The ‘Doomsday Clock’ and the Midnight Transition

It is still three minutes to midnight,” the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists wrote… announcing an update to its famous Doomsday Clock, whose estimate of the risk of global catastrophe has been ticking back and forth since 1947… The time has not changed since 2015, however, when the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board last moved the minute hand, from 11:55 to 11:57. As the Bulletin’s somber, sometimes scathing public letter makes clear, that is not cause for celebration.” — The Christian Science Monitor.

In my recent post on the ‘Anthropocene Epoch‘, I tried to bring into relief a few ideas that point to the causes, effects, and purposes of the shift in values taking place today. They’re not simple; they represent fundamental changes in the way we’ve traditionally seen ourselves and the world.

I’ve quoted Jung, Neumann, and Wylie extensively in my attempts to accent the importance of tackling this transition with a mindset that inspects itself: one of the first steps in dissolving the projections that find our rational, outer-directed thinking increasingly unsustainable. Their ideas are well known; but here I’ll relate some of what I understand of them through the preface of my book:

Beneath our scientific preoccupations, we remain in the stage of psychological awareness reflected in our religious heritage. Behind the curtain of moral judgment lurk the split figures of good and evil: a model of how we relate to our unconscious natures. Jung has described how those ideas reflect the positive and negative poles necessary to produce psychic energy: the sliding scale along which consciousness fluctuates in its on-going efforts to define itself. Just as it forms the path of collective history, so in the growth of the individual… the repression of the unconscious required for ego to strengthen and develop now creates circumstances which signal the need for a new relation to it — to balance conscious direction; to relate it, make it relative to the counter-pole of inner development.

The inner counter-pole is a function of relation, not just in the religious sense of self-reflection and introspection, but for the individual to impact the world with creative reflections the group does not possess. This, as Jung has shown, is vital to understanding the unconscious demands that set the stage for changes in consciousness. Here, as stated in the preface, is a brief synopsis of the major themes in my book:

The Human Animal

Civilization is a comparatively recent product when weighed against the immense stretch of time required for consciousness to emerge from the depths of instinctual nature. The beast tokens our animal ancestry, and the eons-long climb through the darkness of pre-history yet finds it just below the threshold of culture. As a symbol, it relates not only to our biological heritage through the body and its functions but to our sense of individuality, as it is through our bodies that we first experience ourselves as distinct and separate from others….

Nature and the Unconscious

This theme revolves around the image of the earth as a natural symbol of the unconscious. The earth and sun are the sources of all known life, suitable metaphors for the masculine and feminine forces which conceive it. Jung and Neumann have demonstrated that artifacts and symbols dating back to pre-patriarchal cultures intimately associate masculinity with light and consciousness, just as feminine images are associated with unconscious darkness and fertility: the earthly and the feminine, the creative matrix which bears and fosters the child of consciousness. Symbolically, masculinity refers to the heady principles of thought, the organizing of consciousness; the feminine principle dissolves separate tendencies to form emotional and physical relationships – properties of the soul…

Ego and Intellect

The identification of ego with intellect contributes to this problematic conception of nature. It long slumbered in Christian theology as identification with an otherworldly God and a disdain for natural life: an image of self-rejection – one of the reasons guilt weighs so heavily in traditional religious ideas. Both are compounded through this identity, the idea of a Deity now yielding to science as it dissolves the metaphysical projections. For all our rational knowledge, we remain driven by the repressed “natural man” who serves the sensual world of material desire – just as he did many thousands of years ago. He personifies the unconscious need for a wider psychological perspective than just an intellectual one – and the internal guilt we never came to terms with because we never understood the reasons for it…

Causality and Purpose

The causal thinking which orients our perception is opposed to the heavy, symbolic language of the unconscious. The one leads backward in time to a cause that produces effects, and the other leads forward to a purpose or goal without conceiving a cause. As a concept, the latter allows the thoughts, feelings, and intuitions evoked by images and symbols to shape themselves; to relate their associations to the pursuit of aims beyond conscious preconception…

Religious Images

Because it consists of a living history of our mental functioning, Jung wrote that any serious inquiry into the unconscious leads straight into the religious problem. This theme fully emerges in the second part of the book. As the poem proceeds, the intuitive side of religious ideas is explored. Job was the older anticipation of the individual who confronts the collective background to discover his or her own way; in so doing, a dialogue is entered into with the unconscious…

Alchemy

Jung’s devotion to the study of alchemy was an attempt to illustrate it as a connective stage between our historical religious outlook and the emerging scientific one. Alchemy was the intermediate form of the two views that later diverged. Like those of theology, alchemical ideas were psychic projections, though less collectively developed and therefore more expressive of natural tendencies…

Visit Amazon for a general description of my book. See, also, this post for an example of the poetry.

(Note: the themes described under the headings contain only the first paragraph of elaboration.)

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World in Transition

A major shift in perspective accompanies today’s fast-paced super-highways of information. Jung’s and Neumann’s comparative studies of consciousness revealed patterns — evolutionary swings in its focus throughout history. They saw such shifts as reflections of unconscious organizing and centering functions. Their purpose is to re-orient us at certain critical stages to the more diffuse aims of spiritual and psychological development. Until recently, those aims were the province of religion and philosophy. That has changed. The beginning of the new stage is marked by a revolutionary discovery in the trend toward objective inquiry: the old metaphysical images proved to be the symbolic language of an unconscious psyche.” — A Mid-Life Perspective: Conversations With The Unconscious.

As much of my effort concerns what I see as the increasing relevance of Jung’s work, this quote from the preface of my book is a continuation of my last post on the cultural changes taking place today. While it’s important to reflect on their origins and effects, this often reinforces the causal thought that only drags us further into the rut of conscious reasoning responsible for an increasing unconscious opposition — the more threatening the more we depend on it. Few took note in 1954 when Erich Neumann wrote:

Typical and symptomatic of this transitional phenomenon is the state of affairs in America, though the same holds good for practically the whole Western hemisphere… The grotesque fact that murderers, brigands, thieves, forgers, tyrants, and swindlers, in a guise that deceives nobody, have seized control of collective life is characteristic of our time. Their unscrupulousness and double-dealing are recognized — and admired. Their ruthless energy they obtain at best from some stray archetypal content that has got them in its power. The dynamism of a possessed personality is accordingly very great, because in its one-track primitivity, it suffers none of the differentiations which make men human.

