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The Ancient Light in Modern Psychology - старонка 18

Seb. In ancient depiction of truth and reality under nature symbols the soul that came to

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animate the animal man was presented to thought as veritably a star of divine life, light and energy descending from the heavens to inhabit a physical body. The symbol of a soul coming down to earth was the falling star, along with the imagery of the evening sun sinking into the earth or water.

The logic that supported the ancient mind in its assurance of the soul's immortality was simple and natural. The soul was a fragment of the divine life, energy and mind of God himself. As such it was as indestructible as the whole of which it was a germinal or seminal portion. As the whole visible world of manifestation was generated and sustained by the energies of cosmic mind, and mind generated it cyclically and periodically, surely mind was the eternal force behind the series of appearing and disappearing manifestations. The worlds might fade away again and again, but mind remained to create them anew. And the fragments of cosmic mind did not sally forth into cosmic adventure and undergo the stress and strain of incarnation merely to throw away all their hard and slowly won gains at the end of each sojourn in body. The ancients knew how life and mind husbanded and preserved the fruits and harvests of victories won in the battle with matter. With the closing up of the Platonic Academies in the fifth century and the utter suppression of the systems of esoteric philosophy for fifteen centuries the world of the west was left to drift along the historical road entirely without the pilotage of guiding wisdom. The horrendous record of those centuries bears testimony to the fatal consequences of despoiling human life of an enlightened philosophy.

Psychoanalysis now enters the arena of human striving after truth and knowledge and its discovery of the unconscious marks one of the great forward steps out of the murks of medieval errancy and obfuscation of mind. It supplies empirical data to corroborate what could be sensed only by enlightened philosophical vision, that the decay of philosophy precipitates minds into conditions of neurotic instability. This is the recovery of an item of knowledge that was well established in Plato's day and is one of the few real advances

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toward higher culture made in the modern age. Ancient Greek thought regarded the soul in incarnation as having lost her true bearings under the illusive dominance of fleshly concerns and as wandering in a fog of ignorance, from which state she was only to be redeemed to knowledge and true intelligence by philosophy. Philosophy was held to be the true knowledge of divine things. The soul, it was affirmed, could not relate itself properly to its task in incarnation if it totally lacked the assurance of its divine origin, the nature and value of its mission to earth and the general scheme and purport of its evolutionary enterprise. Philosophy was the essential foundation of moral rectitude, of equanimity and stability of mind and of the good life in general.

It is quite important to note what Chandler Bennitt has to say in his work The Real Use of the Unconscious. He is discussing healing, but sets it over, as a special technique, against "understanding," or what could be called philosophy:

"Healing is not understanding. At long last it is always something less. In the living sense in which I use understanding, the most final statement of the case is not that we must be healed if we would understand, nor even that we must understand in order to be healed; it is that understanding is its own way and its own god where healing is not, and that as we increasingly understand in our entire being, whatever must still be left to the specific technique of healing will be less and less a vital matter. Meanwhile I believe that even in what are accepted therapeutic issues, it will more and more be recognized that the individual cannot cooperate in the healing medical realities where their application contravenes his still more fundamental sense of things."

What Mr. Bennitt here denominates understanding and again refers to as a "still more fundamental sense of things" is equivalent to what the ancient sages termed philosophy. His evaluation of it as a more basic and essential element in the psyche than any temporary or specific influence employed in healing is a discernment matching the ancients' knowledge of its place deep in the core of human being. This observation of Bennitt's should stand as a re-

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buke and corrective for much modern spiritual-cult preachment and practique. Eccentric religionism has given a tremendous vogue to the notion that physical healing is the indisputable proof of the rightness of the cult philosophy in whose name the healing is performed. Not only is this not so, according to this psychoanalyst, but the vital truth is that the healing is always less important than the philosophy. The thing of intrinsic value is always the understanding in its deepmost issues. It is the eventual determinant of the individual's health or his need of healing. Understanding is ultimately the ruling factor in the individual's life, and healing is only an effort to rectify disturbance when understanding has not held a true grip on the life.

It is evident, on this analysis, that there lies buried deep in the organism a sense and apperception of values in incarnational life that transcends by far the welfare of the body and its illness or health. Again it must be granted that such values must be connected with a part of man that does not perish with the body. These values do not rise and fall in any immediate or direct parallelism with the rise and fall of the condition of the body. They are obviously not fully enhanced by the body's healthiest state nor deflated by its worst condition. Bennitt ventures to assert that they verily transcend the issue of life and death alike.

