Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness
Author: Emily Esfahani Smith
Publisher: Broadway Books
In a culture obsessed with happiness, this wise, stirring book points the way toward a richer, more satisfying life. Too many of us believe that the search for meaning is an esoteric pursuit—that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to discover life’s secrets. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us—right here, right now. To explore how we can craft lives of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith synthesizes a kaleidoscopic array of sources—from psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists to figures in literature and history such as George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, Aristotle, and the Buddha. Drawing on this research, Smith shows us how cultivating connections to others, identifying and working toward a purpose, telling stories about our place in the world, and seeking out mystery can immeasurably deepen our lives. To bring what she calls the four pillars of meaning to life, Smith visits a tight-knit fishing village in the Chesapeake Bay, stargazes in West Texas, attends a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of profound loss, and more. She also introduces us to compelling seekers of meaning—from the drug kingpin who finds his purpose in helping people get fit to the artist who draws on her Hindu upbringing to create arresting photographs. And she explores how we might begin to build a culture that leaves space for introspection and awe, cultivates a sense of community, and imbues our lives with meaning. Inspiring and story-driven, The Power of Meaning will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking a life that matters.
At the book's core is the question of how social power shapes and influences meaning and how the process of interpretation, whileimplicated in social forms of power, can nevertheless achievereflective distance and a critique of power. Translated by Paul Hendrickson. Exemplifying a fruitful fusion of French and German approaches to social theory, The Power of Dialogue transforms Habermas's version of critical theory into a new "critical hermeneutics" that builds on both Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics and Foucault's studies of power and discourse. Kögler argues for a middle way between Gadamer's concept of interpretation as dialogue (which has been faulted for its strong focus on the agent's own self-understanding) and Foucault's conceptualization of the structure of discourse and the practices of power (which has been faulted for neglecting the role of individual subjectivity and freedom in social interaction). At the book's core is the question of how social power shapes and influences meaning and how the process of interpretation, while implicated in social forms of power, can nevertheless achieve reflective distance and a critique of power. It offers an original perspective on such issues as the impact of prejudice and cultural background on scientific interpretation, the need to understand others without assimilating their otherness, and the "truth" of interpretation.
A new approach to introducing theology As God's self-communication to humans, Jesus is the key to the human search for meaning, argues Thomas West. He therefore introduces the practice of theology through Christology. From the question of personal meaning and self-constitution and their relationship to transcendent meaning and value, he proceeds to discuss the figure and import of Jesus and then the ethical imperative engendered through encounter with him. Fresh and clear, West's book is an invitation to grapple with one's religious commitments, especially in light of recent insights in biblical studies and Continental, feminist, and liberation theologies. This new text will prove an engaging and effective introduction to theological thinking for both undergraduates and Christian adults.
The national bestseller, now available in a non-illustrated, standard format paperback edition The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people--including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the “song of the universe, the music of the spheres.” With Bill Moyers, one of America’s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit. This extraordinary book reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture. An impeccable match of interviewer and subject, a timeless distillation of Campbell’s work, The Power of Myth continues to exert a profound influence on our culture. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"The symposium on Elsa Morante at which the essays contained in this volume were first presented took place on 11-12 April 2008 at the Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI) ... " -- Acknowledgments, p. [ix].
Reforging the Link to Foreign Policy-Making through Scientific Enquiry
Author: Fred Chernoff
Category: Political Science
This new study challenges how we think about international relations, presenting an analysis of current trends and insights into new directions. It shows how the discipline of international relations was created with a purpose of helping policy-makers to build a more peaceful and just world. However, many of the current trends, post-positivism, constructivism, reflectivism, and post-modernism share a conception of international theory that is inherently incapable of offering significant guidance to policy-makers. The Power of International Theory critically examines these approaches and offers a novel conventional-causal alternative that allows the reforging of a link between IR theory and policy-making. While recognizing the criticisms of earlier forms of positivism and behaviouralism, the book defends holistic testing of empirical principles, methodological pluralism, criteria for choosing the best theory, a notion of 'causality,' and a limited form of prediction, all of which are needed to guide policy-makers. This is an essential book for all students and scholars of international relations.
Positions the critical importance of 'calling' and a sense of purpose in achieving a full, productive, and contributory working life Provides a detailed and practical process for identifying the work we are meant to do in a step-by-step and spiritually-aware process
In The Power of Anology, Dieter Wanner argues for reinstating historical linguistics, especially in (morpho-)syntax, as constitutive of any theoretical account of language. In the first part, he provides a critique of some foundational concepts of an object-oriented linguistic perspective, questioning the distinction between synchrony and diachrony, dichotomous parametrization, grammaticality judgments, and formal generalization. Instead, the immanent perspective of the linguistic individual, licensed by broad cognitive functions, highlights such relegated dimensions as similarity, (surface) redundancy, frequency of form, and social and environmental conditions on language use. In the second part, Dieter Wanner relies on a systematic construct of analogy as the dynamic force enabling language, tying together acquisition, language use, and linguistic change. Such analogy is pervasive, driven by local models, and inevitably spreading through the social web of linguistic practice. The unpredictability, incompletion, and typical slowness of change thereby become the norm, while categorical closure remains a marked possibility. The framework of "Soft Syntax" spells out an operative model for syntax relying on precedence, cohesion, dependence, agreement, constructional identity, and concatenation. These six dimensions and their interplay undergo a detailed exploration of their diachronic operation and implications, applying them to typical examples taken from the history of the Romance languages. The openness of the framework enables diachronic linguistics to approach old problems in a new light and to ask new questions about the mechanics and nature of language change.
Global Inequalities of Economy, Technology, and Environment
Author: Alf Hornborg
Publisher: Rowman Altamira
Category: Social Science
Hornborg argues that we are caught in a collective illusion about the nature of modern technology that prevents us from imagining solutions to our economic and environmental crises other than technocratic fixes. He demonstrates how the power of the machine generates increasingly asymmetrical exchanges and distribution of resources and risks between distant populations and ecosystems, and thus an increasingly polarized world order. The author challenges us to reconceptualize the machine—'industrial technomass'—as a species of power and a problem of culture. He shows how economic anthropology has the tools to deconstruct the concepts of production, money capital, and market exchange, and to analyze capital accumulation as a problem at the very interface of the natural and social sciences. His analysis provides an alternative understanding of economic growth and technological development. Hornborg's work is essential for researchers in anthropology, human ecology, economics, political economy, world-systems theory, environmental justice, and science and technology studies. Find out more about the author at the Lund University, Sweden web site.
This volume focuses on the ways discourse is used in ritual performances as an important medium of power, enabling speakers/actors to construct, redefine and transform interpersonal relationships, cultural concepts and worldviews. The various case studies gathered here, from South Asia, South East Asia, Africa and South America, show that recent developments in linguistic anthropology, ritual theory and performance studies provide new conceptual tools to take a fresh look at these issues. The volume thus embraces both the micro level of speech activities as well as the macro level of social and political relationships and brings out the subtle workings of control, authority, and power in situations marked as ritual. Ulrich Demmer is assistant professor at the University of Munich (Germany). Martin Gaenszle is professor for Cultural History of South Asia at Vienna University (Austria).