Psychology

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.

In the same decade in which writers are discovering the emotional importance of childhood and are unmasking the devastating consequences of the way power is secretly exercised under the disguise of child-rearing, students of psychology are spending four years at the universities learning to regard human beings as machines in order to gain a better understanding of how they function. When we consider how much time and energy is devoted during these best years to wasting the last opportunities of adolescence and to suppressing, by means of the intellectual disciplines, the feelings that emerge with particular force at this age, then it is no wonder that the people who have made this sacrifice victimize their patients and clients in turn, treating them as mere objects of knowledge instead of as autonomous, creative beings. There are some authors of so-called objective, scientific publications in the field of psychology who remind me of the officer in Kafka's Penal Colony in their zeal and their consistent self-destructiveness. In the unsuspecting, trusting attitude of Kafka's convicted prisoner, on the other hand, we can see the students of today who are so eager to believe that the only thing that counts in their four years of study is their academic performance and that human commitment is not required.

I hate crowds and making speeches. I hate facing cameras and having to answer to a crossfire of questions. Why popular fancy should seize upon me, a scientist, dealing in abstract things and happy if left alone, is a manifestation of mass psychology that is beyond me.

Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic.

There will come a time when the proper education of children, by a glorified system of spontaneous education of choice, similar to the Montessori System, will be made possible… Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic.

I am embarrassed to admit what drew me to psychology. I didn't want to go to medical school. I was getting good grades in psychology and I was charismatic and people in the psychology department liked me. It was as low a level as that.

Human psychology has a near universal tendency to let belief be colored by desire.

I doubt that religion can survive deep understanding. The shallows are its natural habitat. Cranks and fundamentalists are too often victimized as scapegoats for religion in general. It is only quite recently that Christianity reinvented itself in non-fundamentalist guise, and Islam has yet to do so (see Ibn Warraq's excellent book, Why I am not a Muslim). Moonies and scientologists get a bad press, but they just haven't been around as long as the accepted religions. Theology is a respectable discipline when it studies such subjects as moral philosophy, the psychology of religious belief and, above all, biblical history and literature. Like Bertie Wooster, my knowledge of the Bible is above average. I seem to know Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon almost by heart. I think that the Bible as literature should be a compulsory part of the national curriculum - you can't understand English literature and culture without it. But insofar as theology studies the nature of the divine, it will earn the right to be taken seriously when it provides the slightest, smallest smidgen of a reason for believing in the existence of the divine. Meanwhile, we should devote as much time to studying serious theology as we devote to studying serious fairies and serious unicorns.

As Robert Coles says, psychology in this instance means a concentration, persistent if not feverish, upon one's thoughts, feelings, wishes, worries, bordering on if not embracing solipsism-the self as the only or main form of reality. To the point where, in the book, we speak of ontological individualism. That is, the self is the only real thing in the world. I am real. All of you are more or less fictitious. I know what I feel but I don't know for sure what you feel.

We could talk further about the importance of finding an occupation that both gives you a sense of self-respect and provides the resources to live an autonomous life. We talk in Habits of the Heart, about these issues-how for many Americans, at various levels in the occupational hierarchy, the job somehow doesn't prove adequate in fulfilling one's autonomous self and often becomes a means-an instrument-to the acquisition of those resources which will allow one to live in a private lifestyle that will somehow fulfill this expectation that we will find this unique person-who we really are-and attain self-realization, self-fulfillment, happiness. The terms are several but they all point in the same direction. But when we press the question, "What are the criteria that tell us what happiness is or that define the wants that when they are satisfied will lead to self-realization?", then the confident tones that we have been hearing begin to falter. And instead of any clear notion of any content there is simply the reassertion of "Whatever for you that fulfillment or happiness may be." It is not surprising that Americans turn to psychology as the place that is focused on that inner self.

One of the principles of spiritual psychology is that "healing is the application of loving to the parts inside that hurt."

If ever there was a way to transform a life of quiet desperation into a life of effective peaceful living, healing inner hurts surely ranks right up there. As you resolve issues, you stand up in who you truly are and find purpose and meaning in sharing your unique contribution.

The more issues you resolve, the more you evolve spiritually, the more peaceful and caring you become, and the more you contribute to the evolution of consciousness of the human species. As we say at USM, "Every time one person resolves one issue, all of humanity evolves."

Meaning is a natural and automatic by-product of a life filled with acts of love. If you want to live a life filled with meaning, start expressing from your essential loving nature. Start singing your song.

The occultist sees in the man of today a being in the full swing of evolution. Man is at the same time a fallen God and a God in the becoming.

A mental act is cognitive only in the sense that it takes place in reference to some object, which is said to be known.

Practical acts are such as, through the medium of our bodily movements, alter the object or its relation to ourselves or to other subjects.

The difference in the perceiving of a star and a tree is a variation in some intrinsic character which belongs to conation as such.

By abolishing private property one takes away the human love of aggression.