A scant generation later, the dire conditions of WWII the New Science created but was also expected to save us from finds us in the wake of effects which threaten in different ways than the old ideological perspective of good vs. evil. That view is gradually giving way to a new stage of psychological awareness. The consciousness of today is more diverse and complex than ideological absloutes can sustain. Neumann:

Not only power, money, and lust, but religion, art, and politics as exclusive determinants in the form of parties, sects, movements, and “isms” of every description take possession of the masses and destroy the individual.

What “takes possession of the masses” is an expression of human need, though in unconscious forms so undefined and inarticulate that good and evil no longer express life as we once conceived it. The understanding of symbols, however — because they’re also individual and express personal needs — is relative to subjective interpretation (as if no one ever knew what religious thought was for). I stated in the preface to my book:

Our ideas of religion are changing, and there is no return to the old ways. Deep in the throes of unseen psychic forces, consciousness is being pushed in a new direction. The possibilities for further development hidden in the older ideas require a re-interpretation of the peculiar language of the depth from which they spring and the symbols it produces.

Not only are they changing in the West, but in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, too. It’s not really remarkable that Neumann’s observations on the greed and opportunism which for centuries defined the unconscious opposite beneath Christian ideals have finally become apparent to the rest of the world.

Beyond politics — the subjective clash of “isms” reflecting the opposed nature of unconscious regulating processes — what are the unseen forces pushing conflict in the Middle East? Radical extremism is a new awareness, not of its own religious history, but of the West and its exaggerated moral superiority; the underside of its professed principles: negative projections which bind opposed yet inter-penetrating ideas of progression and regression into mutual conflicts. But, the unconscious intent is to destroy such attitudes as repress its creative aims. When projected, they’re lived concretely.

The purposes revealed in the current forms of ideological idolatry can’t be seen through the lens of ego, reason, and belief. Listen to the “rational” solutions today’s leaders offer: they lead only deeper into conflict. The reasoning hasn’t changed — only the consequences.

Conscious focus on objectivity cannot reason itself out of its subjective prison without a sense of purpose beyond temporal desire. Whether some see progress only through a single aspect of their personalities or are completely consumed by spiritual regression makes little difference. The fact is: all will be drawn into the conflicts for their own material investments in them: the nature of a global consumerism. History attests its primitive collective nature.

I quoted Philip Wylie in my last post: “It is the individual of whom the mass is composed, and if he is of poor character, the group will have that quality… The individual represents the whole. To be changed, he must change himself.”

For a literary example of how one begins the psychological process of coming to terms with the unconscious, visit Amazon.

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The Anthropocentric Effect

“Overwhelming evidence found by an international team of scientists have shown that humans have altered the Earth to the point that the Earth has entered a new geological time period, a press release by the Australian National University (ANU) said on Friday… The exact starting date of the Anthropocene remains uncertain, although it is likely to be around the middle of the 20th century, at the start of the nuclear age and a time of accelerating population growth and rapid industrialisation.”  (Read here.)

The story of the momentous shift in human consciousness taking place today continues to unfold in every facet of modern life. Whether we trace its roots to such ideas as the divine gift of earthly dominion or the psychology of in-fear-irority which drove the violent physical conflicts of our ancestors to master each other and the environment, the most consistent core, cause, and calamity of human history can be summed up in one word: vanity.

There’s no doubt it was a powerful and effective compensation for an animal whose only real natural defense was the capacity to think creatively, to organize that thought and to act collectively. Without claw, fang, or physical prowess the only compensation Nature provided to balance a natural world with the new subjective experiment can also be summed up in one word: conscience.

Moral reflection is as fundamental to the spiritual imperative as the vanity which twisted our history into its present state — the fate of every collective ideal since Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s fate. This is the same theme as Jung’s dream of the turd which shattered the church: a symbol of the rejected function; what ego sees as waste and disgusting. (See also my post on the black dot.)

This wasted symbolic function, which is designed to recycle old forms into new life, is now excreted in such concrete and consuming mass that it collects on our shorelines by the tons, poisons our air and water — even circles our planet like a swarm of biblical locusts. Reflection is painful; it’s the psychological equivalent of the brute physical conditions of a natural world. Our present fate hangs on our ability to confront this strange, new psychological realm. It’s the opposite of the one we fancy we’ve achieved:

So, he is an evil animal, turning reason into the admiring mirror, instead of admiring reason. His nations take on the whole appearance of logic — with courts and laws and constitutions and high principles: then the collective ego — the instinct vanity makes blind — takes their helm and the most elevated and noble nations make a daily business of such things as the lowest huddle of savages  would shun or kill a man for.

So wrote Philip Wylie in 1947. Many may sense the contradictions, though more often than not they appear everywhere but in ourselves. Yet, we are the parts that make up the whole:

So, with Everyman’s ego… First, the layer of familial vanities — the false pride of his homes and parents. Next, the vanities of his school, his clubs, and lodges. Always, the vanities of his church and nation. He incorporates them. He calls them his faiths, his convictions, loyalties, friendships, codes, beliefs, and the noble appurtenances of his soul. They are logical to him and just. He is the court and the interpreter. They are his shining armor. (What  a way to meet subjective life, in armor!) They are his weapons, too — the weapons of his righteousness…”

Thus life appeared in the mid-twentieth century. Its essence is still there, but each small pride is today becoming smaller and more diverse. The provincial fealties uniting a country half the population of today are breaking down, not just under the influence of technology in an increasingly interconnected global community but under an increasing subjectivity which signals a new stage of consciousness. Wylie saw it coming:

The conscience is there and will always be. The reason is there. But they are not allied, in the man or his state or his church. Instead, because of temporal regard, of vanity, there always seems to be… a special condition, which appears to give leave… (backed by a myriad of private motives) to compromise some measure with principle…. Yet, one exists for the other — or the older for the newer — conscience for reason. To use the latter in any form limited by the ego is to set in motion, through conscience, and through instinct, the opposite danger.”

That the new emphasis on objectivity and science is a compensation for an unconscious increase in subjectivity is not considered by either the sciences or the religions. Those in whom we entrust our futures, the politicians, are the nearest examples of the “greed and opportunism” (Wylie’s words) with which this new subjective ego-stage replaces the collective values of the past:

A world made to seem great by a few centuries of objective reasoning approaches, for want of equal subjective honesty, a state of uninhabitability — not just from wars, from bombs, from deliberate plagues, or from the disastrous sequelae of wars — but from its own psychological conditions… It is the individual of whom the mass is composed, and if he is of poor character, the group will have that quality… The individual represents the whole. To be changed, he must change himself.”

