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PSYCHOLOGY AND THE UNDISCOVERED SELF PDF Print E-mail
Psychology - Soul
Holding_Fall_commonPsychology, as long as it seeks to discover the nature of consciousness - whether, that is, consciousness is an entity and a dimension of entity or a derivative of the organisation of matter - must also examine the issue from the point of view of the study of experience.

Many historical figures have had transcendental experiences, internal or external, ranging from diplomats, such as Talleyrand, scientists, such as Descartes,[i] to major philosophers, such as Rousseau, who describes a condition of disconnected or detached happiness:

"If there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul."[ii] 

Thinkers such as Benjamin Franklin or Goethe have borne witness to similar convictions - and one could say that religious beliefs, in East and West, have been founded on such a basis. One can observe that there are systems, such as those from the Sutras of Patantjali and the contemplative and experiential method of Zen and of the Sufis, which draw attention to methods or results of such experiences. This dynamic, moreover, is inherent in all religions.

An alternative field of expression of the soul becomes apparent in the sphere of art, which has an affinity with the transcendental as well as with the day-to-day field of experiences.

These methodologies and experiences relating to the consciousness can now also be studied at the neuro-hormonal and physiological level - in terms of biophysics and biochemistry - and such research programmes are already running.

The thematic confirmation of traditional knowledge in matters of analgesia or of therapeutic collaboration in acupuncture leads to a need for a positive experimental approach in other fields of ancient tradition, knowledge, and wisdom also. Furthermore, there is also a need for the development of a culture of pragmatist synergy, and this is apparent in matters involving psychotherapy, where, on their own, drugs or even psychoanalytic method cannot complete a circle of therapy. Other positive endogenous developments in human consciousness and psychosomatism are required.

At the same time, there is the fact that major social problems are looming which are connected with the systemic crisis and the economic problems of civilisation in relation to the environment, society, and the economy, but also even psychological problems, such as depression, as well as others which put the question of the spiritual - 'ontological security' of man on a new basis, which has been defined as a critical field by thinkers from the realm of sociology, such as Giddens, and of psychology, such as Jung, who comments:

"Even if, juristically speaking, we were not accessories to the crime we are always, thanks to our human nature, potential criminals. In reality we merely lacked a suitable opportunity to be drawn into the infernal mêlée. None of us stands outside humanity’s black collective shadow. One would therefore do well to possess some 'imagination in evil', for only the fool can permanently neglect the conditions of his own nature. In fact, this negligence is the best means of making him an instrument of evil. Projection of the unrecognised evil into the 'other' strengthens the opponent’s position in the most effective way, because the projection carries the fear which we involuntarily and secretly feel for our own evil over to the other side and considerably increases the formidableness of his threat. What is even worse, our lack of insight deprives us of the capacity to deal with evil."[iii]

All these issues bring before us the urgency of our functioning on friendly terms and with openness with all local spiritual cultures and traditions in an age when they all interact universally.

The empirical methodologies which operate on the logic of the minimum conviction - such as that proposed by Krishnamurti, which, from one point of view, is a continuation of that of Epicurus - cannot be complete. This is because they address a limited range of capabilities of the consciousness, they do not have a flexible ability of conversing, and function with an absolute individualisation. They are, however, experientially useful and alternative in relation to the fact that there is, on the one hand, a charge of prejudice, and, on the other, a charge of fear. While the charge of prejudice is dealt with by another aspect of denial, the charge of fear lies in wait constantly, and is not dealt with by these in a radical manner.

Science, in setting as its aim to serve man, and not so much nature and the spirit, is faced with the need to deal with fear and pain, and must, here also, be pragmatist, as it converses with the aim, the cause, and the persistence and meaning of pain, in the sense that all natural magnitudes and natural processes have within them a causal character and constitute a learning field, thus combining meaning and evolution.

