvre, Novak explains, that Hitler internalised abductive logic, a mode of thought employed by the great detectives of literature and, crucially for Novak’s thesis, by some of May’s fictional protagonists.

Novak’s claim that something in Karl May’s books can explain the Holocaust, is based on a statement made by Hitler’s headmaster, Dr Eduard Huemer, in relation to Hitler’s post-Putsch arrest in 1923. Huemer testified that ‘Hitler seems to have been led astray by the stories of Karl May and tales of Red Indians’ (182). Novak focuses on Huemer’s specific choice of words: ‘led astray’ rather than ‘wasted time reading’. However, to assess the merits of Huemer’s statement, one would need to consider the original German, which Novak fails to provide. Nor does he provide a reference to the German source; a serious omission given the importance of this point to his thesis. Even without the translation, the claims Novak makes for this statement are unsupportable. Not only does Huemer mention ‘stories by Karl May’ but he also refers specifically to ‘and tales of Red Indians’. However, these could have been written by any number of authors, notably James Fenimore Cooper whose novels, Novak assures us, Hitler had also read (184). Huemer states that Hitler was ‘led astray’ both by Karl May stories and by ‘tales of Red Indians’. Yet, Novak asserts that this constitutes supporting evidence for the claim that Hitler was specifically ‘led astray’ by something he discovered in May’s stories. Huemer goes on to state that ‘no doubt an over-indulgence in such reading combined with the time wasted on drifting back and forth from home and school which was some distance apart, was mostly responsible for [Hitler’s] failure’ (182). This statement leaves little doubt that the headmaster attributed Hitler’s lacklustre school performance to his wasting time on reading per se and trekking long distances instead of studying for exams.

Turning to the substance of Novak’s core thesis, his assertion that Hitler was highly influenced by Karl May is unoriginal. In 1940, Klaus Mann attacked May’s oeuvre as the product of ‘a morbid and infantile brain’, which he claimed, without citing sources, had demonstrably influenced Hitler. According to Mann, ‘[a] whole generation in Germany grew brutish and ran wild—partly through
the evil influence of Karl May’ (Mann 1940a). He goes on to make the preposterous and outrageous claim that ‘[t]he Third Reich is Karl May’s ultimate triumph’ (Mann 1940b).

Mann’s claim is preposterous for a number of reasons. First, there is no difference between May’s Westerns and those of non-German authors such as Captain Mayne Reid. Why then did not a whole generation in England or America grow brutish and run wild after reading the very books that may well have inspired May’s own oeuvre? Second, Karl May is one of the most translated authors ever: why then was the supposedly evil potential of his novels only realised in Germany? Third, far from being a cultural chauvinist or warmonger, May was a pacifist who faced down a whole generation of sabre-rattling militarists in the wake of the Boxer Rebellion by publishing and defending such programmatically ideological tracts as Et in terra pax (1901) later republished and expanded as Und Friede auf Erden (1904) (Ku¨rschner 1901; May 1958[1904]; Sudhoff et al. 2001). May’s pacifistic utterances were met with unbridled fury from the public and the Catholic Church. In 1938, by which time May had been dead for 20 years, Hitler’s NSDAP demanded drastic alterations to the text before approving the publication of an updated edition. Karl May, author, rogue, plagiarist and pacifist, may well have caught the young Hitler’s attention as he has fired the imaginations of tens of millions of
youngsters around the world for over 150 years. But to associate him and his oeuvre with this ‘genius’ of death is one of the greatest factual distortions that I have ever encountered.

Novak’s scholarship remains underdeveloped. His ability to unfold a cogent argument based on verifiable evidence and reasonable assumptions is woefully inadequate. His decision to take the perpetrator of the greatest crime in recorded history to task, not for the role he played in the mass murder of Europe’s Jews and the destruction of the European order, but for his boyhood dalliance with the oeuvre of a competent, if at times uninspired, certainly harmless, author, goes beyond bad taste and poor judgement. In summary, this book exemplifies the free-for-all attitude towards Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust that many Anglophone authors, incredibly, seem to feel is appropriate—but which is not!

According to his self-description found at StateCollege.com:

Ben Novak is a retired attorney, writer and teacher.

He graduated from Penn State in 1965 with a BA in economics. In 1968 he received a J.D. degree from Georgetown University. Later, in 1999, he earned a Ph.D. at Penn State in the interdisciplinary doctoral studies program. His dissertation, entitled Hitler and Abductive Logic: The Strategy of a Tyrant, was published by Lexington Books in 2014.