This uncertain subjective realm is a symbolic one; yet we make, with everything in our power, concrete realities of it. To confront it requires introspection and a re-evaluation of everything we’ve been taught. My book (see also, Amazon) is just one small example of the way an individual begins to examine what we are.

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Ego, Reason, and the New Faith

“This is a world not of sciences, but of religions… And it is a peculiarity of most religions — indeed, a general condition of faith itself — that those who believe in one eschew all others, regard their God or their gods as the true divinity, and their system of conduct as alone irreproachable. Thus the heart of religions… consists of a superior intellectual posture, an absolute intolerance.” — Philip Wylie, An Essay on Morals, 1947.

A funny thing happened as I wrote this. In my previous two posts about Wylie’s thoughts on Jung’s work, I wrote that his book was published in 1954. I’ve since emended it, but I wondered how it happened — the central theme of the book: ego. My identification with the ideas transposed the copyright date into the year I was born.

It’s a little thing, but little things constitute big things. Jung wrote about the subjective viewpoint: ”The difference in the case of a single apperception may, of course, be very delicate, but in the total psychic economy it makes itself felt in the highest degree, particularly in the effect it has on the ego.” Such subtleties may be reserved for the psychologist, though most educated people have an idea of the effects ego has on the practice of religion. Wylie:

Through its mechanism, such passion as man has for the truth, his earnest wish to be right, and his desire to excel among his fellow men lie open to perpetual exploitation while his laziness, his irresponsibleness, and his will to conform shape him for the most accessible religion or for that religion most convenient to the nature of his personality, whatever it may be. Fear is, moreover, the father and mother of every religion and of all the gods — their offspring, intellectual stupidity.

We have a different historical perspective today. The Church has lost its grip on collective life, and Wylie foresaw what the atomic age would bring:

For half a century, and until the present crisis, the articulate intellect of the West has been satisfied that the Grail will be found by the scientific method. This “method,” according to the commonest tenet, has already demonstrated that man is a chemical mechanism and thereby has shown that he has chemical needs (i.e., that man is “economic man”); it now merely remains for the physical truths of the universe to be exposed for the judgment and action of a creature that is basically reasonable, dependable and good. World happiness will ensue.”

Though Wylie never expressly referred to the development of intellect and of science as the historical emergence of the individual — the subjective factor – he aptly described it:

These assumptions represent a new Faith… but their subscribers… have found no means to associate insight with their own credulity. They have masterminded as much of the world as they could get their hands on. They are… the authors of the long, tedious cult of Realism. They have shown that religion is silly… the church an abomination. But… their disillusionments have been so numerous, so shattering, that their very behavior suggests they never had in mind a Principle but only a host of Sentiments mixed with a body of different little dogmas.

When, as in Russia, religion has yielded to “realism,” neither liberality nor humanitarianism has blossomed but only instinct regimented, internal ruthlessness, and an aggressive greed. Where the church has held sway, confusion has increased… Social discipline but turns… into professional regiments and tenders the keys of human zeal to opportunists… God’s disciplines give the keys to a Vatican or, in a “free country” to the vanity of every private Presbyterian.

So Communism has given way to the new “individual”, the regimentation of society no longer forced but craftily manipulated and sold back to us through a needy and regressive conformity. The greed and opportunism exploiting Marx’s ideal of an “economic man” hides now beneath the guise of freedom and democracy.

There is no Reason today in a whole world implemented by reason… A world wherein the best brains are no longer capable of turning back to the old gods. A world of physicists unmoved by Christian charity. A world four-fifths inhabited by the blindest bigots, born into credulity, worshiping snakes and ghosts and holy virgins. A world which has at last unlocked the secret of objects, whose strength is as the strength of suns because of the pure part of a few minds. A world of muscle, carnivorous, with a very little brain. A new dinosaur — man, destroying, huge — who dimly blinks at the shape of extinction, sees the coming of hunger in a planet his own strength has scourged. A stupid character who has sought violence as the means of his arrogant perfection and hypocritically to protect himself; who now sits in the gloom of an unradiant mind, waiting for radiation to consume his tissues. The one animal who ever feared himself — as well he might!

The unconscious god of fear is a religious one. The most basic facts of the psyche tell the story not of religion but of a religious attitude toward life.

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Instinct, Reason, and Subjectivity

“The latest large event — the engineering of a large-scale atomic chain-reaction, because it involves not just the opinions but the bodies of our species, too — has waked up every archetype, every instinct, in the billion-year-old breast of humanity. It is hoped by multitudes that the psychological shock will have even more benefit… in better times… from all the fragments of atoms men can harness. It may, if a man at last appreciates he is an animal and takes charge of himself instead of tendering the charge to religion…” – Philip Wylie, An Essay On Morals, 1947.

As the once culturally binding religious and patriotic identifications of the last generation have steadily dissolved into more personalized forms of instinct-ego-possession, so have centuries of human conflict continued to shape a natural world to its one-sided reality. The relentless pursuit of conscious aims unmoved by motive or consequence, as Wylie inferred, now harbors an unspeakable destruction.

The further splintering of nationalistic and ideological interests today has only magnified the threats portended by WWII; though the psychological shock has been numbed by new diversions. Science may have realer benefits for humanity, as Mr. Wylie noted: “If we, who have proceeded to this magnificent truth by applying integrity to objects… now apply it equally to subjectivity and develop the science of our inner selves — the morality — that matches the outer knowledges.

“The reasoner, that is, must become reasonable concerning himself, lest the findings he has made by reason destroy his very body through a seeming of incomprehensibility and of irrationality which drives his reason mad. Panic — national schizophrenia — universal paranoia — whole societies in manic ecstasy and depressive melancholia — such has been the historical panorama of mankind…”

Though Hitler’s Germany was the most tangible threat imaginable in the last century, the threats today are so diverse, diffused and intertwined, so subjective and integral to civilization today that catastrophe can no longer be measured solely by objective events.

The unseen danger lurking behind the current fix is the subversion of nature by a partially developed consciousness too technologically sophisticated and too unconsciously destructive to sustain it. It’s as if Hitler presaged the coming of a new ego-stage — now the common vision of a whole host of littler authorities but in no less fantastic guise.

It is a common fallacy to believe that instinct is itself wicked, bestial, or witless… Moreover, the fashion for twenty or thirty thousand years had been to ascribe all good to the gods, and, for some centuries more, to ascribe gods to conscious logic — a trick by which the intellectuals have grossly inflated their egos. Reason, the sophisticates say, is “good” — all else irrational, and if not sinful, at least, non-good. Thus is instinct indicted.”