"Our life object is not merely not to die, nor even to live long and healthily. It is to attain the ultimate realness . . . our daily aim is further and more deeply to integrate our existence . . . as we go. It is with these finalities and these practicalities that I am concerned."

And he adds:

"Greatly as any individual in trouble may desire to be well, he will do this only for something further. I automatically assume that any patient has a sense of his business in life as something beyond health. This business includes his deepest total connection with reality."

No healing can come, he states further, through any specific medical or psychological technique, when the individual's evolution-

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ary status is such that frustrations and troubles can be handled "only by the realities of advance in a living understanding, and not merely by those of ill health and cure." And such guidance from the inner daimon, he says, "can be given only by an individual who is himself deeply in touch with meaning." Meaning is indeed the touchstone of the whole matter. The mind that can not discern the forms of meaning into which the events of life and the cosmos fall is little better than a piece of flotsam on the moving wave. It is heading for imminent wreckage. Indeed Bennitt expresses a climactic maxim when he says that "truth must make not only sense, but significance; it must be not only clear, but meaningful."

All this is cardinal truth, and well spoken. Bennitt is on the right track; modern psychology at last is on the right track. The new science of semantics is an important formulation. Meaning, even transcending significance, is the keynote of the modern mental movement. There are issues that lie deeper than even health and success in the worldly sense, that are not, necessarily, met and satisfied with a healthy body and a long life. These must be the concern of some other portion of man than his external self, for health and long life would pretty completely fulfill the main needs of bodily man. By inference they must appertain vitally to the history of the ego-soul. And this is the unconscious. The ego has his own interests. He is wrestling doubtless with the exigencies and crises, the halts, impasses, deadlocks, obstructions, frustrations that mark his progress on the upward road. As his life is subterranean to that of the body he tenants, the symptoms which these contingencies bring to manifestation in some form of disturbance in the life may not be obvious or clear to the outer mind. Hence the need of a special technique that probes beneath the surface phenomena to locate the more esoteric and occult origin of inharmony. This technique is the special discovery and implement of psychoanalysis.

If the new approach of modern psychology to spiritual esotericism through the discovery of the unconscious is not beaten down and obscured and again lost by the oppression of crude mechanistic

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philosophies so rampant in the age, this period of history will be catalogued by later analysts as marking the dawn of the recovery of ancient truth after sixteen centuries of benightedness. For now again, as in ancient times when wisdom reigned, the part of the divine soul in human life, in its health and in its ills, is recognized and healing practice embraces a technique which penetrates to the inner seat of the soul instead of treating merely the outward superficial symptoms. The body is in Greek soma and the soul is psyche. Perhaps it is yet a long way to the place where in the treatment of human maladies psychology based on the soul will be the most effective curative agency and philosophy the perennial preventative medicine.

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CHAPTER XII

THE CHILD IS FATHER OF THE MAN

It has been a maxim of both biology and philosophy that each individual recapitulates in the early or initial stages of its growth the entire previous phylogenetic history of the species to which it belongs and indeed that of all zoölogical evolution. This is to say that each new individual in the stream of evolving life quickly retraces in its birth and early growth the biological history of the race from monocell up to the complex and differentiated forms at the point it itself occupies. The childhood of the individual then republishes the long-past childhood of the race. The human foetus clearly exhibits the stages of unicell, multicell, worm, reptile, bird, vertebrate, mammal and all intermediate forms up to the human as at present constituted. It would have been thought that the knowledge of a principle of evolution so pregnant with intimation as this should have yielded more patent discovery and application than it seems to have done.

That it has come forward as a principle of elucidation and understanding in the field of psychoanalysis, however, is one of the robust attestations of the great basic rightness and fruitfulness of this modern development in psychology. In full view of the profounder aspects of the human psyche revealed by this new science it will not come as a surprise that psychoanalytic research has discovered almost the principle keys and solutions of the complexities of mental problems in the previously disdained terrain of childhood. The chief clues to the unbalance and irrationality manifesting in adult life are generally to be traced back to inhibitions and frustrations in childhood. The experiences undergone even in infancy are seen to set the stage for abnormalities that come to the surface in

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later life. The child conditions the man. Childhood comes first and through the intense sensitiveness of its consciousness to impressions and its durable retention of memories it in reality gives birth to the adult man. Men and women are but grown children. The substance of mind can be said to be in childhood quite plastic, hardening and crystallizing, however, as childhood passes. The impressions made upon it in its tenderer condition at the start become solidified for permanency and fix the life habitudes over the pattern of the first molds. He who can bend the twig has shaped the tree. He who conditions the child has formed the man.

