=1 "Sinner or god?"
Sinner or god?
For the last 2,000 years western psychology has limited itself largely to fighting against sin. This utter disregard of the true nature of man has rendered the race, from top to bottom, inside and outside, neurotic. How many believers in sin can be considered normal healthy beings? The theory of sin, even if they are not aware of it, has been so well anchored in their subconscious that each violation of hoary taboos becomes a cause of psychosomatic illness.
How many men in a million possess real psychological knowledge – that means, who have been introduced to their soul, their inmost being? Most have only some vague notions from their childhood religious instruction, superstitious beliefs dressed in all the materiality and grossness of hell fire and paradise joys taken over from a primitive barbaric age. And those who do not believe have hardly less primitive ideas about libido, super-egos and ids.
Conservative theologians show a materialism in their ideas of the soul which would make an atomic scientist blush for shame. Perhaps it is this materialism in religion which makes so many people profess atheism.
Yet the ancient fathers of the race possessed a considerable knowledge, a rich inheritance of wisdom and of true psychological understanding. But this knowledge had to go underground before an aggressive church with its doctrine that man has only one soul, a sinful one, and that that soul, absolutely independent and separate from all other souls, went all alone to heaven or to hell when a man died. But mainly man was a body, made like a clay pot (was it for some divine joke?) and filled to the brim, from the moment he was born, with sin and weakness. That was the reason man was condemned to work all his life, and then – because after all God was love – he was allowed into purgatory. Even children were taught that they were born sinners.
Such catastrophical teaching could not but have catastrophical results – witness the unending religious wars, the autodafes to save men's souls, and finally as a boomerang of the conception of a superior or chosen people, the horror of the concentration camps.
Not only is every child of that psychology eternally at war with everyone else, but also at war with himself. It is difficult to imagine a psychology more deadly and more demoniacal. Pick out any newspaper at random and count the number of crimes which are spread across the pages – of course with the intention of edifying the virtuous and deterring the wayward. What the Aztecs did in sacrificing living beings to the gods, this psychology has surpassed in pushing its ignorant followers into continuous crime and suicide. The spectacle of so-called sinners burned, hanged or decapitated ad majorem gloria dei passes all imagination. Throughout the whole of the Middle Ages it was a rare thing for anybody to die peacefully of old age.
Was there any teaching of how to meet your soul? Any knowledge of the different states of consciousness? Any instruction in the techniques of meditation, the keys to the gates of ecstasy? Few even who discovered the techniques for themselves escaped being burned at the stake. The Aztecs at least had the excellent reason that they needed to feed their gods, and so everybody, including the victim, could be happy.
This glorious psychology finally found its culmination, its terminal transfiguration, when Freud discovered that the famous soul which you had to save by so much pain was nothing else than libido – a natural conclusion for a civilization which took the tickling of the libido as a principal and sufficient reason for being condemned to life on earth at all. And so their whole universe had only a single purpose: punishment.
Marxism, another child of this psychology, came not to liberate the proletariat from work. No, only to force the capitalist Adam to work also. And in capitalist countries anybody who assumes that the fall of Adam does not concern him – that he is still living in paradise, and that work is for him not a punishment but participation in a divine creation – would very likely be sent to the psychiatrist, the ‘soul-healer’.
This may be too dark a picture of our psychological heritage. Certainly there have always been shining attempts, in action and in consciousness, to go beyond its limitations, and always an aspiration for a future transcendence. A psychology of the future will build its theories along certain indispensable lines.
The soul of man will again be an integral part of the continuum of the universe.
Psychologically a man is even more different from other man than he is mentally or physically.
There can be equality only when he has become integrated, when he knows his soul. Future theory will account for that fundamental inequality, will admit the possibility of the psychologically underdeveloped who aspire to become psychologically developed.
It will have to make a place for free will in the transcendence of a soul.
It will have to liberate man from all fear of the future and give him at the same time enough incentive to develop his psychic capacity.
The ancient ideas of greatness of soul, of height, of vastness of soul, light of soul, may well be the points of departure for this new psychology. All idea of sin or punishment must make room for the luminous truth based on the oneness of all souls, and the simple fact that ‘the other fellow – that's me’.
The psychology of the future will develop precise conceptions about true education of children, about how to re-educate a-social beings, the retarded, and the sick. It will restore to man his divinity – that which the church has taken away from him in spite of the words of Christ: “Does not your law say, you are gods?”