Not only has Jung empirically described our deeply-rooted hostility to nature as a subjective condition made concrete through a profound lack of psychological understanding — the archetypal images behind it projected into forms so diffuse as to be altogether lost today — the illusion of this psychologically primitive ego-quality drives us as surely as it did in biblical times; only now in a vastly more complicated and temporal world where the only gods are human.

“Instinct is timeless; seen as enduring energy it is not evil… For, out of the conflict of its opposed forces it has developed awareness for a billion years… until it flowers in man as consciousness of Time itself — past and future — and consciousness of Mind itself. To seize from this immense evolution of subjectivity one function — the newest and least developed, Reason — to make it the platform of ego and to consign all else to limbo is as illogical as to pretend that an eye or a kidney is a person and that the meaning of the whole being is expressed by vision or excretion. Reason is by such means made a “faith” and practiced as another religion.

“Many… have become convinced as if of good and evil in this way and define any broader theorem by their own, unconscious opposites. They call all such ideas “mysticisms” — perennial epithet of the baffled! Instinct seen whole creates infinitely more than it destroys; seen in pieces, it confuses.

“The instinctual conditions of men — obsessions, I ought to say — have become plain in the atomic light. The military men look in such and such directions and thus see such and such landscapes on the future. The scientists observe another set. The churchmen bear testimony to a third. The average citizen has his head jerked this way and that from one forbidding prospect to another… he makes a logical intelligent summation of his opinion — according to his previous pattern. He sets himself, that is to say, against whatever he secretly fears the most. But that he was already set, he knows no more than soldier, physicist, or priest…”

Times have changed somewhat since 1947 — but not for the better, I think. Commercial media, in its infancy then, has burgeoned into such an all-embracing ideology in itself, it defies any moral standard (the new ego-stage) — more willfully, purposefully and methodically than any religion history has ever seen. Add the legislation of political corruption, a world-consuming regression to materialism and a mistrust of anything beyond the senses (because, unreal), and you may see the true character of the modern mass-man and the destruction created by the projection of inner images.

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Instinct, Reason, and the Nature of Awareness

If he sees the world as I see it — a world of men… acting in national concerts, and privately, by instinct — a world of men who rationalize what they do so that it will seem holy, or noble… or a personal evidence of “righteousness” — a world of men who possess sudden and enormous physical strength but hardly more sense than apes — and if this spectacle afflicts the days and hours of the reader with as much misgiving and anxiety as I have suffered from it, and if he finds in himself no extricability of his spirit from the general predicament, he will spend much time and effort and a great deal of thought in a search for a solution or resolution of his subjective quandary.”  – Philip Wylie, An Essay on Morals, 1947.

I recently wrote a post on Philip Wylie’s ideas about education. For those who are interested, I’d like to share his review of the nature of awareness according to Jung’s psychology:

“Awareness is the instinct of the Instincts — their awareness of themselves and of the material world.

“It has evolved.

“Its nature is animal, as is man’s. He has merely abused the definition of “animal” to aggrandize notions of his soul and intellect.

“Man not only acts out his instincts, like all beasts, but puts them in the form of legends and identifies with the legends, so that he says, not, “Instinct compelled me,” but, “Thor bade me,”  ”Jehovah forbade me,”… and so on.

“As man evolved, so did his legendry, from the most primitive worship of the sun to the most abstract theology of this day.

“A particular form of awareness took place when, using time to settle a conflict of his instincts, man noticed the time-user: himself.

“The pride he invests in that notice — his arrogant effort to fool and flatter himself — is his ego. It is a temporal phenomenon which seeks to gratify the immediate wishes for pleasure and to put off or to conceal past and future pain as much as present pain. It is vanity. Individuals pool pride to make the egos of their every group, organization, state, society, and current historical age.

“The egoist not only refuses to recognize instincts because they are “animal” in nature and invents gods to hide that fact, but in godlessness he also owns an arrogance which he attributes to the “superiority” of his logic or the sciences. Every egoist, religious or atheistic, has therefore lost touch with his instincts; they operate without his consciousness, or with his consciousness impaired by religious descriptions of instinct which, being guessed at and arranged in part to abet vanity, do not coincide with truth… he is forced to rationalize his behavior — to give intellectual, or institutional, or emotional “reasons” in explanation of blindly instinctual activity.

“Instinct operates according to its own thermodynamics and laws of motion. Its energy is never lost but only transmuted. Its inertia is such that it may keep a group of men moving in one way for generations, until a new fact or another instinctual force collides with it. For every fraction of instinct in conscious use, there is an equal and opposite amount in the unconscious mind. Thus the use of an instinctual principle by the ego sets up its opposite liability…

“The instincts in the unconscious mind, and all that the conscious mind is aware of, together with the material repressed by the individual, form the subjective equivalent of all our objective knowledge and identifications — and more… since this psychic nexus contains not only the entire past of consciousness but the basis, the… rudiments, of future development.

“As the individual understands these ideas, he… experiences a continually new and expanding orientation of himself with other minds and the objective world. He does not merely predicate, but inwardly perceives the balance of instinctual urges.

“His best means to this… is his conscience — that organ of instinct which gives him the elective opportunity to deal with every subjective fact as honestly as he deals with objectivity in science.

“And he will find that his personality is able to identify instincts by various methods of perception: logic, the values which provide him with feelings, and intuition. That is, he may weigh up the idea that arises from an instinctual urge, or the feeling, or a series of insights, which have used the combined functions of his brain.

“Because articulate man has… long translated instinct as legend, it… takes the form of archetypes — images which represent fragments of the life-urge… heroes, demons, and gods. They appear also in dreams… Symbols, too, which appear in fantasies, in dreams, in primitive art are archetypal and represent the same effort to… describe instinct to the consciousness; symbols are deeply germane to the species because they began before there was any terminology fit for the discussion of such prodigious impulses, such conflicts… as early man experienced. Trees, snakes, rivers, crosses, are such primeval metaphors… the plots of the legends are archetypal: the modern businessman dreams stories that were told around campfires half a million years ago with the ancient purpose of reminding his ego of a particular instinctual pattern…

“Instinct alone has been acting through the evolving life of our planet for a billion years — without verbalization. Words are clumsy to describe it…”

Time (and instinct) have confirmed Mr. Wylie’s intuitions sixty-so years ago. Words may clumsily describe it, but the images of ideological conflict today are vivid.

