William James on living life as if it mattered

There’s an anecdote about William James, visiting his brother Henry James, in Rye in Sussex. The village was something of a writers’ retreat — HG Wells, Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Crane, Ford Madox Ford, and Rebecca West would all spend time there. That weekend, GK Chesterton was staying in the inn next to Henry’s house. William, in his 60s, is overwhelmed by curiosity to catch a sight of this…