Category: New Existentialists Posts

Grumpy girls, ghosts, granddad, and grief


Listening to the Gospel Sunday was a difficult experience. I had an adolescent girl on hormones. Concentration was made more challenging when my pubescent daughter began crying because her socks did not match her dress. Unlike Jesus, my daughter does not wear white, as it becomes an invitation for her clothes to be used as… Read more »

Seeking a friend for the end of the world: A review


Just in case you value such things, spoiler alert. Although what I have to say shouldn’t actually come as much of a surprise. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is an end-of-the-world movie in which the world actually ends. There are actually a number of complicated love stories in this romantic comedy… Read more »

Recovering the value of valuing people: Validating affirmation as the source of a meaningful existence


When I think about the most important and influential moments or experiences in my life I realize that most if not all share a core, underlying feature in terms of either an absence or presence of perceived value. The moments in which I have felt most fully alive are those in which I have directly… Read more »

Existential roundup

Welcome to the Existential Roundup, where we bring you links to some articles currently trending that may be of interest to those in the existential-humanistic psychology community. The New York Times article “When Grief Won’t Relent” discusses the difference between typical grief from the loss of a loved one and when it crosses the line… Read more »

I will always find you: The homing of human connection


In Chicago, as is usual for this time of year, winter’s clutch is still a tight fist. Yet, the blue of the sky is creeping into the jewel tones. This very morning I caught with deep satisfaction my first glimpse of a flock of wild geese arrowing unerringly and urgently northward toward their home, the… Read more »

Emotional distress and diagnosis: Word on the street


“Once you have that label it doesn’t stay at the clinic. You carry it with you for a long time.” “We need to encourage people to speak more public [sic] about the topic of mental illness and alternatives to medication and treatment.” “When I finally got labeled ‘depressed,’ I was relieved. It helped me deal… Read more »

Optimistic mortality, my own life, and Oliver Sacks


Today’s The New York Times bore out some sad news, at least to me. Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, announced he has terminal liver cancer (Sacks, 2015). In his announcement, he followed the lead of his favorite philosopher, David Hume, in the… Read more »

The existentialist explanation of lent or why Catholics don’t wash their faces on Ash Wednesday


Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the people, notify the congregation; Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast; Let the bridegroom quit his room and the bride her chamber. Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,… Read more »

Allan Combs and Stanley Krippner on Human Development


Developmental psychology, primarily the history of child psychology and education, broadened to include theories of the stages of life and the lifespan, acknowledges a linear concept of growth, omitting a nonlinear axis representing self-actualization, which can occur at any stage in one’s development. Self-actualization is a life-long process marked by existential insights in moment to… Read more »