This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: atural." The ascetic ideal of renunciation is the dominant note in Buddhism and Christianity; fly from
the pleasures of this world, give up and renounce, for all is vanity and folly. To every struggler this seems true
when the battle is hardest, when achievement seems futile and empty, and when he whispers to himself,
"What is it all about, anyway?" To stop struggling, to desire only the plainest food, the plainest clothes, to live
without the needless multiplication of refinements, to work at something essential for daily bread, to stop
competing with one's neighbor in clothes, houses, ornaments, tastes,--it seems so pleasant and restful. But the
competition gets keener, the struggle harder, tastes multiply, yesterday's luxury is to-day's need--to what end?
Will mankind ever accept a modified asceticism as its goal? I think it will be forced to, but it may be that the
wish is father to the thought. Sometimes it seems as if the real crucifixion for every one of us is in our
contending desires and tastes, in the artificial competing standards that are mislabeled refinement. To be
finicky is to court anhedonia, and the joy of life is in robust tastes not easily offended and easily gratified.
Perhaps this is irrelevant in a chapter on play and recreation, but it is easily seen that much of play is a revolt
against refinement and taste, just as much as humor is directed against them. In play we allow ourselves to
shout, laugh aloud and to be unrefined; we welcome dirt and disorder; we forget clothes and manners; we are
"natural," i. e., unrefined. The higher we build our tastes the more we need play. If such a thing as a "state of
nature" could be reached, play and recreation in the adult sense would hardly more than exist. CHAPTER XVI.
RELIGIOUS CHARACTERS. DISHARMONY IN CHARACTER
I find in William James' "Varieties of Religious Experience", the following definition of religion: "Religion,
therefore, as I shall ask you arbitrarily to take it, shall mean for us the feelings, acts and experiences of
individuals in their solitude so far as they comprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may CHAPTER XVI. 1...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11