psychology

It is one of the many paradoxes of psychology that the pursuit of happiness defeats its own purpose. We find happiness only when we do not directly seek it. An analogy will make this clear. In listening to music at a concert, we experience pleasurable feelings only so long as our attention is directed towards the music. But if in order to increase our happiness we give all our attention to our subjective feeling of happiness, it vanishes. Nature contrives to make it impossible for anyone to attain happiness by turning into himself.

The Perennial Philosophy... the metaphysic that recognizes a divine reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with divine Reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of immanent and transcendent Ground of being.

Psychoanalysis has changed American psychology from a diagnostic to a therapeutic science, not because so many patients are cured by the psychoanalytic technique, but because of the new understanding of psychiatric patients it has given us, and the new and different concept of illness and health.

We need to get rid of some false meanings that we give to the words eternal and eternity. The psychological idea connected with eternal life cannot be limited to the view that man is changed into another state at death, merely by the act of dying. It would be far more correct to say that it refers, first of all, to some change that man is capable of undergoing now, in this life, and one that is connected with the attainment of unity. The modern term psychology means literally the science of the soul. But in former times there actually existed a science of the soul based upon the idea that man is an imperfect state but capable of reaching a further state... No totality-act is possible; the will is separate from knowledge, the feeling from intellect.

The business of psychology is to tell us what actually goes on in the mind. It cannot possibly tell us whether the beliefs are true or false.

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more for an unhappy but other wise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.

Our very psychology has been shaken to its foundation. To grasp the meaning of the world today we use a language created to express the world of yesterday. The life of the past seems to us nearer our true nature, but only for the reason that it is nearer our language.

History is taught with little regard to the ecology, the economics, the sociology or psychology - let alone the biology - that are necessary to understand human action. The same is true of all other academic subjects. Yet if we continue to teach physics separately from ethics, or molecular biology without concern for empathy, the chances of a monstrous evolutionary miscarriage are going to increase. To avoid these possibilities, it is imperative to begin thinking about a truly integrative, global education that takes seriously the actual interconnectedness of causes and effects.

There remains a chasm between truth and reality. And the crucial question which confronts us in psychology and other aspects of the science of man is precisely this chasm between what is abstractly true and what is existentially real for the given living person.

A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of “spirit” over matter.

It has become a conviction with me that psychology may in the long run do much to change the conception of the fundamental nature of the religious life, which, on the whole, is now too generally made a matter of doctrine. It is too intellectual At the doors of most churches one is met by required beliefs in a particular conception of God, in a speculative theory about the divinity of Christ, definite ideas concerning sin and salvation, the efficacy of ordinances, and the claims of supernatural revelation. What people are really seeking is access to refreshing fountains of life, sources of strength and guidance. They crave association with people and institutions which may convey to them a sense of what is most worthwhile in life and what may furnish impulsion toward real and enduring values. They know pretty well what those values are when allowed to let their own deepest desires express themselves.

Prayer is not a need but an ontological necessity, an act that expresses the very essence of man. Prayer is for human beings, by virtue of our being human. He who has never prayed is not fully human. Ontology, not psychology or sociology, explains prayer.

Psychoanalysis has changed American psychology from a diagnostic to a therapeutic science, not because so many patients are cured by the psychoanalytic technique, but because of the new understanding of psychiatric patients it has given us, and the new and different concept of illness and health.

There is a close connection between socio-political development, the struggle between social classes and the history of ideologies. In general, intellectual movements closely reflect the trends of economic developments. In communal society, where there are virtually no class divisions, man's productive activities on outlook and culture is less discernible. Account must be taken of the psychology of conflicting classes.

Realizing that our actions, feelings and behaviour are the result of our own images and beliefs gives us the level that psychology has always needed for changing personality.

Psychoanalysis arrived to save the human soul in a materialistic era sick with self-consciousness and threatened by loss of belief in immortality and in its public expression, religion. Its greatness resides in having done this in the mind-set of our era, not simply symbolizing the soul exoterically or concretizing it socially as in the past, but attempting to demonstrate it scientifically. But realistic psychology is the death knell of the soul, whose source, nature, and value lie precisely in the abstract, the unfathomable, and the esoteric.

The object of psychology is to give us a totally different idea of the things we know best.

The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.

For Posidonius, ouranos, heaven, offers the paradigm for man. The stars teach ethics. The individual who pursues his duties without emotional involvement in them and without the correlative expectation of results, who recognizes honesty as the good and the hallmark of the wise man, and who seeks to honour the higher daimon in himself discovers a fidelity within the soul which is both its overarching oikeiosis and its link to the World-Soul. He sees that the principles of physics can be translated into the laws of psychology from which are derived ethics and the rules of right conduct. Without wavering in his loyalty to the deepest insights of the Stoic tradition, Posidonius exemplified in his own life and thought the ability of the philosopher to penetrate afresh and more precisely the mystery of the kosmos and the less ordered realm in which human beings dwell. His fearlessness of method and the marriage of observation and abstract thought influenced the generations which came immediately after him, and inspired a number of thinkers in the dawn of the European Enlightenment. [paraphrased]

Sexual ecstasy usually arises among dyads, or groups of two, but the ritual ecstasy of primitives emerged within groups generally composed of thirty or more participants. Thanks to psychology and the psychological concerns of Western culture generally, we have a rich language for describing the emotions drawing one person to another--from the most fleeting sexual attraction, to ego-dissolving love, all the way to the destructive force of obsession. What we lack is any way of describing and understanding the love that may exist among dozens of people at a time; and it is this kind of love that is expressed in ecstatic ritual.