In spite of this, it would not be right for isolated individual approaches to dominate as authority, because even in idealised cases, such as that of Krishnamurti, we can observe shortcomings, extremes, or swinging tendencies of conviction.[iv] The concept of the systematisation in the sectionalising of an idealised biography of consciousness should not form the centre of an undertaking. The course followed must be in synthesis both in the field of knowledge and in the field of the subjects - if we wish to explore the issue of a new psychology which resonates in the make-up of the soul.

We need a psychology with soul for the soul

Here we encounter the question of entity or of the nature of consciousness which is still a living one in the thinking of the whole range of the scientists, of intellectuals, and of thinking people. It is a question which has been touched upon in the sense of the relation of life with the soul in the West from as long ago as antiquity. It was present, from the beginning, in the philosophy of Plato and Pythagoras, as well as in the Stoic philosopher Poseidonius,[v] that great thinker, where, of course, this issue was linked with dimension and how far the dimension and scale of the being was not a biological limit. Thus the phenomenon of 'soul' manifests a nonlocality which can occupy a major dimension of space and time, in spite of its location on the smaller scale.

The issue of time in relation to the soul is crucial in the thinking of many, among them Henri Bergson. It could be said that the materialistic- animalist approach continues remains flourishing in individual thought even in protagonists or devotees of modern physics and biology, in cases where these are presented by, inter alios, distinguished writers such as Koestler[vi] and László,[vii] where they again touch upon the issue of the relation of nonlocality. Here the necessity for transcendence of nonlocality or of location specificity is evident and makes its appearance in the whole of the scientific evolutionary process, even in mathematical thinking, in its development.

Furthermore, we have to do much more study on phenomena which relate to extreme experiences of clinical or preclinical death - like the research work of Raymond Moody on this matter[viii] - or studies which involve animist experiences in everyday life which have proved a turning-point in people's lives. These are experiences which thinkers with the breadth of an Emanuel Swedenborg have attempted to systematise, or to describe with the poetic art of a Blake, and to investigate in anthropological and biographical terms, as Mircea Eliade[ix] and William James did.

At the same time, the interrelation between experiences and chemical substances has not yielded results in terms of an absolute correspondence. Furthermore, there is always an individual reaction and relation of the users with psychoactive drugs, and in the sense also even of inverse reactions. In addition, the scale of the placebo phenomenon shows on its own that we have to do within another sphere, reducible to no direct cause. The fact that there have been experiences without external intervention demonstrates that these cannot be linked with an inductive pharmacological generalisation of the interpretation of psychological phenomena.

Over and beyond this, in these issues a multiplicity of responses, reactions, and correspondences of the nerve-transmitters. At the same time, they are connected with a holistically differentiated process, and, in addition, have a character of isomorphic successive response or functioning.

It could be said that the phenomenon of the soul matters to man in relation to Chit[x] as consciousness to the degree to which Ananda[xi] - the divine bliss - and existence, of Sat as duration, as entity, as being, is manifested in it(sat - chit- ananda)[xii]. Man seeks to be an entity and this interests him through the consciousness, that is, the confirmatoriness of the subject. This is also the major subject of the phenomenological school, whereas gratification, the ad libitum, on all its scale, is linked both with psychosomatic organicity and with the transcendentalist approach of self-existence.

It is observable, also, that there is an organic psychosomatic contribution and involvement at this point of diffusion in all of us, as to the field of physiology as health, and as to the field of psychological  embroilments and their projection as illnesses. This has been developed in contemporary theories which, though they may have limited acceptance, are being developed increasingly methodologically and experimentally, as is the case with every new school and view, in spite of the fact that most of these schools and points of view have existed, essentially, since the time of Hippocrates, while others are of a later date.

