Esprit Rock

William James is said to be the Father of American Psychology and once I began reading about him I became engaged

William James is said to be the Father of American Psychology and once I began reading about him I became engaged. James was not the founder, but he began to lay the foundation for functional psychology. In my opinion he led an interesting life. Many believed he was the one of the most important people in psychology. There were also some people that looked at him unfavorably. Some of his colleagues looked at him unfavorably because “he maintained widely publicized interest in mental telepathy, clairvoyance, spiritualism, communication with the dead at seances and other mystical events” (131). One of his greatest contributions that you gave to psychology was a book he wrote called The Principles of Psychology. It took him 12 years to write it and when he finished he went on work in philosophy. The theories presented in The Principles of Psychology were profound, influential and went against Wundt’s theory of consciousness.
One of the concepts that James discussed in this book was the stream of consciousness. Wundt believed that psychology should focus on reducing the conscious experience down to its mental elements, but William James proposed that consciousness is a continuous stream. That it should not be broken down because they would take away from the entire experience itself. According to James there are 5 characteristics to thought: “personal consciousness, our thoughts are always changing, they are continuous, deals with objects outside of itself, and consciousness is selective” (137). Personal consciousness refers to our thoughts belonging only to ourselves. Our consciousness is dynamic, and we can never have the identical thought or feeling repeatedly because we have experiences that interfere. So, our conscious experiences build on each other. There is a flow of continuity, unless we are unconscious there are no major gaps. Another characteristic that he uses to describe thought is how our mind selectively chooses to focus on what we deem relevant. This “stream of consciousness” as James calls it, served a purpose to aid in our adaptation and that is why it we still have this function. I can apply this theory to my life because as an artist I have experience with the flowing process. I keep a little white board and marker on my nightstand because when I have an idea, I must write it down immediately or I will lose the thought. Or if I do remember it later, some pieces are missing. Sometimes I record my idea on the voice recorder app and listen to it later.
Another concept that James discussed in his book was the theory of “The Three-Part Self. James presented the idea that everyone is made up of the material self, the social self and spiritual self. The material self is composed of things that we take ownership over like the car we drive, the house we live in, the clothes we choose to wear. I found his thoughts on our preference of clothing thought-provoking. He stated, “we appropriate our clothes and identify ourselves with them” (139). As a mother, as a daughter, as a veteran of the U.S. Army, as a woman period this is how I view clothing. As I mother to a pre-teen I see my daughter becoming quite the fashionista at such a young age. One morning she came into kitchen and said she was ready for school and I told her she was missing some clothing because I could see her belly. As a veteran of the military I can recall the amount of time we spent on shining our boots, pressing our uniform and fitting our berets. When you put on that uniform you become that uniform, you represent everything that it stands for. I feel the same way about civilian clothes. I find it interesting that James
There is another theory that James had and that was the theory of “Habit”. I found this theory quite useful and applicable to the real world. A habit is a routine that one can settle into, and with repetition it becomes a learned behavior. This theory gives insight on how to maintain habits that are good for us and how to extinguish the ones that are negative. In the lecture it was noted that James stated, “we must take care to launch ourselves with as strong and decided an initiative as possible” (lecture notes 2). In Army basic training we were told that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I read on that later and found that it was not as clear cut as that however that is what they told us. The first habit that they forced us into was drinking a certain amount of water, at a certain time every day and night. We had hydration formation just for that purpose. It was a routine that we learned with frequency and repetition, until it became a norm for us. We had no choice but to immerse ourselves fully into this new habit. An example of extinguishing a negative habit is my father who quit smoking the day he said he would. He announced it and had no contact with any form of nicotine. He chose not to try patches or gum. He threw himself in fully until it was no longer a thought. That was 15 years ago, and he has not looked back. I did a Probodies 6-week Challenge recently and lost 25 pounds. For 6 weeks I had to set a timer to eat, schedule 4 work outs a week, and I had to change my entire diet. It was hard, I was used to eating whatever I wanted, not holding myself accountable. After the 3rd week my body had gotten used to the changes. It is indeed necessary to go all in if you are trying to form a beneficial habit or break a bad one. Why wait when you can start now.