William James

DEDICATION:  Episode EF9 is dedicated to William James, the so-called Father of American Psychology whose prolific work in the field of psychology was the result of, at least in part, his own personal emotional struggles. James hard work on untangling the emotional knot further helped us realize how much influence emotions have on our decisions. Emotions can cause chaos, but also greatness; sometimes, the value of the emotional ride is greater than the truth itself.

James began as a physician and later entered a medical school. After graduating, he suddenly decided not to pursue a career in medicine. Instead, he became a lecturer, initially of physiology and later moving to psychology. Already in his late forties, James published The Principles of Psychology and a decade later another great work, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

The road to William James becoming a name almost synonymous with American Psychology was likely not a pleasant one. Having constant troubles with illness and depression, it’s a small miracle that James managed to provide so much incredible work. Or perhaps it is because of those struggles and not in spite of them?


Episode EF9’s protagonist isn’t a scientist like James. But careful listeners might find the connection between an unstable emotional state and the hardship of flowing against the stream, as this is something both the fictional character and James have in common.

James left behind important cornerstone work for the development of American psychology. Make sure to check out his lecture on his concept of the Sick Soul: