New by David V. White

 

 Art, Science, Religion and Spirituality by David V. White

kirkus review

The main claim of this smart, sensitive look at the most significant human behaviors is fourfold but unified. In order to forge a valuable, rich existence, the author says, people should pay attention to works of art, scrutinize the scientific research of today and of ages past, gather what they can from the impulse that gives rise to religious traditions, and seek transformative experiences. These are heady prescriptions, but White ingeniously defends them and their effectiveness with an intelligence and sophistication not often found in the self-help genre. The book begins with a discussion of the value of art as a practice integrated into all of human life. He explores the centrality of metaphors and analogies not just to art, but to all human knowledge: people learn, he says, by comparing the known with the unknown. He then offers an adventurous interpretation of science and religion as branches of the pursuit of wisdom—a pursuit that’s often riddled with uncertainty. He looks at spirituality as a process, not as a fashionable accessory. The book is rich with quotations, from Francis Bacon and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to 20th-century scientists and philosophers, grounding its recommendations in careful, approachable readings of brilliant thinkers. It’s a masterful inquiry and proposal about how people ought to live that never comes off as pedantic or outlandish. In prose and playful dialogue between fictional characters, it urges readers to examine the most fundamental questions about what has value. In a striking thought experiment, for example, White asks readers to imagine members of a society that knows nothing about violins capturing a ship with a violin on it and studying it extensively, even “playing” it. What, he asks, makes something valuable for us—or good, desirable, or praiseworthy?


In his latest work, David V. White guides readers through an exploration of the “self” through the lens of four major fields of human knowledge and experience:

 

  • Engagement with Science
  • Creating and Experiencing Art
  • Following a Religious Tradition
  • Undertaking a Spiritual Journey

Humorist James Thurber advised, “All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.  This book explores the commonality between these four branches of the tree of life  and the guidance they each provide for a fulfilling and meaningful life.

 


 

Also by David V. White

 

OBFCoverForWebsite

kirkus review “A wide-ranging, well researched guide to examining what life’s all about.”  In his debut work, White, in an easy-to-read format, guides readers through issues that have perplexed and challenged him over the years—and that have troubled sages and other thinkers for centuries. He begins by addressing how people make the decisions, both major and mundane, that shape their lives; he then explores the forces that guide people’s determinations, such as culture, reason, intuition and mere whim, and discusses them all in depth. White goes on to ask how people know what reality truly is and introduces a wide variety of worldviews across the globe (and across time), showing that concepts of “truth” or “reality” can differ depending upon one’s time and place. The same is true of human values, the author writes, and he then addresses the larger question of where such values come from, examining biology as well as culture. Overall, he advocates keeping an open mind when discovering one’s own values, choices and telos, or purpose in life. The author’s depth of research is impressive, as he quotes and discusses writers and thinkers as diverse as Friedrich Nietzsche and Henry David Thoreau. Despite this erudite approach, however, White’s book functions more as a self-help guide than a pure work of philosophy. For example, he sometimes uses dialogues to further illustrate and enliven his arguments, setting up discussions between “Skeptico” and “Wisdom Seeker,” and he also adds “Thought Experiments” to help readers better understand the material. Some readers, especially those facing existential or mere midlife crises, will likely find White’s work thought-provoking.

“A fine introduction to exploring life’s biggest questions.”


 

If you have asked yourself questions like:
  • How should I Live?
  • On what shall I base my decisions?
  • What is truly important?

You will find On Being Human valuable in your personal quest, for it takes a broad, holistic view – exploring how psychology, art, science, religion, relationships, culture, mythology, philosophy, and the world¹s wisdom traditions are all involved in coming to terms with the full range of human emotions and possibilities. Including all, it leads toward their integration in living a fulfilled human life.

Reactions To On Being Human
When you read On Being Human you acquire a wise new friend who respects and cares for your well-being and is devoted to increasing your understanding of yourself and how to overcome life’s complexities. To clarify how we can make the best decisions for living, David combines the rational, emotional and spiritual dimensions in considering what makes life worthwhile. In reading this book you will gain much insight and feel dignified by what you have come to know.
—Phillip Moffitt, past editor-in-chief of Esquire Magazine and author of Dancing with Life and Emotional Chaos to Clarity
We get thrown into life, and end up in the most frustrating places! Why don’t they give us a road map for how to be a human being?” In my psychotherapy practice, this question arises often. In On Being Human: An Operator’s Manual David White tackles this very problem. He takes the big questions about what it is to be a human being and renders them into a language for today. Questions about how to live a fully expressed, moral, and rational life have been the domain of philosophers, theologians, poets and psychologist since the beginning of time. Gently, with humor, intelligence, and understanding, he takes the big questions down from the “Ivory Towers” of the wisdom traditions and translates them into this useful and very readable book.
—Bonnie L. Damron, PhD, LCSW, Archetypal Pattern Analyst
I have followed David White’s work for more than a decade, and have attended many of his lectures and participated in several discussion groups he has organized. What makes this book unique is that it presents a cohesive, wonderfully-crafted summary of more than thirty years of reading, introspection, and inner work. The book will be invaluable to those who are either beginning, or have already embarked on, a journey of self-discovery.
—Rafael C. Gonzalez, PhD, Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, The University of Tennessee, Author of the best-selling textbook, Digital Image Processing
David shares here his vast, comprehensive knowledge of wisdom traditions along with his own thoughts and humor, making An Operator’s Manual both a rich resource for living a meaningful life as well as a delight to read. When life throws you the hard, fast curve that makes you question why you are here and disrupts your game, On Being Human is the place to find a fix.
—Sue Painter, Blogger, Business Coach, and Founder of the Confident Marketer
If you’ve ever paused to ponder the meaning of your own life, this book is for you. From a rocking chair on his front porch, David White guides us on a romp across vast expanses of culture—philosophy, psychology, science, and the best that the wisdom traditions, both eastern and western, have to offer—always bringing it back home to this time…this place…this individual life.
—Ronda Redden Reitz, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Past President of the Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society

On Being Human  and Art, Science, Religion, Spirituality are published by Meaningful Life Books.