In the course of time it was destined that psychological investigations should seek the causes of mental abnormality back in the individual's childhood. The evidences of this connection were abundant and would not forever miss discovery. The finding was delayed only by the inveterate recalcitrancy of the modern mind to the wisdom of the past. Principles announced in the tomes of archaic mastership would all along have furnished modern research with the fundamenta of discovery and a true psychological science. For every fresh revelation coming from present-day study in the field of psychology is but a re-affirmation of data known of old.

Such a splendid work as Jung's The Psychology of the Unconscious is largely an elucidation of the symbols and dramatizations found occurring in the dreams of his patients, and all approached and systematized through a comparative analysis of them with the stories and formulations of ancient mythology! The world has not yet appreciated the significance of this correlation. That a psychoanalyst should have to resort to the allegedly fanciful if not fantastic constructions of such products of racial child-mindedness as mythology and folk-lore for keys and formulae by which to reach a comprehension of the dreams of a modern young woman, has not been measured in its true dimensions of significance. And that the same psychologist has been able to announce that he has, in life-long study, found the same set of symbols promenading in the dreams of his modern patients as he has found in the whole field

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of ancient religious symbolism, in the Bibles and folk-lore of the nations to remote antiquity, is again a fact which has not found its true evaluation. The obfuscations of medieval benightedness still dim our vision and make us slow to recognize great truth even when we stand in its very doorway.

We stand, then, face to face with these great determinations: the basic conditioning factors in the individual's psychological life are established largely in childhood and, for purposes of later rectification, must be re-located and dealt with through adult correction of infantile fixations; the propensities and instincts dominating the child mind, and thus clinching their hold on the whole of the life period of the individual, are both analogous and directly kindred to the instincts and proclivities of the race as a whole in its infancy, and are dramatized in consciousness by the same symbols now as then; and lastly that the whole battle in consciousness for all individuals is epitomized in the finale by the formulary that it is the eternal struggle between the reason, knowledge, intelligence and wisdom of the divine counterpart in man, that comes to open consciousness in adult life, on the one side, and the instinctive, natural, irrational, infantile forces of physical life, that dominate in the childhood period, on the other. Both in the individual and in the race as a whole, the great Battle of Armageddon goes on between the powers of adulthood and those of childhood. In the terms of Greek or Platonic philosophy it is the conflict of the higher dianoia, or thorough knowing, the genius of divine intelligence in man, with the irrational instincts of the purely animal nature, which man shares by virtue of his body. The forces that build the body must have play first; the powers of mind come later to unfoldment, to be the king and ruler of those natural energies, to employ them for its purposes rationally determined.

The childhood of the race, as of the individual, develops the natural man, whom Paul says comes first; the adult period brings the mind to function, so that the forces of nature may come under the direction of intelligence and be made the agencies of the creation

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of a cosmos out of an elementary chaos. Life must first deploy the forces that build the universe physically and then evolve the mind to direct them in the accomplishment of its purposed ends. Mind itself must have its genesis in physical nature. It is brought to birth in the womb of matter. Just as solar energy is neither light, heat nor kinetic power while in its pure state, but only develops these manifestations of its nature when brought into contact with a material body, so pure spirit, pure ideality, is not mind until it is harnessed, so to say, with the elemental energies found potential in the atomic matter of physical organisms. Mind can not come to function in pure abstraction, of its own sheer being. It must be the product of the forces generated in an organism. In short it must be instrumentalized in and by a brain. Life first builds its physical body, since only through the implementation of such a structure can it bring its powers of consciousness to concrete realization to and for itself. And the forces it uses to build the structure fall below the level of mind and are irrational. They are denominated in all ancient systems the elementary powers. St. Paul so clearly says that the race was under the governance of these "elementals of the earth" and "elementals of the air," or "the elements of the world," before it developed the rulership of the higher mind. And most pertinently for the interests of our exegesis he states that this "bondage to them that by nature are no gods" prevailed in the period of our evolution "when we were yet children." Then it was, he says, that "Christ died for us." True indeed, since the "death" of the Christos or divine mind principle came with its first entry into the life of body. And until that entry, in the far developed stage of biological evolution, in the old age of Mother Nature, animal man could have no knowledge of divine mind. To the truth of this analysis the three or more allegories of 2010-07-19 18:44 Читать похожую статью
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