Sunday, June 11, 2006

Intrinsic vs. referential psychology

I advocate this: A complete human existence. One that recognizes the truth of the multiple levels of human nature - multiple likewise intelligences and approaches - and makes the most of them all, in the same way as the multiple paths can be used to achieve the completeness of social enterprise. I advocate man that is at once spiritual, intellectual, material, egoic and altruistic, combining all forms of self-interest and other-interest into completenss of human beingness. And for this I advocate that people partake of the mindsets that address one or another form of human existence; apply them where appropriate; and through the synthesis of these levels of human existence live and impart a full life.

The feelings and thoughts of people can be explained in reference to something else (a code; an ideology; a belief; a method); or they can be explained inherently, by looking at essences, by feeling the feelings themselves. The first results in abrasion; the second results in compassion. And it is the second method that is the only one capable of producing people that are not only true, but also emotionally complete.

The error that keeps creeping into psychology, despite the actions of Rogers's and May's and Fromm's of the world, is that of projecting the method used to understand the mind, onto the mind, and then judging the mind rather than understanding it in case its own methods differ. Allow me to explain what I'm talking about. The scientific method is a path toward understanding things; that requires a particular kind of logic. In studying things other than mind, it is fine; but when one approaches the mind FROM THE POSITION OF the scientific method, he is easily subject to this error: Comparing the mind's processes to the process (scientific method) he uses in studying the mind; and judging them when they are inevitably found to be run by a different logic, the way one would judge other-than-scientific approach within the laboratory.

Which leads of course not to exploration but to judgmentalism. Anything that is run by a logic that either is not of the scientific method or that the scientific method cannot be found to understand, becomes an "issue." The logic of science gets interjected into the mind, squashing its own processes in the process. Compassion goes; so does imagination. And the result is projection of human perfection as someone with the mentality of a brick (and the physical and emotional qualities that are commensurate with that mentality), and vicious attack on anything that is more alive - or rarefied, or exquisite, or inspired, or passionate, or indeed attuned to the higher logic of life.

What logic indeed motivates a flower? Is a flower linear? How could it be? A flower is the following things: Individual (with none like the other); intricate; multifaceted; tender; and delicate. What logic? The logic of consummation - of being one's best, as fruition, fulfillment and justification of the species; which being best is necessary both to consummate and to lead to the future. The logic? An integrative logic, combining the CONSUMMATION with CONTINUITY. The attainment of the species, and a link to the times to come. That's no "issue." That's how the thing is made - rightly so - and instead of dissecting it why don't you look at what's in front of you and see the actual logic by which it runs.

Which is quite different from assaying things from the position of (and in reference to) the mindset running the discipline. Understanding human feelings in their essence is quite different from assaying them in reference to a code or a norm. I've made it my job to experience all kinds of feelings that I understand them directly. And it is only through this process that anything close to understanding can possibly be achieved.

Another persistent error in assaying people is that of continually doing so in reference to a norm. A cat is seen to be perfect not by being of a norm, but by being the best she can be as a fruition of her own potential. But a human being is seen to be perfect when he or she fulfills one or another normative function. Which means that people's minds are expropriated and put in service of one or another usurpatory construct. But what it means most of all is that any true perfection - perfection as attainment of one's possibility - is destroyed, while a cask is imposed at the top to shove people under a crucifix.

There was a woman on the Net who said that she lusted after the criminal element. One person - operating from the standpoint of one or another supposed norm (one of course out of millions developed through history) - said that the fact she lusted after scum meant that she was scum. He defined her feelings in reference to his perspective: One that claims that criminals are scum (while heartless, malicious, abusive bullies like him are not). Someone else - operating from a psychological self-esteem paradigm, in which all bad things are a result of people thinking poorly of themselves and if they feel better about themselves they will magically become the citizens they want them to be - said that her problem was low self-esteem. He, once again, defined her feelings in reference to his perspective: That of self-esteem psychology, in which all is about self-esteem and feelings are functional to it. But none bothered to look at how her feelings actually were experienced. What made the criminal element attractive to her? Was it some erotic fascination, with people who have discarded all bonds and are indulging in the forbidden? Was it some kind of freedom from things she either could not identify or ones she could? Did she herself feel like a criminal? To claim it her being scum, or to claim it low self-esteem, did not explain how it felt inside. And to see psychologists, who are supposed to understand such things, time and again rejecting compassion and falling into the trap of projecting one or another form of judgmentalism or lack of compassion ("Compassion went out of passion, that's all your concern meant") or mechanistic thinking, is to see a problem endemic to the profession, and that can only be overcome, not by only externally observing feelings, but by internally feeling them.

To reiterate: A feeling is not known unless it is felt. It does not exist by reference to a norm or an ideology; but in its own right and according to its own logic. And projecting one or another form of logic on mind, and judging it when it is seen to be run by a different logic, is not science but bigotry. Indeed it is a betrayal of scientific spirit; whether it comes under name of rationality or self-esteem or anything else. Examining the mind and being the mind are two different things; and the logic of the second need not legitimately accord with the first. Indeed it may have a logic whose intricacy blows your mind; and attacking that is a hideous error.

An error that is just another manifestation of a still bigger error, to which humanity has been prone for centuries: Of assuming all people to be the same and treating them likewise. That is a projection, once again, of one or another mindset upon something that runs by its own. Not only does that result in destruction of liberty, but it results furthermore in degradation of the world and all people in it. The categorical imperative involved is that of creating gray and lifeless society. And the solution to that is this:

I do the next person no favors by treating them the way I want to be treated.

I do the next person favor by treating them the way they want to be treated.

And in this I honor the next person's individuality and preserve it.

And that is the categorical imperative I seek to serve.


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