Everyday Spirits

By David Appelbaum

Subjects: American Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791415849, 195 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791415832, 195 pages, July 1993

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



Part One Sindbad

1. Lullaby

2. The Blink

3. The Gift

4. Grip

5. Vows

6. Jack Frost

7. Daffodils

Part Two Eumaeus

8. Houseguests

9. Keys

10. The Kitchen Fire

11. The Wash

12. Money

13. Craft

14. New Year's Eve/The Feast

Part Three Siddhartha

15. The Hunter

16. Rivers/Ferries

17. Rope

18. Shadows

19. The Desert

20. Measure

21. The Bowl

Part Four Lao Tzu

22. Ink

23. The Laugh

24. Ladders

25. Wild Geese

26. The Frontier Guard

27. Wind

28. The Toast


Transformation of being begins exactly where one is. This is, for most of us, at home. We are acted upon by objects familiar to us, influenced in unfelt ways, and moved toward a destiny proper to a responsible being. Dwelling is complemented by journeying. To live in a home is to journey on the path that leads through the home to a world beyond. A householder becomes a traveler. A traveler is a seeker after new impressions, fresh impressions of a reality that beckons. Opening to the commonplace—what stands in front of us on the daily round—we are open to the call to respond to our role as mediator between heaven and earth. Everyday Spirits is a book about self-perception.

David Appelbaum is Professor of Philosophy at State University of New York, College at New Paltz. He is the author of Voice, also published by SUNY Press.


"Appelbaum is creating a whole arena of inquiry by bringing serious and beautiful metaphysical ideas into relationship with everyday life and things. In its quiet way, it is a pioneering work, potentially quite important. The freshness and combination of philosophy and poetry make it original, bold, and gentle." — Jacob Needleman

"This is a book of remarkable tenderness and depth. It explores through the usually unnoticed features of everyday life the core of human existence. Eloquent and wise, this is a work of excellence that is a pleasure to read.

"While most books are 10 percent original insight spread through 90 percent of other stuff, this book is more than 90 percent fresh illumination. The brilliance of such originality glows. It reads beautifully, like a poetic narrative, a gentle meditation, an inviting reverie." — Robert Ginsberg, The Pennsylvania State University