Cover image for Rediscovery of awe : splendor, mystery, and the fluid center of life
Rediscovery of awe : splendor, mystery, and the fluid center of life
Schneider, Kirk J.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
St. Paul, Minn. : Paragon House, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvii, 205 pages ; 23 cm
The quest for a comprehensive psychology -- The fluid center in personality and development -- Toward a social fluid center -- Toward an awe-based work policy -- A return to basics : awe-based education -- Tragedy and its ambiguities : awe and its paradoxes -- Struggle : the forgotten teacher -- Between anarchy and dogma : toward a faith in the inscrutable -- From spirit to society -- Glimmerings : enchanted agnosticism and the future.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF575.A9 S36 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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At a time when two dominant worldviews--nihilistic relativism and dogmatic fundamentalism--threaten to tear our world asunder, Rediscovery of Awe offers a timely and restorative alternative. It weds faith to doubt, and the depth and pathos of religiousity to the openness and discernment of science.As Schneider says in his introduction: "The starting point of consciousness is awe. We humans first experience the world (cosmos) as overwhelming. From the moment we are aware, we are aware of our meagerness. From the moment we reflect on the world, we sense how hopeless, helpless, and vulnerable we are. And yet, close on the heels of this shuddering despair is a riveting sense of possibility."We are thrilled, enthralled, and exalted by our condition as much as it overpowers us. There are many problems with conventional maxims of balance. The conventional 'center' is a rather dull and static one and not at all what I have in mind with my notion of a 'fluid center'. What, then, do I have in mind, and how are we to cultivate it in this atrophied world? We will explore these questions over a broad range of psychological domains-from personality to psychotherapy and from society to religion and spirituality."

Author Notes

Kirk J. Schneider is an adjunct faculty member at Saybrook Graduate School, president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This book by prominent psychologist Schneider comes armed with impressive accolades from the likes of Michael Lerner (of the bimonthly journal Tikkun) and Matthew Fox (Original Blessing). Schneider asserts that personal health and the future of our society will entail embracing wonder and risk, not fixity or narrowness of belief. The result of our reform will be what he calls "enchanted agnosticism." Readers will find that Schneider's views owe something to those of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rollo May (a sometime collaborator), and R.D. Laing. His uplifting vision stands in very good and convincingly interfaith company. Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Backgroundp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Part I What Has Been Lost and How It Can Be Recovered
1 The Quest for a Comprehensive Psychologyp. 3
Toward an Awe-Based Psychologyp. 7
The Fluid Center: A Definitionp. 10
2 The Fluid Center in Personality and Developmentp. 13
Roots, Routes, and Patternsp. 15
Spirals of Developmentp. 21
Storm at the Center: Life-Transformation in a Typical American Childp. 25
Break in the Spiral/Tear in the Fabricp. 29
The Kinship with Classic Horrorp. 32
Witnesses to Woundingp. 39
Grapplers with Groundlessnessp. 46
Does Vivacity Require Trauma?p. 48
Summary of the Fluid Center Developmental Positionp. 54
Part II Visions of Recovery: Social, Vocational, and Educational
3 Toward a Social Fluid Centerp. 59
Templatesp. 62
The Spirit of Carnivalp. 62
The Structure of Carnivalp. 64
Conditions for a Social Fluid Centerp. 66
4 Toward an Awe-Based Work Policyp. 75
Possible Scenariosp. 77
Practical Aspectsp. 81
Social Gainsp. 83
5 A Return to Basics: Awe-Based Educationp. 87
6 Tragedy and Its Ambiguities: Awe and Its Paradoxesp. 111
Hidden Treasures of "Horror": Classic Horror as Awe-Based Illuminationp. 115
Tragic Optimism and the Poignancy of Real Lifep. 128
7 Struggle: The Forgotten Teacherp. 133
Depth Therapy as Social Visionp. 133
Depth Therapy and Why it is so Needed Todayp. 135
Transhumanism and the Transhumanist Threatp. 138
Part III The Fluid Center of Faith
8 Between Anarchy and Dogma: Toward a Faith in the Inscrutablep. 143
Sub Specie Aeternae and the Capacity to be Movedp. 147
The Temptation to Partialize (A Human Predicament)p. 155
The Present Challenges of Faith: Magnificence, Mystery, and Responsibilityp. 159
9 From Spirit to Societyp. 163
Faith in the Inscrutable as a Present Taskp. 167
The Ethical Taskp. 169
10 Glimmerings: Enchanted Agnosticism and the Futurep. 175
Codap. 179
Notesp. 181
Indexp. 201