Harmony of Nature and Spirit: Of Meaning in Life

Harmony of Nature and Spirit: Of Meaning in Life

by Irving Singer
     
 

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"Irving Singer has many wise and instructive things to say about happiness and how we can get beyond suffering in life. His discussion of the love of life as contrasted with the love of love... is a profoundly important one. It is a gold mine for those who wish to better understand the intellectual foundations of the good life."--Marvin Kohl, The New School of

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Overview

"Irving Singer has many wise and instructive things to say about happiness and how we can get beyond suffering in life. His discussion of the love of life as contrasted with the love of love... is a profoundly important one. It is a gold mine for those who wish to better understand the intellectual foundations of the good life."--Marvin Kohl, The New School of Social Research

Preceded by The Creation of Value and The Pursuit of Love, this final book in Singer's Meaning in Life trilogy studies the interaction between nature and spirit, and examines the ways in which we may resolve our sense of being divided and thereby overcome the suffering in life. The Harmony of Nature and Spirit suggests that the accord between nature and spirit, and between meaning, happiness, and love, arises from an art of life that employs the same principles of imagination and idealization as those that exist in all artistic creativity. Living the good life is an art that seeks the harmonization of meaning with consummatory happiness. It is through the meaning created by imagination and idealization, Singer says, that happiness and the love of life become available to us.

"Rarely does one get a chance to see such a polished, mature, and humane piece of writing, all the rarer in philosophy. Long ago, philosophers would write sophisticated books for a general, literate audience. James's Varieties of Religious Experience or Santayana's Life of Reason come to mind. Singer's work stands in near isolation because it continues this tradition."--Thomas Alexander, Southern Illinois University

"The book's freshness, perceptiveness, and clarity make it worthwhile for educated lay readers andprofessionals alike."--Robert Hoffman, Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This third volume of Singer's trilogy Meaning in Life (Free Pr., 1991; the second volume is The Pursuit of Love, LJ 5/15/94) begins by rejecting Schopenhauer's belief that nature well-nigh precludes human happiness and by offering an alternative account of nature and our place in it. Pursuing an idea (stated in the earlier volumes) that our imagination makes ideals by which we create meaning, Singer contends that the aesthetic principles exemplified in art (freedom within conventional constraint; harmonious integration; consummatory experience) apply as well to life and, if realized, bring happiness. He then argues that both ethics and religion are based on aesthetic aspects of experience and concludes by analyzing love in terms of compassion, sympathy, and empathy. The book's freshness, perceptiveness, and clarity make it worthwhile for educated lay readers and professionals alike. For academic collections.Robert Hoffman, York Coll., CUNY
Booknews
Singer (philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) argues that separating nature and the life of the spirit not only precludes an understanding of how consciousness, awareness of value, and the pursuit of ideal possibilities originate in nature but also masks the discovery of how experience can be both meaningful and a source of happiness. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801854262
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
09/23/1996
Series:
Meaning in Life Ser.
Pages:
234
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.99(d)

Meet the Author

Irving Singer is professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His many books include Reality Transformed: Film as Meaning and Technique, The Goals of Human Sexuality, Mozart and Beethoven: The Concept of Love in Their Operas, Santayana's Aesthetics, and his acclaimed trilogies, The Nature of Love and Meaning in Life, the latter available from Johns Hopkins.

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