New Beginnings Therapy

1st April 2022 - The Art of Gifting - 

A Psychological Interpretation

The father of psychology - as a mainstream psychological science (Northern Hemisphere) was William James (1842 -1910) - many scholars and readers of psychology would also be aware that WJ was also recognised as a renowned philosopher for his many contributions to philosophical matters and specifically on religious aspects, with said* statements of agreement or disagreement. Many, seemingly prolific philosophers - i.e. Bertrand Russell (1946), had commented on James's importance*  to philosophical matter and output. Russell contends:


"William James was primarily a psychologist, but was important in philosophy on two accounts: he invented the doctrine which he called "radical empiricism", and he was one of the three protagonists of the theory called "pragmatism" or "instrumentalism". In later life he was, as he deserved to be, the recognised leader of American philosophy He was led by the study of medicine  to the consideration of psychology; his great book on the subject, published in 1890, had the highest possible, excellence. I shall not, however, deal with it , since it was a contribution to science rather than philosophy". Russsell, 1946, p.766.

And this latter blackened part of the affirmation and statement by Russell, I shall take a stance on: I mean, come on, really? Are you going to just pick and chose what it is preferable about a scholar? How is that ethical? How is that moral? Ahhhhhhh, let me think, yes, that is both. If Russell can only contend on matters of subject that he studied and can mentalise with James, it makes sense. Imagine now, how I personally felt - DR. Madalina A.I.Day after completing a psychology degree in its majority during an enculturation process, experiencing motherhood and going for gender, culture, sexuality and politics as a top up at postgraduate level in the UK. Like I did not have my pillow talk and my brain did not have sufficient adjustments; I had to go all the way and really deep, quite so deep that it penetrated and completely collapsed my (both)ear drums. I went for the personal touch on all issues that any human being can possibly face, extending to all political correct and incorrect adjustments - even if just talking with penguins in the  Antarctic and acknowledging a different similar breed in the Artic. I had to fight  against all humanly possible conceptions and misconceptions of what political correctness may be translated in penguin talk - that was one brilliant aspect of my experience (as W.James so acutely is pointing it out) at Birkbeck College, University of London 2006 to 2009. And so we grow, in time. I have became quite fond of polar bears including all other associations to their climate and life, thinking about just developing smoothly, until I realised that hope can migrate. Not the actual climate change or animals affected, but hope. I mean, I have read substantial studies on pigeons, gorillas and llamas, and concluded that humanity may have a chance - if we could just  - as humans - make it possible to move gorillas to the Black Forest in England, Penguins from South to North Pole ( bringing the Galapagos species and facilitating easy access to water -  that would make me very hopeful), and the other way around and Llamas - well, pretty much anywhere because I just adore the sight of it and I think it as a very very very resilient species. So why don't we try that? I mean the Russians and the Americans don't always agree on their electric Tesla programmes? 

Right? No... Yes.... Maybe...And yet, they are all happy bunnies astronauts together in space. Why would such coexistence and harmony should go all the way to Mars to coexist? I know, most recently, Ukraine feels like a different planet with all other self-identified planets surrounding trying to help. Why would the geopolitical makeup stop to Earth? Imagine if we are now delimiting Galaxies. I want my Milky Way share of coat. What is it that Zelensky recently suggested?1% of all the West's potential armor? OK, well I am going for the whole of 50% of Milky Way spot on visual intellectual property. And now, that I am thinking about it, I want a fair share of my 8/ are we still 8 billions after Covid? No, I want my  share from the sixth billion share of space all around the Earth and up to and including 1000000millions of light years of catapulting myslef or just the privillege of observing others. Yes, OK. Now we have the real deal.

 I know is the 1st of April and you may think me as a fool, but if I am one, what about Russell? What the fig he had in mind to propose James as an electoral philosopher? The irony of all is that Russell referred to James as an empiricist - seriously, that means science - EMPIRICISM - EMPIRICAL - SCIENCE OF PROOF. No further need for me to use capital letters on that one; anything with ism at the end is science of  - in Latin that is logos, principle of reason and judgment. Russell meant well, but not by James's alone standpoint - maybe James was an ally, but maybe not. I have some ideas as to either or...Importantly to note that Russell is a great human gift giver - and that is what this article it is all about. James is an exquisite gift giver, too. Russell branded James as a philosopher acknowledging his contributions to science and albeit Russell could not comment on such extensive scholarily matters, Russell appropriated James to his clan (philosophers) - a gift - it was and still is a gift. A validation. I could turn around to my loved ones, and say:" I do not respect or rather, I do not understand your opinions on many matters, but we have a common point (i.e. Russell-James Philosophy) and I do recognise you and validate you as worthy, therefore, I shall not care that scientifically you may disagree on my very existence. 

And so that is the ART OF GIFTING - PSYCHOLOGICALLY SPEAKING - don't we all have someone around us that their birthday are coming up and if we are not present at their surprise party ( well announced to them in advance with a minimum of 30 days, sometimes), we tell them at the office how youthful they look and buy them coffee/tea on their next round of office politics or at least we remark on a retrieval of dark circles from underneath their desktops screen life?  If we are courageous enough, we can mention our holidays for next six months and when they may be at a loss with the rest of us gone, temporarily and unattached, we can assure them that "we shall be back". 

Of course, if remote work is in situ, and by now, with COVID-19 - we will just email a round of brief  emails saying:

"there is that time to take time out - returning Tuesday80 at sixteen hundred hours after rejuvenating self-esteem" - their (yours) and ours - who cares!? - we can leave comprehension out on that one - both may work!

The art of gifting is massive, colossal and irreplaceable: one can make the most of such moments to self-validate, validate others (significant or not), and  re/assess their life-work balance context. 

And this next sentence is my favorite one starting with if

"If applied accordingly, it is both selfish and selfless to act on such manner and gift even if just a recognition to belonging to a school of thought or to a stance that in our (humble) perspective is for the good of all"

Russell is that master of gifting, gifting a recognition of James as a philosopher - but he is equally selfless and selfish - in his appraisal and that signifies what gifting truly means as an act of validation/admiration.


Russell, B., (1946). History of Western Philosophy. London: Routledge.