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Jung on Transition

The transition from morning to afternoon means a revaluation of the earlier values. There comes the need to appreciate the value of the opposite of our former ideals, to perceive the errors in our former convictions, to recognize the untruth in our former truth, and to feel how much antagonism and even hatred lay in what, until now, had passed for love. – C.G. Jung

This is as true for the current cultural transition as it is for the personal one at mid-life. The individual tends to a more spiritual attitude in the second half of life; and though the cultural shift today may seem to be headed in the other direction, major psychic changes involve a conversion of opposites. One pole compensates the other in the same general process:

Much, indeed, can be attained by the will, but… it is a fundamental error to subject our own fate at all costs to our will. Our will is a function regulated by reflection; hence it is dependent on the quality of that reflection. This… is supposed to be rational, i.e., in accord with reason. But has it ever been shown, or will it ever be, that life and fate are in accord with reason? We have on the contrary good grounds for supposing that they are irrational… that in the last resort they are grounded beyond human reason.

I often wonder who reflects on such ideas as life or fate today. Life is — what it is. The philosophical reflection meant to distinguish self from other, to mediate the dual realities of subject and object, is lost to a mind that sees only a concrete world of things, and creativity is valued mostly for those aims. Personality development can’t keep pace with an obsessed intellect, and an opposed psychic reality, reflected in the mirror of ideological conflict, finds our relations no more rational today than a thousand years ago. Life is what it is; but, what about the other side of conscious reality: the one that created itself and us with it?

The irrationality of events is shown in what we call chance, which we are… compelled to deny because we cannot in principle think of any process which is not causal… whence it follows that it cannot happen by chance. In practice, however, chance reigns everywhere, and so obtrusively that we might as well put our causal philosophy in our pocket… Hence reason and the will that is grounded in reason is valid only up to a point…”

That point lies somewhere in the incredible violence we see on the news every day. Is it the repressed emotional reactions to the changes taking place today; the inertia of unconscious history? Though the hotbox in the Middle East did not arise by mere chance, we’re left to rush from one fire to the next in a flailing attempt to control the chance events created by decisions made centuries ago. A new world disaster is waiting to be ignited by similar ‘chance’ accidents.

Not a few of those who are driven into the conflict of opposites jettison everything that had previously seemed to them good and worth striving for; they try to live in complete opposition to their former ego… The snag about a radical conversion into one’s opposite is that one’s former life suffers repression and thus produces just as unbalanced a state as existed before…

All discord begins with the individual: how we engage the world, as persons or groups, reflects inner conditions. The existential uncertainties that once urged spiritual reflection and the need for moral perspective have been replaced by an illusory faith in the very rationalism that seems only to hasten our demise. Consciousness is the new religion, science the higher power.

On the other side of the rational Western faith, the regressive religious fervor in the Middle East shapes unconscious reactions; we confront the same primitive tendencies we fancied we’d mastered along with the material world. All are ruled by the inner anxieties of change and an uncertain future. Legions the globe over unconsciously seize upon this or that ideology to release their particular inner turmoil — collective images of the confusion rooted in the individual.

Those stable enough to resist being swept into the violence of radical ideology suffer the crosses of personal anxieties and compulsions to a degree unknown in the past: commercial consumption, economic disparity, static political parties, animal cruelty, gay rights, abortion, over-worked hair. You name it, we suffer from it; science, psychology, enlightenment and all. Ready-to-wear ideologies beckon compulsively for those unable to look into themselves.

That our own irrational natures, and not just chance and accident, might be portending the mid-life transition of an entire civilization may seem a distant idea. Yet, what we see today in the death-obsessions of increasing pockets of fanatics are not only inner symbols which circumscribe the passage from one stage to the next, but concrete realities enhanced by the worldly fixations of an advanced primate who can’t see into the strange psychic world it half created.

The other side of that strange unconscious psychic world seems to be the only reality science denies. Is that logical?

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The ‘Disease’ of Consciousness

Jung saw neuroses as psychic conflicts that occur when consciousness strays from its unconscious nature. That purposely open-ended concept has since been twisted by the subjective aims and assumptions of modern medicine into so many stylized disorders that manuals are needed to account for them.

The tendency of science is to attack problems logically, though Jung conceived conscious life as an irrational process of coming to terms with a pre-existent psychic reality. When the subjective mind focuses on its own thought, it can get so lost in itself that an emprical picture looks like fantasy — self-search becomes self-delusion. The psyche is not the object of study today, but the data itself — the individual, a mere by-product of an impersonal science.

Energy is produced by tension or friction between two opposing poles. As are all energic processes, body/mind is an unconsciously regulated unity governed by natural law; how and where they converge is an unfathomable mystery we know little about. As consciousness is a partial complex, it sees only partial processes; Jung saw the unconscious as a natural unity which contains the opposites within itself: causality/purpose, rational/irrational, sensual/spiritual are essentially subjective interpretations of instinctual functions.

However mystical it may appear to a science based on method and causality, Jung studied unconscious effects also from a goal-oriented perspective. Their dual foundation and the relations between opposites prompted him to consider the data from both angles. He found that each was unfixed; relative to the other but also individually conditioned — a considerably more complicated picture than the standard medical view. 

His comparative approach was distinctly psychological, and the empirical facts he established can change the way we see ourselves. Once acquainted with them, there’s nothing mystical about his concepts. What was once only speculative philosophy, he arranged into an empirical outline circumscribing the relations between psychic opposites, how they function, and how we perceive them; not the causal effects of concrete objects in space.

He saw psychic functions as having specific energies. His studies showed that we identify primarily with one main one over others: thinking excludes feeling to record information; feeling represses thinking in the weighing of values. Accidental circumstances would find us paralyzed with indecision were it not for instinctual processes perceptible by means of inner images: spontaneous self-representations of unconscious reactions as supplements to the conscious view.

The identity of image and object is designed for quick response in the external world. Because of the need for immediate action, only a part of the total image is perceived at a given time. The focus necessary to respond to fluid conditions is complemented by subliminal emotions which fuse into the image of object and circumstance and are reflected back after the fact.

Memory associations, along with intuitive symbol-images, are projected into concrete experiences. Because life exists only in singular form, all experience is relative to the individual; but since social instincts are needed to co-exist with others, similarities are more apparent than differences to a collective method based on averages. Nature, however, has accentuated the reflective instinct in a self-aware animal; the unconscious directs consciousness to its instinctual needs through meaningful associations of emotionally charged ideas.

Conscious attention is attracted by the intensity of energy fluctuating between functions according to changing needs. Collective reactions are also intensely personal, and their relative nature determines perceptions which orient in two directions. 