The concept of psychic energy has functioned and been advanced by a wide range of thinkers, such as Fechner and Goethe, and also, seen in another light, by thinkers such as Poe, who ascribes cosmic nature to it. The latter has affinities in his thinking with a Kepler and is rendered relevant in the sense of a nonlocality and a new aetherism. The concept of aetherism is different from that which was rejected by the Theory of Relativity and Michelson and Morley's experiment[xiii] and is developed by the logic of a quantum nonlocality, and of another causal coherence with which Ervin László also renders it topical in an intercultural manner with the term 'akashic field theory'.7

In one way of looking at concepts, the theory of the Aether and the orgone (of primeval cosmic energy) of Wilhelm Reich is returning, but this time in a more generalised form, more liberated from mono-organism and mono-orgasmism, for the phenomenon of the orgasmic force of life must be seen psychically and spiritually, as it is shown by the cultural history of man, and not only in a physical and animal way.

Such efforts at synthesis of thinking have been undertaken, in the realm of psychology by Roberto Assagioli with 'psychosynthesis',[xiv] and in the interdisciplinary field, by Oliver Reiser.[xv]


Ioannis Zisis, Writer
 

Photo from Wikimedia


[i] Christidis, Christophoros, introduction - translation of Descartes' Discourse on Method [in Greek], publ. Papazisis, 1971: "But the winter was drawing on which would bring the decisive moment in Descartes' life. Maximilian's army had established itself in various encampments to spend the winter. The volunteer Descartes, who was fairly independent in his movements, settled in Neuburg, above the Danube, near Ulm. There, as he himself narrates in his 'Discourse', he remained alone all day long, secluded in a well-heated room, where no one bothered him. He was free to occupy himself with his thoughts.
His isolation brought about psychic stimulation. And in the night of 10 to 11 November 1619, he had three successive, extremely vivid, dreams, he remembered a line from some Latin poet which asks what road in life he is to follow, and then, between sleeping and waking, Descartes says that he 'discovered' the "bases of a wonderful science
". This whole incident overwhelmed him. He was convinced that Divine Providence had specifically predestined his mission in life. He vowed to make a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Loreto, in Italy, to where, as is widely known, the angels of the Lord brought from Nazareth in Judaea the house in which the Holy Family had lived."

[ii] Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, The Daydreams of a Solitary Walker [Greek edition], publ. I. Zacharopoulos & Co. OE, 1990, p. 88.

[iii] Jung, Carl, The Undiscovered Self [in Greek], publ. Iamvlichos, 1877, p.86.

[iv] Lutuyens, Mary, The Life and Death of Krishnamurti, [in Greek], publ.Kastaniotis, 1991.

[v] Poseidonius, The Complete Works [in Greek], publ. Kaktos, 2000.

[vi] Koestler, Arthur, The Roots of Coincidence [Greek edition], publ. Hatzinikoli, 1974.

[vii] Lászlo, Ervin, The New Science and the Akashic Field [Greek edition], publ. Archetypo, 2008.

[viii] Moody, Raymond, Life After Life [Greek edition], publ. Dioptra.
"In this book, Dr Raymond Moody examines more than 1,000 new cases of clinically dead people who finally survived and returned to life to share with us their astounding experiences."

[ix] Eliade Mircea, Inner Light [Greek edition], publ. Armos, 2003.

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy [Greek edition], publ. Hatzinikoli, 1978.

[x] Chit: Sanskrit term meaning Consciousness.

[xi] Ananda: Sanskrit term meaning Supreme Happiness, Beatitude.

[xii] Sat: present participle of the Sanskrit verb 'to be'.

[xiii] "According to ancient and medieval science aether is the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere. In the past, the idea of aether was used to explain phenomena of the diffusion of light - an idea which was rejected after the Michelson and Morley experiment. This experiment proved that the aether is immobile in relation to the earth, which means that the earth is immobile in the whole universe, and, furthermore, it was proved that light is not (only) a wave. Thus it is no longer believed that there is such a thing as the aether. In spite of this, the idea of the existence of the aether was accepted until a few decades ago, while the idea of its existence was introduced by the ancient Greeks as the fifth element (quintessence)." Aether (noun), Greek Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_%28classical_element%29)

[xiv] Assagioli, Roberto, Psychosynthesis: Individual and Social, Part One. [in Greek], solon.org.gr

 
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