One thing I know for sure and it is this: That it is almost impossible to hold two contradictory ideas and/or principles simultaneously in your mind and stay sane. This fact constitutes a clear psychological principle that can be carefully exploited by certain treatment modalities to gain the desired result. For the most part what trying to hold two contradictory principles/views/ideas does to the average person is to produce something referred to as cognitive dissonance.
However, all this is not to say that it is impossible but that it is very, very difficult and indeed will maybe drive some people over the edge into that state of extreme agitation referred to as insanity. The mixed messages theory of schizophrenia makes use of this fact to try to somewhat explain that particular disorder or at least certain varients of it by as usual blaming parents for their screwed up kids as if there were never ever any other outside the home forces that could affect children.
There has always been this idea kicking around in the minds of many people that there is indeed a fine line between genius and insanity. What the hell is that about, you might ask, and how can such a thing be possible, and what the hell does such a saying indicate about the mental processes of such individuals?
That’s a big question that I will try to answer as best I can by suggesting that we carefully consider the fact that the dialectical process that Hegal spoke of as taking place withing societies and civilizations is in fact an actual mirror of the mental processes involved in some modes of higher thought.
Many people do indeed learn how to use reason and logic in this way to achieve a higher order of thought and some professional scholars/philosophers/theoriticians would suggest that this constitutes a higher order of spirituality. Indeed I hold with Rene Guenon, the French philosopher of the occult, that intellectualism is the highest form of spirituality.
Since according to Jung, religion (a least the organized varient) constitutes the enemy of all true spirituality, it is easy to see why any country or people who claim to be the most religious on Earth may in fact be the most hateful in regard to the expression of any real spiritual attitude or principle. For that is all that we can have toward something so nebulous and deeply psychological that it can only be comprehended and understood though the symbolism that it has produced down through the ages that have recorded its existence and growth.
Of course, the dialectical process has been around since time immemorial and the fact that most people do not really have a clue as to what it is or what is meant by that term gives some indication of the low level of thought in America today and even in the West more generally in regard to their own cultural traditions. The contradiction of course is that this very process of thought began in the West with the ancient Greeks and their personal and societal quest for knowledge. The seemingly “argumentative” method employed by Socrates and sometimes maybe misconstrued by contemporary thought leaders is how the dialectical method of instruction works in practice.
Thesis + antithesis = synthesis if the process is carried out correctly and of course it always is within the larger social sphere where this natural process takes place through the workings of contradictory forces that would seem to be irreconsilable.
We see this natural force at work today all throughout the world in the collision of capitalism with what Marx once articulated as communism whose real meaning has become distorted to the point that that word has lost the credibility that it once had. Of course, the same can be said for capitalism since most people have not even the slightest idea as to what that term really means. In fact today the marketplace has become an idol of worship and the focus of everything today that goes by the name of religion is merely the idolatrous worship of that false god.
Indeed, we hear so many people say that they “have faith in the system” meaning, in fact, that they are worshipers of this idol called “the marketplace.” Some people are prone to saying that they have faith in “God” but the god that they have faith in is really the marketplace and the mechanisms thereof that without any kind of intervention, divine or otherwise, will in all probability maybe lead to the destruction of the entire human race and perhaps the planet for the sake of the greed of a few hundred billionaires.
That, of course, is stating something in very stark terms that may seem overly alarmist, but nevertheless the point is that two worlds are constantly in collision-the world of the past and present with the unknown and inevitable world of the future. And so a synthesis of these worlds in collision is about to maybe occur in a way that no one can really expect and or appriciate because of the vast scale involved.
I like to think(and/or fantasize) that if you took all the super-computing power available today such as the ten square acres of underground super-computing power at the NSA Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland and linked it up with all other such super-computing nodes throughout the world, that the so called experts could actually probably not come up with the kind of accurate picture of the shape of things to come that the scientific community demands.
In other words, the working out of historical forces is pretty much akin to “sausage making”and reality itself is unpredictable. Just ask Karl Popper!
Since man is the microcosm of the Universe what is acted out on the larger stage of human existence is mirrored nonetheless in his psyche.
That is the power and the priviledge that we all enjoy as a result of being human. We are the consciousness of the Universe and a physicist is really just the Universe’s way of looking at itself!
If religion is indeed the enemy of spirituality what can we do to defeat this enemy? We can exercise our freedom. That is our real connection to the Divine. We become participants in the Divine act of creation when we exercise our freedom in a responsible and thoughtful manner. The right of each and every individual to fully participate in the Divine act of creation through the full exercise of their innate freedom has been discouraged down through the ages by all authoritarian social structures.
It was Erich Fromm who pointed out in his book The Sane Society that for generations the working masses in the so called Western democracies have been socially conditioned by the need to conform to what he referred to as anonymous authority if they expected to meet with any kind of success in life. A person who refused to bow down to this false idol soon became a social outcast and more often than not was labeled as being “mentally ill” with the principle diagnosis usually being some varient of schizophrenia. In the DSM-IV-TR schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are listed on Axis I while schizoidal personality disorders are listed as Axis II disorders.
The fear of being diagnosed as “mentally ill” kept most people on the straight and narrow path in an era where patients generally diagnosed with such disorders were often subjected to pre-frontal lobatamies on a pretty routine basis. Other forms of “mental health” torture were also applied so routinely that the people who worked in these medically approved killing fields became inured to the suffering that they routinely inflicted on other human beings and always had convenient ways to justify it. The fact of the matter is that once a person had set foot on the locked down wards of these insane and diabolically evil institutions they were no longer considered human. This is a fact.
Indeed the whole pseudo medical industry that developed around the treatment of people with “mental illness” was pretty much akin to the “treatment” of witches at the hands of the Inquisition during the middle ages. The idea being that torture would help these poor lost souls come to Jesus whence they could be quickly killed so as to attain their salvation. There really isn’t a big difference in the logic employed to justify both situations. The anthropology of the social disorder is the same, i.e. the need to find a special class of victims to act as scapegoats for the deficiencies of the culture and the overall dis-ease that these deficiencies caused in the culture.
Man as the microcosm of the Universe implies many things that clinical psychologists such as Jung tried to come to terms with. One of the things that Jung worked successfully to explain was what some people would call occult phenomenon and others might put under the heading of “parapsychological” which is to say that a reasonably sound scientific theory can be said to exist in regard to such things. The crowning jewel in Jung’s life was his theory of Synchronicity that is both complex and elegant and something truly revolutionary. To understand this theory is to find the key that will unlock many doors to the unknown and the unexplainable.
Another towering genius of the twentieth century was the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
Pere Teilhard’s life was a true gift to the human race. No words can give proper credit to this man’s life and work. He trancended space and time to put forward a theory of life, the Universe, and man’s role in it that has effectively resolved the conflict between religion and science. It has cast evolution in a whole new light that sees evolution as a force not only governing biological development but the unfoldment of the entire Universe. In essence it is the mechanism of creation that the so-called “creationists” reject because they reject not only the future and the spiritual but Christ himself who Fr. Teilhard saw as the omega point of our unfolding Universe.
A work in progress is always more difficult to comprehend that the final product. As an agnostic I found myself as much challenged by Teilhard de Chardin as I was by Richard Dawkins. Every day I am a different person and Ouspensky’s idea that we think of our ego as one, but in reality it is really thousands of little “I”s that change constantly not only throughout the day but over a lifetime as well.