A concrete external orientation can’t readily discern things from ideas, and the unconscious pushes its ideas across the threshold of awareness via symbol-images. With reflection, personal associations attach to them as a measure of the energy compelling attention. The deeper we explore, the more pronounced their religious and philosophical character. Despite what material science tells us, it’s an irrational function with the dual purpose of reconciling the conflicting needs of self and other.

Jung’s studies revealed the religious function to be as basic as the biological imperative. All human endeavor points to its lifting of thought toward moral reflection. These two poles of instinct are so inextricably intertwined that one without the other would result in an unsustainable condition. Without a function to mediate their relations, culture would devolve into a ruthless competition for individual superiority measured only by the collective value of objects. 

The idea of a personal soul as mediator of inner images is a natural function of wholeness and reconciliation, an inborn urge for conscious unity: a profound need for an individual animal who depends as much on himself as others for life. The idea of a single god is not just an ideal directing moral development but a natural image which compensates our split natures.

The functions designed to reconcile a dual orientation depend on conscious distinctions between the opposites to work according to nature. Obsession and devotion, compulsion and desire, healing and disease, are fluid, relative ideas; complex associations which are more emotional than intellectual. Only their symbolic content can tell us whether our assumptions are subjective diversions or natural functions.

For a poetic exploration of the symbolic relations between the opposites, visit Amazon.

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Commercialism and the New Philistines

Commercialism has destroyed literature… Criticism has been eliminated, for who will pay for it? The publisher, and the newspaper which lives on his advertisements, wants every book to sell…” — Aleister Crowley, 1923

With today’s further commercial leveling down of ideas in mind, I offer this parable from the foreword to James Branch Cabell’s, Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice, 1919:

“The Judging of Jurgen

Now a court was held by the Philistines to decide whether or no King Jurgen should be relegated to limbo. And when the judges were prepared… there came into the court a great tumblebug… With the creature came pages, in black and white, bearing a sword, a staff and a lance.

This insect looked at Jurgen, and its pincers rose erect in horror. The bug cried… “Now, by St. Anthony! this Jurgen must forthwith be relegated to limbo, for he is offensive and lewd and lascivious and indecent.”

“And how can that be?” says Jurgen.

“You are offensive,” the bug replied, “because this page has a sword which I choose to say is not a sword…. lewd because that page has a lance which I prefer to think is not a lance… lascivious because yonder page has a staff which I elect to declare is not a staff. And finally, you are indecent for reasons of which a description would be objectionable to me, and which therefore I must decline to reveal…”

“Well, that sounds logical,” says Jurgen, “but still… it would be no worse for an admixture of common sense. For you gentlemen can see for yourselves, by considering these pages fairly and as a whole, that these pages bear a sword, a lance and a staff, and nothing else whatever; and you will deduce, I hope, that all the lewdness is in the insectival mind of him who itches to be calling these things by other names.”

The judges said nothing… But they that guarded Jurgen, and all the other Philistines, stood to this side and to that side with their eyes shut tight, and… said: “We decline to look at the pages fairly and as a whole, because to look might… imply a doubt of what the tumblebug has decreed… as long as the tumblebug has reasons which he declines to reveal, his reasons stay unanswerable and you are plainly a prurient rascal who are making trouble for yourself.”

“To the contrary,” says Jurgen, “I am a poet, and I make literature.”

“But in Philistia to make literature and… trouble for yourself are synonymous… I know, for already we… have been pestered by three of these makers of literature. Yes, there was Edgar, whom I starved and hunted until I was tired of it: then I chased him up a back alley one night, and knocked out those annoying brains of his. And there was Walt whom I… battered from place to place, and made a paralytic of him: and him, too, I labelled offensive and lewd and lascivious and indecent. And then later there was Mark, whom I frightened into disguising himself in a clown’s suit so that nobody might suspect him of being a maker of literature. I frightened him so that he hid away the greater part of what he had made until after he was dead, and I could not get at him. That was a disgusting trick to play on me, I consider…”

“Now, but these three,” cried Jurgen, “are the glory of Philistia: and of all that Philistia has produced, it is these three alone, whom living ye made least of, that to-day are honored wherever art is honored…”

“What is art to me and my way of living?” replied the tumblebug, wearily. “I have no concern with art and letters and the other lewd idols of foreign nations. I have in charge the moral welfare of my young… and trust with St. Anthony’s aid to raise them to be God-fearing tumblebugs like me… For the rest, I have never minded dead men being well-spoken-of.  No, no, my lad: once whatever I may do means nothing to you, and once you are really rotten, you will find the tumblebug friendly enough. Meanwhile I am paid to protest that living persons are offensive and lewd and lascivious and indecent…”

Then the Philistines who stood to this side and to that side said in indignant unison: “And we… are not at all in sympathy with those who would take any protest against the tumblebug as a justification of what they are pleased to call art. The harm done by the tumblebug seems to us very slight, whereas the harm done by the self-styled artist may be very great.”

Jurgen now looked more attentively at this queer creature: and he saw that the tumblebug was malodorous, certainly, but at bottom honest and well-meaning; and this seemed to Jurgen the saddest thing he had found among the Philistines. For the tumblebug was sincere in his insane doings, and all Philistia honored him sincerely, so that there was nowhere any hope for these people.

Therefore King Jurgen addressed himself… to submit to the strange customs of the Philistines. “Now do you judge me fairly,” cried Jurgen to his judges, “if there be any justice in this mad country. And if there be none, do you relegate me to limbo or to any other place, so long as in that place this tumblebug is not omnipotent and sincere and insane.”

And Jurgen waited….”

Times may have changed somewhat between then and now, but one thing is certain: the tension between individual and culture is at the core of creative conflict. It’s what separates us from animals. Will we be animals with human potential or only egos with animal desires?

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The Hottest New TV Shows You’ll Never See

“The deed is one thing; the image of the deed is quite another, and the wheels of causality do not roll between the two.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

The new fall line-up is here. How and why certain shows are chosen over others is a very complicated process involving everything from random questionnaires to very precisely targeted focus-groups — even the latest psychiatric techniques (with the exception of drugs) for guiding those who occasionally over-indulge their individuality back inside the safety of the norm.

Their effectiveness isn’t precisely quantified as yet, for they in turn rest upon a considerably more complicated process: the unconscious complexes of network executives and the exchange of projections between them and the whimsical emotions of the collectorate they pander to.

Because you and I, as the unknown ‘quantum variable’ in every decision made for our collective consumer needs, have such limited personal choice in what we see and don’t see, here are some new pilots that sailed over network heads:

What’s My Dysfunction?

