Friday, January 8, 2016

Old Friends

I can feel friendly, in a very personal and affectionate way, with Spinoza, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson, William James, Whitehead, etc., as if they still lived.  Which is to say that in specific ways they do still live.
                                                            Abraham Maslow, The Farthest Reaches of Human Nature

I first encountered the work of Abraham Maslow in a psychology class in my senior year in high school.  I was intrigued.  There was much in his work that I found insightful and helpful.  Maslow’s work was one reason I majored in psychology, along with philosophy, in college.
From time to time, I find myself going back to his work, and often find new insights.  Maslow’s comment on being friendly with persons from the past comes from an essay on “Various Meanings of Transcendence.”  In this section of his essay he was writing about the transcendence of time.  We can reach through time to connect with others through their writings, developing a friendship of a kind.
I know this kind of friendship.  I treasure my friends, the flesh and blood people with whom I can talk, in whom I can confide, with whom I can enjoy a conversation, an event, a meal.  I also treasure the friends I have made through their writings or their music.  They have challenged me to think more deeply, and to feel more deeply.  They have invited me see my life in new ways, and opened up new vistas in my relationship to God.
I am grateful for these friends, too, among whom I count Abraham Maslow.

With Faith and With Feathers,