My new book on the imagination

 I have published a new book, one that I collaborated on with Matt Ristuccia, an evangelical pastor in Princeton.  It’s called Imagination Redeemed:  Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind. 

The imagination often gets mystified these days with its association with the arts and creativity.  We get into those areas in the book, but we are trying to recover a much more basic understanding of the concept.  The imagination is simply the power of our minds to conjure up mental images.  When you use your memory to recall past experiences, when you make plans for the future by visualizing what you are going to do tomorrow, when you daydream, when you dream, when you fantasize, when your consciousness is just running on neutral, you are using your imagination.

There have been quite a lot of Christian reflection on the faculty of the mind known as reason.  Other mental powers such as the emotions and the will have gotten significant attention.  But there has not been that much lately on the imagination, which, arguably we use more than any of the other mental faculties.  Older theologians, however, from Augustine to Luther, did address the imagination, as we go into.  After the jump, I will explain some of  what this book gets into and has to offer. [Read more...]

Why non-conformists look the same

A mathematician took up the topic of hipsters.  Specifically, why different individuals who try not to conform to what is seen as normal end up looking and acting very much like each other.

After the jump, read the details, link to the math, and consider my thoughts on the matter, which offers a different account of non-conformists and sort of a defense of hipsters. [Read more...]

Panic

Americans are panicking over Ebola, and authorities are concerned not just to stem the disease but to stem the panic.  They are saying the chances of any of us actually dying of Ebola is microscopically low, that we are more likely to die of a shark attack, bee stings, or falling out of bed.  Alexandra Petri says that if that’s true, we need to panic over those other things too! [Read more...]

Why do people like to be scared?

Dr. Margee Kerr is a “scare specialist.”  In addition to college teaching, she is the staff sociologist at ScareHouse, a “haunted house” in Pittsburgh, which apparently consults her scientific expertise in designing effects that scare people.  The Atlantic interviews her on the question of why some people like to get scared. [Read more...]

Psychology experiments often can’t be replicated

There is currently what is being described as a “crisis” in the field of social/personality psychology.  It turns out, many psychological experiments, however heralded in the media and whose findings are made a big deal of, cannot be replicated by other researchers.  Is that due to fraud?  Statistical quirks? Or does it mean that psychology is not a science after all? [Read more...]

Our new insecurity

Terrorism, the shaky economy, and now ebola–these things make us feel insecure.  Chris Cillizza says that other items in the news–the Secret Service failures, the controversy over the Ferguson police, the rise of ISIL in Iraq despite our military’s prowess–adds a further level of insecurity, that those who are supposed to protect us can’t.  See what he says after the jump.  What do you think of his analysis? [Read more...]


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