This amusing re-take on the sixties game show, What’s My Line? puts the fun back in dysfunction. Charismatic host Burf Burford mocks and mediates a panel of distinguished celebrities who compete through a series of questions to guess the peculiar mental afflictions of weekly guests. The pilot narrowly edged out two close contenders:  a new sit-com, I’m With Stupid, and singing competition, American Idle, for a studio audience screening.

Response was tepid. The majority felt that, while it was slightly amusing, it made light of mental illness and evoked discomfort — mostly about family members and neighbors. The sensitivity of the subject hit ‘too close to home’. In separate interviews, however, men described it as tedious and boring compared to reality competition shows like, Naked Bachelorette, and Nude Bridal Wars, and lacked spontaneity. Execs nixed it in favor of Bared And Scared, and its proven recipe of educational content and emotional intensity.

Dr. Do-Little

He talks to animals but not the kind you’re thinking of. This farcical re-mix of the old My Three Sons motif features a modern-day psychiatrist/dad struggling to raise three offspring in the wake of a divorce. In the pilot, Dr. Abnorm Drowse is faced with the sole custody of marital fruits which have suddenly morphed into rotten teen-age couch-potatoes.

To top it off, they’re all precocious girls with very different notions than the authoritarian, patriarchal values their dad was raised with. All his psychiatric training and experience go hilariously awry as he tries helplessly to confront feminine puberty from the male perspective in the modern computer age. These ironically spell his demise as both parent and professional, and Dr. Dad soon discovers that the only prescription for self-esteem  is self-medication!

Christ On A Crimson Crutch

This irreverent look at conventional religion follows the antics of self-anointed sojourner and bhuddistic metaphor, Howie Greeve, as he wanders aimlessly across the country in search of a lost spiritual ideal. His quirky mixture of introverted/extraverted tendencies leads not to spiritual salvation, however, but to a comical series of gaffes and guffaws in the ‘drive-through’ relationships he encounters on his way.

Clumsy attempts to appeal to wider viewing audiences through the marriage of the adolescent road trip theme with the more mature search for the soul was not enough, however, to warrant a thumbs-up from either focus group. Most outside New Jersey felt that it was not a true picture of travel Americana but a circus-like caricature of commercialism and the fast-food communities that dominate even rural life around interstate exits.

Madam President

This edgy new sit-com troubled network execs from the start. Studio audience response was split fifty-fifty; that is, until the last scene which introduces the surprise theme of this social experiment. The new POTUS is not just any female politician; there’s much more behind her interest in the LGBT community than political correctness and minority voter appeal. In fact, “she” puts the ‘T’ in LGBT, and not only did no one know — not even her husband — the crazy fall-out sends her PR agency scrambling to re-define sexual equality in a new post-gender age!

Though the final scene dipped approval ratings slightly, this in itself was not enough for execs to cancel it. Most women found it delightful; however, it was noted in tape reviews that many of the men who expressed distaste had ‘laughed a little too hard’ during the screening for it to be canned altogether. While considered too controversial to be aired this fall, it was put on the back burner as a possible replacement for ‘clunkers’ which bottom out before spring re-runs.

Einstein’s Ghost

Nerdy social outcast and computer whiz, Ned Bungler, has a secret weapon when it comes to the over-bearing emotional compensations of school bullies. His personal spirit-guide is not just any old imaginary friend but the world-famous physicist who proved that space and time are relative. He communicates to Ned through his My-Phone, and you’ve never seen death, science, and the space-time continuum through such a foggy, fun-filled lens. It’s the new counter-intuitive, double reality of psychic inter-facing in the digital age: asocial networking!

… and the wheels of causality do not roll between the two.

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Personal Conflicts and Cultural Ideals

Our notions of mental health are as much cultural as medical. Not even doctors are immune from the spirit of the time, and unconscious assumptions grounded in material philosophy, statistics, and causality artificially conceive the idea of disorder apart from any concept of development. Jung showed empirically that they’re inseparable.

Life’s transitions are the conflicts of individual development. Though steadily gaining momentum into mid-life, Erich Neumann demonstrated that what we see as the stages of life are the ‘fits and starts’ of a continual process which is present from the beginning and becomes conscious only at certain critical points.

Whatever you’ve been taught by those who benefit from your lack of knowledge (and theirs, too), transitional problems aren’t ‘diseases’. You may feel like they are as a result of having had no instruction about their underlying purposes; though, as Jung suggested, their design is to compel inner attention. The tension between individual and culture is a basic psychological conflict which aim is development. How else can we perceive an objective inner nature through a collective lens which sees the unconscious, if it sees it all, as regressive?

Confronting unconscious demands is a difficult task for anyone, but doubly so for the extraverted mindset today. We’re conditioned to see material and social needs as foremost. Psychic conflicts outside that ideal are symptomatic, partly because inner development is strange and confusing to it. Who hasn’t asked themselves: ‘what’s wrong with me?’

But they appear this way also because we’re causally oriented. Causes are plenty for those who look for them — but, without a concept of unconscious purpose, there is only a backward picture of the most defining aspect of psychic energy.

Though the unconscious guides most through life’s transitions with relatively little friction, if one can’t repress the conflicts and they become consuming, one is “in the soup”, as Jung referred to it. If not channeled into social ideals, it’s a ‘disorder’. The fact is, though, fewer and fewer are able to repress them today — a sign that our unconscious natures are coming into increasing opposition to cultural direction.

The biblical statement puts unconscious ideas into perspective: “Thou hearest the sound thereof but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth; so is every man who is born of the Spirit.” Beneath the persona, we’re not just prisoners in dark and lonely cells of existential angst, but profoundly individual beings with psychological needs intended to relate us to ourselves, too. Our most intimate problems are our relation to the inner spirit. Nature has set a high premium on this function in the only real carrier of life: the individual.

The spiritual function is not rational. Some concept of the psyche’s irrationality is needed to understand the purposes of symbolic ideas. It’s no coincidence that unconscious intuitions of humanity’s future from a developmental perspective, ‘life after death’, are major factors in religious philosophy. Without such guiding ideas, ego exists only for itself in present-time.

Despite conscious illusions, the most basic statements about how the psyche works reveal that we don’t know who we are: it’s a process of becoming, and the more preconceived, the more elusive is self-knowledge. Undeveloped aspects of the personality revolve around complexes of ideas. If we can’t relate to them, they remain split off and acquire an energy which leads to problems we don’t understand and can’t control. Dissociation is a natural condition not confined to pathology.

