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William James

             1) When we read William James" views on healthy-mindedness, we are in reality reading about the "father" of the New Thought Movement that exists today. We hear some positive and equally negative opinions about it. However, if are to make a personal judgment about the philosophy of healthy mindedness, then we have to look further than to William James" The Varieties of Religious Experience which defines healthy-mindedness and also gives his viewpoints on it and from which we can make our own.
             To understand James, a general definition of healthy-mindedness is needed. From the readings, it seems that people who practice healthy minded religion are optimists who focus on the positive in life and de-emphasize the negative. One might even say their motto would be similar to a famous Chinese proverb, "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." James gives the name of "healthy-mindedness to the tendency which looks on all things and sees that they are good". The healthy-minded temperament has a "constitutional incapacity for prolonged suffering" and a "tendency to see things optimistically.in which the individual's character is set". Also according to James, the healthy-minded religious person "has a deep sense of the goodness of life and a soul of "sky-blue tint". Healthy-mindedness can be involuntary, just natural to someone, but often comes in more determined forms. Liberal Christianity, for example, represents the triumph of a resolute devotion to healthy-mindedness over a morbid "old hell-fire theology". .
             There are two types of healthy minded people, the simple and the complex, simple being people who are naturally and involuntarily optimistic and the complex who have to work at being optimistic. A person who is simply optimistic would be someone who is almost oblivious his and others sinfulness. James describes this as "In some individuals optimism may become quasi-pathological.

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