Human flourishing. The Greeks had a word for it: eudaimonia. We sometimes translate that as “happiness.” But happiness doesn’t capture what the Greeks meant by that term or what I mean. Too often happiness begins and ends for people with their feelings of elation or contentment. There is nothing wrong with that, but it limits happiness to emotional states.
The Greeks had a broader concept: Eudaimonia was a whole life lived well. That included, of course, one’s emotional life, but it went beyond that life to involve one’s intellectual life, cultural life, physical life, relational life, and spiritual life. After all, eudaimonia literally means “a good soul or spirit.” We don’t have to think of this in religious terms. “Soul” can mean “character”; “spirit” can mean “ardor” or “energy” or “fire.”
In any case, happiness here refers to all aspects of our lives. To be happy in this context means that we want to do well in those aspects. That is, we want to flourish in them. For me, a flourishing life must include thinking about and acting on politics, spirituality, education, community, morality, selfhood, and more. These topics and others will be what this blog is about.
Broadly speaking, the two areas of living that strongly influence and have influenced me are human empowerment and human potential. Virtually everything I write and think (virtually the same thing) about involves these two rubrics, and I subsume under them all those topics that I listed above.
So, welcome to my blog. Positive comments and constructive criticisms (those objections, emendations, and recommendations that I can actually do something with) are welcomed. All else will be ignored. Troll elsewhere!
WHO IS JACK CRITTENDEN?
For starters, I’m the creator of this blog.
Having taught for nearly 30 years, I am now professor emeritus in Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies. A political theorist by training and temperament, I focused my teaching and research on democratic theory and practice. I am the author of four books. The latest, due out in early 2019, is Direct Deliberative Democracy: How Citizens Can Rule, co-authored with Debi Campbell. Each of the books deals in some fashion with an historical and normative analysis of democratic ideas and institutions, and each offers recommendations for new forms of democracy, especially of democratic education, in the 21st century.
I continue to write about democracy, community, morality, and individualism, but I have also branched out into new areas of research–such as on states of consciousness and on science, spirituality, and psychology. All of this will constitute subjects for my blogs. For the curious, I have a book coming out, also in 2019, on these new areas of research: Stalking White Crows: How Evidence and Altered Consciousness Bring Better Living and Better Dying.
I received my formal degrees from Tufts, Harvard, and Oxford Universities and received my informal degree in “WTF!?” from the Electoral College in November 2016.
I am a founding member and currently on the Board of Directors of the Integral Institute (now known as Integral Life). I am also on the Board of Directors for the Windbridge Research Center.
Along with a group of former students (and now friends), I started a non-profit organization, the 3-D Politics Institute (3-dpolitics.com), which plots different ways that citizens can be engaged in making laws directly. Please visit and then immediately offer your services so that we can make it real, informative, and user-friendly.
I remain skeptical of most things, including biographical blurbs.