After serving in the U.S. Army (1968-1970), including a year in Viet Nam, he practiced law in Centre County for more than three decades (1970-2001). From 1984 to 1987 he published the first regular (bi-weekly) column on beer appreciation; his columns were collected and published in 2013 as The Birth of the Craft Brew Revolution.

He founded and was the first president of both the Mount Nittany Conservancy, and the Lion Fraternity Alumni Association. He served four three-year terms on Penn State’s Board of Trustees as an Alumni Elected Trustee (1988-2000). In 2001, he retired to live and teach in Slovakia, the land of his ancestors in Europe, for seven years.

He now resides in Ave Maria, Florida, where he thanks God every day for the warm, sunny weather.

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My Rules For Life

* I look for ways to approach life that make me happy and prosperous, that enable me to get along with other people, and to have a sense of ease with myself, with others, with the universe and with God.

* I like the teaching found in the Alexander Technique that all beliefs are just unnecessary tension. I find that insight useful, not necessarily true.

* I like the idea that everybody should be appreciated for their own genre, that is my recasting of historicism, of understanding people within their context. I believe that people do the best they can with what they have and that everybody does what he thinks is right.

* I think if you are troubled, you can do far worse for a role model than Dennis Prager. I think he’s commonsensical, he describes an appealing approach to life that works for people who are not intellectuals. Those with high IQs and love to learn won’t necessarily spend much time with Prager. This is not a criticism of Prager, it is a situating of Prager within his proper genre. No pundit is worth a damn, except Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.

* Not just everybody but every thing has its genre. I look for learning about biology among biologists, for learning about Talmud to Talmud scholars and to learn about history from historians. In general, the smarter and the more accomplished the person, the more seriously I take them.

* There are certain clues for people I do not take seriously. For example, if they base their teachings on their anger or their feelings, if they feel that they run the world, if they believe that there is a magic key to how history or the world works, I immediately dismiss them. If they consistently locate their troubles outside of themselves, I can’t take them seriously. I consider conspiracy theorists cranks and nutters.

* I believe we attract people into our lives and people create the kind of societies that chiefly reflect their genetic code when matched with a particular environment.

* I believe that I am an intellectual gigolo who falls in love with every attractive idea that comes along but stays loyal to none.

* I try to stay aware that I usually do not see the world as it is, but as I am.

* I try not to give my opinions undue weight, because every time I share a heavy one, I then feel compelled to defend it, and then I often dig myself into a hole.

* I don’t know of any moral teaching more valuable than that one should act as if what you are doing and saying will be reported accurately on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow. I guess that’s my principle moral code.

* I think the more integrated your life, the better. The fewer secrets the better. The more honesty the better. I like to ask myself regularly — what am I hiding that should be shared with others? What am I ashamed about? Who do I resent? What am I lying about? What relationships and situations am I in that weigh me down? Do I have unnecessary possessions and tensions? And then I clean house and help others.

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The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1902) By William James

William James and Carl Jung were the most influential intellectuals behind AA. Neither were religious.

Here are some excerpts:

* There can be no doubt that as a matter of fact a religious life, exclusively pursued, does tend to make the person exceptional and eccentric… We must make search rather for the original experiences which were the pattern-setters to all this mass of suggested feeling and imitated conduct. These experiences we can only find in individuals for whom religion exists not as a dull habit, but as an acute fever rather. But such individuals are “geniuses” in the religious line; and like many other geniuses who have brought forth fruits effective enough for commemoration in the pages of biography, such religious geniuses have often shown symptoms of nervous instability. Even more perhaps than other kinds of genius, religious leaders have been subject to abnormal psychical visitations. Invariably they have been creatures of exalted emotional sensibility. [pg 007] Often they have led a discordant inner life, and had melancholy during a part of their career. They have known no measure, been liable to obsessions and fixed ideas; and frequently they have fallen into trances, heard voices, seen visions, and presented all sorts of peculiarities which are ordinarily classed as pathological. Often, moreover, these pathological features in their career have helped to give them their religious authority and influence.

* The greater the genius, the greater the unsoundness.

* What right have we to believe Nature under any obligation to do her work by means of complete minds only? She may find an incomplete mind a more suitable instrument for a particular purpose.

* In the history of Christian mysticism the problem how to discriminate between such messages and experiences as were really divine miracles, and such others as the demon in his malice was able to counterfeit, thus making the religious person twofold more the child of hell he was before, has always been a difficult one to solve, needing all the sagacity and experience of the best directors of conscience. In the end it had to come to our empiricist criterion: By their fruits ye shall know them…

* The roots of a man’s virtue are inaccessible to us. No appearances whatever are infallible proofs of grace. Our practice is the only sure evidence.

* it always leads to a better understanding of a thing’s significance to consider its exaggerations and perversions, its equivalents and substitutes and nearest relatives elsewhere.

* “Plenty of people wish well to any good cause, but very few care to exert themselves to help it, and still fewer will risk anything in its support.”

* Thus, in the soul of man there is a justice whose retributions are instant and entire. He who does a good deed is instantly ennobled. He who does a mean deed is by the action itself contracted. He who puts off impurity thereby puts on purity…If a man dissemble, deceive, he deceives himself, and goes out of acquaintance with his own being. Character is always known. Thefts never enrich; alms never impoverish; murder will speak out of stone walls. The least admixture of a lie— for example, the taint of vanity, any attempt to make a good impression, a favorable appearance— will instantly vitiate the effect. But speak the truth, and all things alive or brute are vouchers…

* “If you love and serve men, you cannot by any hiding or stratagem escape the remuneration.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) 

* “He believes in No-God, and he worships him,” said a colleague of mine of a student who was manifesting a fine atheistic ardor; and the more fervent opponents of Christian doctrine have often enough shown a temper which, psychologically considered, is indistinguishable from religious zeal.

* Be ready for anything— that perhaps is wisdom. Give ourselves up, according to the hour, to confidence, to skepticism, to optimism, to irony, and we may be sure that at certain moments at least we shall be with the truth…. Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile.

* Religious feeling is thus an absolute addition to the Subject’s range of life. It gives him a new sphere of power. When the outward battle is lost, and the outer world disowns him, it redeems and vivifies an interior world which otherwise would be an empty waste.

* Religion thus makes easy and felicitous what in any case is necessary…

* Were one asked to characterize the life of religion in the broadest and most general terms possible, one might say that it consists of the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto.

* We can act as if there were a God; feel as if we were free; consider Nature as if she were full of special designs; lay plans as if we were to be immortal; and we find then that these words do make a genuine difference in our moral life.

* The sentiment of reality can indeed attach itself so strongly to our object of belief that our whole life is polarized through and through, so to speak, by its sense of the existence of the thing believed in, and yet that thing, for purpose of definite description, can hardly be said to be present to our mind at all.

* I do not yet say that it is better that the subconscious and non-rational should thus hold primacy in the religious realm. I confine myself to simply pointing out that they do so hold it as a matter of fact.

* If we were to ask the question: “What is human life’s chief concern?” one of the answers we should receive would be: “It is happiness.” How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness, is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.

* If a creed makes a man feel happy, he almost inevitably adopts it. Such a belief ought to be true; [pg 079] therefore it is true.

* beliefs:— 1. That the visible world is part of a more spiritual universe from which it draws its chief significance; 2. That union or harmonious relation with that higher universe is our true end; 3. That prayer or inner communion with the spirit thereof— be that spirit “God” or “law”— is a process wherein work is really done, and spiritual energy flows in and produces effects, psychological or material, within the phenomenal world. Religion includes also the following psychological characteristics:— 4. A new zest which adds itself like a gift to life, and takes the form either of lyrical enchantment or of appeal to earnestness and heroism.

5. An assurance of safety and a temper of peace, and, in relation to others, a preponderance of loving affections.

* If we are peevish and jealous, destruction of the self must be an element of our religion; why need it be one if we are good and sympathetic from the outset? If we are sick souls, we require a religion of deliverance; but why think so much [pg 488] of deliverance, if we are healthy-minded?

* The warring gods and [pg 508] formulas of the various religions do indeed cancel each other, but there is a certain uniform deliverance in which religions all appear to meet. It consists of two parts:— 1. An uneasiness; and 2. Its solution. 1. The uneasiness, reduced to its simplest terms, is a sense that there is something wrong about us as we naturally stand. 2. The solution is a sense that we are saved from the wrongness by making proper connection with the higher powers.

* We and God [pg 517] have business with each other; and in opening ourselves to his influence our deepest destiny is fulfilled. The universe, at those parts of it which our personal being constitutes, takes a turn genuinely for the worse or for the better in proportion as each one of us fulfills or evades God’s demands.

* Religion, in fact, for the great majority of our own race means immortality, and nothing else. God is the producer of immortality; and whoever has doubts of immortality is written down as an atheist without farther trial.

* The existence of the chance makes [pg 527] the difference, as Edmund Gurney says, between a life of which the keynote is resignation and a life of which the keynote is hope.

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Livin’ on a Prayer

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