Jung showed that the conflicts created by split-off complexes are attempts at healing which work through the least developed function. It’s the bridge to the unconscious, and it has a spiritual, philosophical character. That these conflicts are considered diseases is a revealing statement about the atrophy of the religious function today. That it’s conceived this way by a psychology which sees itself as science is further testament to its misunderstanding. The religious function may now be obscured by the scientific perspective, but it in no way implies that we’ve outgrown the historical enigma of what it means to be human.

Jung stressed its psychic reality, and consciousness is not its arbiter. To pretend otherwise is fantasy. It’s the source of evolution and the cornerstone of religion, and its everywhere but in the intellect. How do we evaluate an objective psyche so far beyond our comprehension that all humanity before us conceived it as a god? We would do well to reconsider our contemporary notions of spirit and compare them with those historical intuitions which were much closer to psychic truth than our present rationalism.

The concepts to do that are here now. We can no longer conceive the old fantasies literally. The mind of the past lived a different world than we know today. Though the fantasy-symbols were carefully manipulated to maintain power, on earth where it really counted, all were in some way devoted to a higher power and a distant future however fantastically conceived

Science has filled the black hole of projection which once created the gods, the ancient image of potential which so long ago intuited conscious development. It has extracted from that image only the intellectual part which would make grand an uncertain earthly creature so afraid of its own unconscious nature, it views its own development as a disease.

Read more about symbolic ideas and development, or visit Amazon.

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Science, Psychology, and the Subjective Mind

More and more studies, while not disproving altogether Woody Allen’s theory that the brain is the second most important organ, continue to amass evidence to the contrary. In a paradoxical twist, new psychological theories suggest that what we think about a disorder may outweigh any ‘real’ effects of the disorder itself. In fact, what we now consider abnormal may soon be the new normal.

Modern diagnostics are so advanced that if there is even the latent possibility of a disorder, or the need or desire for one, it will be detected. This has raised new queries about the viability of science in the evaluation of mental illness; indeed, on its possible invention.

This re-visioning of therapy has prompted concerns over an alleged industry bias against the individual disposition. Critics charge that scientific credulity and impersonal assessment methods, along with the projected “symbol-complexes” of practitioners, make diagnosis “psychologically irresponsible if not negligent.”

Statistics show that a modern explosion in available treatment methods parallels “diagnostic over-reach”, leaving some to wonder if part of the problem might be a too-subjective classification system fitted to an ideal norm which is “ultimately unattainable, even as it depicts an average”. Within such contradictory confines, they argue, “the individual appears as a mere aggregate of eccentricities.”

Though the majority of consumer self-reports showed perceptions of progress after the suggested minimum of twelve sessions, those who underwent further treatment showed actual recovery rates similar to those with none at all. Many conditions deteriorated with extended treatment, prompting some to call for a revaluation of criteria.

Insiders confide that most consumers are presumed cured upon the declaration of bankruptcy and/or the reinstatement of driving privileges; though such later-stage variables as ‘high-school sweetheart syndrome’, ‘second-family delusional disorder’, and ‘transitional self-medication malaise’ were considered ‘pre-fixed norms’ and not included as ‘dispositional factors’.

Follow-up studies by legal firms representing insurance companies and maxed-out family members, however, found that ninety percent returned to therapy within a year. Recidivism rates compared with penitentiary internment, leading some experts to propose a “revolving door of therapy-addiction as a substitute for healthy narcissism.”

Crime rates, likewise, varied little between control groups — with one exception: those who underwent treatment before incarceration, when released, tended to commit more heinous crimes than those without therapy. In the system, even those in such informal programs as “Bibles Behind Bars”, “Inmates Need Mates, Too”, and “No Means No” were less violent than those who’d received formal therapy.

New theories are emerging which question the uncritical piling up of statistical data in support of industry interests. Along with Shamanism, Eye Rotation Therapy, and Dr. Wayne Dribble’s PBS snooze-fest, many are casting off the mantle of rational, scientific investigation for more holistic models of wishful thinking and the power of suggestion. One such intriguing model was conceived by Dr. Abnorm Drowze, the “irrational rationalist” of the Institute for Modern Solipsism:

Psycho-physics begins with the subliminal dynamics of the human dialogue. ‘Psycho’: ‘crazy’  – and ‘physics’: Greek for ‘out there’, combine the science of energy economics with a paradoxical process of ego-inflation designed to free the authentic personality from the false narrative of standardized therapy.

“At the core of Psycho-physics is the concept of projection. Certain feelings and intuitions confirm it to be psychologically meaningful; however, it cannot be scientifically proven to actually exist. Its subjective nature makes it relative to the individual in all cases.

“Since it is recalcitrant to objective appraisal, it’s seldom employed as a tool by method psychologies. These only ensure that its negative effects continue to work unconsciously. The evaluation of one subjective mind by another assumes the nature of a value judgment. The eo ipso assumption that such phenomena apply to the consumer alone, for example, leads to quite arbitrary conclusions and is therefore scientifically untenable, not to say intellectually unethical. The very definition of projection cricumscribes a universal function irrespective of education, social standing, or professional estimation.

“Equability demands its application also to the practitioner’s evaluation of so-called objective test results. For instance: Damitol is prescribed to a depressed consumer to raise flavinoid levels on the assumption that a chemical imbalance is the root cause. This view sees the body as having turned against itself, when in fact it has turned against the mind. Psychologically, this means the mind has turned against itself and speaks by proxy for a neglected body-image which is largely unconscious. The assumption of physical causation is only one side of the mind-body connection and reflects a split consciousness in conflict with its animal behavior. Such instinctive processes betray our dual natures and, when misconstrued, appear ‘crazy’ to practitioner and consumer alike.

“Quite natural self-protective instincts compel the consumer to react adversely to such implied judgments. A ‘knot of projection’ ensues in which consumer and practitioner each unconsciously think the other is ‘crazy’. Which carries the greater value? Both are unhampered presuppositions. The assumption that one outweighs the other is yet another subjective value-judgment.

“The practitioner’s projections will in fact self-replicate in direct proportion to the authority-complex. The principle of negative sums clearly states that the practitioner’s assumptions will not only exceed the consumer’s but cancel them out entirely. The result is that the judgment ‘crazy’ is unilaterally projected onto the consumer, the body’s chemistry, the test results – even onto the treatment. This is not a good thing.

“The therapeutic process often bogs down under the weight of this unspoken dialogue. Progress devolves into a ‘conspiratorial illusion’ which, more often than not, results in a stagnant state of mutual compensation and projection and leaves little hope for resolution.” 

 This is the point where psychology ends and the spiritual journey begins.

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