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Psychology - Soul
5_Conception_commonWe live in an age which is ripe for us to put an end to one-dimensional monisms, to secluded concepts and ideas, and for us to recognise the collectivity of ideas, of dimensions, and their holistic, synthesising, and validating dynamic. The broadening of our scientific knowledge leads to a new way of apprehension, to a new quality of apprehension.

It is true that in the past our motives reflected a constant need for a compensating complementation and a struggle with incompleteness.

This is, according to Kant, the fundamental anthropological framework of anthropogenesis, but also the fundamental psychological mechanism of individual psychology of Adler, who in his book Anthropognosia notes:

"If we judge man from a physical point of view, we see that he is an inferior being. But this inferiority which accompanies him everywhere, gives a feeling of maiming and uncertainty, and acts as a constant spur to find a way out, for him to succeed in accommodating to life and to take care to ensure the terms which will compensate for the shortcomings of man's place in nature."[i]

In one sense, it is the basic mechanism which is manifested in the theory of conflicts and the movements of the psychic potential of Horney.[ii] But now we must perceive a new perspective.

The ontological deficiency which was experienced, primarily, as a fear of death and as a problem of duration, and, secondarily, as a problem of quality, gratification, and satisfaction, was a generative mechanism of this tension of internalisation and operated, simultaneously, in the direction of the intense extrovert identification which has developed in our civilisation.[iii] We must now examine, in terms of meaning and experience, the trends which have brought us here, in a clearer and more lucid ontological field.

The point, totality and the man of today

Our psychological atavism is connected with the evolutionary process and the exaltation of the trend for us to hold as a supreme principle the security of the position of authority. It is also connected with the elevation of the point, for us to pass through the 'latent' and 'concealed point', as well as Euclid's paradoxical definition which acknowledges  the foundation of locality in nonlocality, into the 'revealed', in the 'liberated', in the 'detached', and, finally, in the 'abandoned' point.[iv]

It is no accident that all the great religions and philosophies result in identification with the whole. Even the modern game-playing post-modern approaches appeal to totality: (a) either in their most psychologically integrated manifestation in relation to the infinite and the familiarity of the person - as in Levinas's approach[v]; (b) or as Axelos[vi] sees it, as an exponent of the existentialist phenomenology of Heidegger.[vii]

Totality and sharing as factors of sustainability

Even the game-playing non-modern views - which are somewhat reminiscent of 'Lila', the game, that is, of the divine, of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma – regard as a next evolutionary step collectivity and identification with the whole. They mean by this a process of common identification and decentralisation. In this sense, they also see the principle of sustainability unfolding as a new facet- aspect of the good, as common good. This is the contribution to psychological development of another psychological culture for politics, the sciences, and the techniques of mankind, including the economic system, with the requirement, in the end, of sharing and of the wedded approach of freedom and brotherhood, as postulated by Horkheimer, who, in a state of some pessimism, comments as follows:

"Man in isolation may tend towards freedom, towards deliverance. Mankind, nevertheless, has prevailed in nature, even today, through the domination, exploitation, killing, and enslavement of other creatures, and, in some cases, of its species itself. It is the most bloodthirsty and cruel species of the known world. Nothing for it has been too sacred - not even truth and religion - for it not to use as an instrument of power."[viii]

This evolutionary step of identification with totality presupposes an inner subjectivity which has this capability of identification, or is in this state. It presupposes, that is, the soul as constantly present and as a presence interwoven with the spirit in a state of 'isolated unity' which is in the sacrificial state as an individual and as a member of a society with a part of its self.

In a certain way, it as though there were an unperceived 'hardware' and a 'software' of entification of nature itself. This 'software' is in a state of evolution through a periodicity and rhythm of phenomena of birth, death, and transcendence, in which entity unfolds functionally, theatrically, and ontologically, attempting to open up a parallel transforming horizon of inner overshadowing evolution of its own, in tandem with social and ecological evolution. This was the major issue which Plato and other, contemporary, thinkers, such as Whitehead[ix] and Aurobindo[x], have touched upon.

And, of course, there are preferences as between the internal and the external horizon of being. Nevertheless, the supporters of the measure and of the mean, in East and West, will postulate both aspects as being requisites.

On this horizon and in this sense of the self, the truth is that reflection on the self can function:

1. in relation with its inner transcendence, which is inherent as an archetypal process in the evolutionary process of codification and the rudimentary;

2. in the process of consciousness as an identificating, transcendental, organic, and  inward-developing dynamic;

3. in the ecological and social process as simultaneous with an external expression of  dynamic which is also manifested in both directions.

Thus, regarding reason both as detached and transcendental and as manifested, as embodied, that is, as a means of expression of the spirit, as cosmic, impersonal, transcendental, unmanifested, but also as manifested and personalised, as existentialism would wish to demonstrate, is not paradoxical.

Ioannis Zisis, Writer

Photo from Wikimedia

[i] Adler, Alfred, Anthropognosia [Greek edition], publ. Boukoumani, 1971.

[ii] Horney, Karen, Our Inner Conflicts [Greek edition], publ. Epiphaniou, 1964.

[iii] Zisis, Ioannis, Fear of Death, Appropriation - Possession - and Their Transcendence [in Greek].

[iv] Zisis, Ioannis, The Biography of the Sign [in Greek].

[v] Levinas, Emmanuel, Totality and Infinity [Greek edition], publ. Exantas, 1989.

[vi] Axelos, Costas, Toward Planetary Thinking [Greek edition], publ. Estia Bookshop, 1996.

[vii] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time [Greek edition], publ. Dodoni, 1998.

[viii] Gumnior, Helmut & Ringguth, Rudolf, Horkheimer [Greek edition], publ. Plethron, p. 45. 1992.

[ix] Whitehead, Alfred North, Religion in the Making [Greek edition], publ. Dromon, 2009.

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