Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Donna B.

Oh My. I'm afraid breadcrumbs would not be sufficient for me to find my way back if I delved into too many of those links he provides.


Oh come on. You can find connections between New Age and just about anything. Yes of course there are connections between Jung and the Nazis -- should we ignore all of Jung's insights because of that?

People are one thing, their ideas are another. New Age is a term that can mean all kinds of things, and because of its popularity has attracted all kinds of lunatics, as well as sober thinkers.

So someone has made a website dedicated to trashing New Age. You can trash anything at all by finding all of its connections and branches and showing how it isn't perfect.

It is NOT LOGICAL. There is so much of value in the ideas of Jung, and other so-called New Age philosophers.

We have several choices --
a) authoritarian adherence to some dogmatic religious tradition;
b) rejection of religion and mysticism in general and acceptance of scientific atheism; or we can
c) compare ideas from the sciences and various religious and mystical traditions, and draw our own tentative conclusions.

So if choice C is New Age, then I am New Age.

When I was taking in Jung's ideas I knew he had connections with the Nazis. I could have stopped benefiting from his insights just because of that connection, but that would be stupid.

I was only in my 30s then, and I decided that people and ideas are two very different things. If I like your idea, it doesn't matter who you are as a person. Your idea and you are not the same thing.

I decided that LOGIC, as imperfect and limited as it is, is our path to understanding. NOT following people. I can take some of your ideas and leave the rest. I can gather ideas from all and any sources and construct my own philosophy, which is always unfinished and in progress.

I have many disagreements with they typical current New-Ager. But the essence of New Age philosophy is its eclectic scientific mysticism -- and it MAKES SENSE.

Donna B.

"eclectic scientific mysticism"

I do not understand what you mean. How can mysticism be scientific?


"How can mysticism be scientific?"

The scientific method is a way of learning about nature. It is empirical, meaning that theories must be supported by actual observations. Mysticism is also a way of learning about nature, including human nature and the mind, and it can also be empirical (of course, mystical insights are much harder to share than scientific data).

William James was a well-known American scientist and philosopher, and he made that comparison between science and mysticism. He also said that mysticism is the essence of all the religions.

Now we have created divisions between science and religion, between science and mysticism, and between religion and mysticism. But the divisions are artificial and misleading.

Science has become dogmatic, promoting the philosophy of materialism. Religion continues to be dogmatic, promoting specific and arbitrary doctrines without evidence. Mysticism is berated as the lunacy of new-agers or right-wing born-again Christians.

I wish more Americans would read William James -- he was such an important influence on American thinking but is seldom even mentioned in contemporary education. He was one of the sane sources of New Age thinking.

Donna B.

Was it James who said "People think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices"?

or something close to that?


I don't know, Donna B., he said a lot of things. I just mentioned him as one example of a scientist who did not see mysticism as being separate from science. Of course there are many others, but our society has been increasing the separation. This is partly because of the radical atheist "skeptic" organizations, and partly because of dogmatic Christianity.

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