"Every Psychology has the Character of a Subjective Confessions!" In 1933, the famous psychologist-psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, made an incredibly astute and accurate observation that at that at his time the scientific understanding of religion was limited to “the testimony of a few individuals.” He goes on to say, "Our way of looking at things is conditioned by what we are" (my underlining) and these individuals tend to “see things differently and express themselves differently.” And in the end, as Carl Jung emphasizes, “every psychology – my own included - has the character of a subjective confession.” (Jung, 1933, pp. 116-118). (p. 420) That is, much of what psychologists write is, in effect, often no more than informed opinions. That would seem especially true in analyses of spirituality and religion.
The perfect example of a theory, which is completely and entirely “subjective” and “opinion,” would be Freud’s theory that the Oedipal Complex, which would be the “instinctual drive” of a son to overthrow or kill the father (and have an incestual relationship with his mother) was the underlying drive that created religious beliefs. For instance, Freud argued that the Oedipal Complex, the instinctual drive of a son to overthrow-kill his father (and have an incestual relationship with his mother, is the drive at the core of formation of religious beliefs and religion (p.159 Anthro Studies). Freud stated that "the beginnings of religion, ethics, society, and art meet in the Oedipus complex (p.159 Anthro studies). Brian Morris, in Anthropological Studies of Religion, also emphasizes that the "positivist tradition" unequivocally argued that Freudian analysis was dependent completely on interpretation and anecdotal information, which drastically departed from "the model of the physical sciences." (p.154) That is, in a nutshell, Freud’s Oedipal Complex is a complete fabrication. There is not one shred of hard evidence and not one study to support Freud’s wild conjecture. It is totally and completely Freud’s opinion – nothing more.
The prominent psychologist John Bargh (PhD), in his book, "Before You Know It," Bargh describes, a bit ironically in view of the discussion about Freudian unconscious drives, how, in truth, much of Freud's concepts and ideas are pretty twisted. Bargh observes that "while his [Freud's] emphasis on unconscious drives was without a question a ground shaking insight, in effect Freud demonized the unconscious operations of the normal mind, claiming that each of us harbored a separate unconscious netherworld of dark, twisted urges that we could exorcise only through psychotherapy.....,.In his extensive and detailed theorizing, Freud presented the unconscious mind as a seething cauldron of maladaptive complexes bent on causing trouble and grief, which could only be overcome through the intervention of our conscious mind." (p.11-12) And there is not one piece of evidence and not one single fact to support his Oedipal Complex, yet still many people accept Freud’s obviously twisted ideas which mean little or nothing relevant and still claim Freud is some kind of genius. It took one hundred years for a psychologist to stand up and say, "You know the Oedipal Complex may not be all that good an idea after all.
I should note that, while some psychologists and psychoanalysts argue that Freud's Oedipal Complex is actually about a boy's sexual attraction to his mother, I seriously doubt if many ‘ordinary’ people would be able to actually make that fine of a distinction - especially emotionally. Stories are narratives and there is now an entire school of thought of narrative psychology which has shown how effective stories can be. So, one has to look at the core meaning of the Oedipal story and myth. On the face of it, and how many would likely emotionally read it, in a Freudian context, the Oedipal complex is, a story about a son murdering his father and fornicating with his mother. It is well-known that Freud intensely disliked religions and the Oedipal Complex is a thinly veiled attack that did actually effectively sabotage and undermine religious beliefs. In this day and age to include Freud’s Oedipal Complex at all shows a complete lack of concern for the underlying message and, in my mind, shows complicity of the authors with Freud’s pretty blatant, actually, sabotage of spirituality and religious beliefs.
Freud versus Durkheim and Frankl
The ‘Psychology of Religion’ textbooks-books which I reviewed all refer to Freud and his Oedipal Complex. Furthermore all the ‘Psychology of Religion’ books that refer to Freud, rather incredibly, completely leave out Emile Durkheim, a founding father of sociology. It seems a bit strange – and unprofessional, in my mind – if not downright bizarre - that ‘Psychology of Religion’ textbooks and books, such as Wulff’s Psychology of Religion, Paloutzian and Park’s Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Fontana’s Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality, Fraser Watts Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality: Concepts and Applications, all talk about Freud and his explanation of religion and completely leave out Emile Durkheim. I say, only partly tongue in cheek, that, perhaps, a reason might be that to psychologists of religion, Durkheim was a lowly sociologist?
Collective Consciousness, the Function of Religion and Emile Durkheim
Emile Durkheim was a founding father of sociology. In The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, first published in 1912, Emile Durkheim stated that "A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, i.e., things set apart and forbidden—beliefs and practices which unite in one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them. (The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life) It should be noted that Durkheim' concept of the "sacred", which he viewed as the defining concept of religion, is very similar to how many view spirituality - as the ideas that appear to have no ordinary worldly explanation and which inspire awe and produce feelings of reverence.
Durkheim's theory stated that religion was the most fundamental social institution of humankind, and further, that religion gave birth to social-religious beliefs that later became integrated into the social structure. Durkheim felt that social interaction was the pivotal factor of forming society and that religious beliefs are a major influence on social interactions - and thus essential to the formation of 'society.'
The fact that religions have consistently advocated ideals such as compassion, justice, righteousness, as well as truth, would seem to lend strong support to Durkheim's arguments. That is, the synergies between social factors and religious influences, which emerged simultaneously in primitive societies, produced a collective consciousness - a social-religious community as it were. Emile Durkheim's concept of the collective consciousness predated Jung's concept of a collective unconscious by several decades, and Durkheim forcefully argued that it was an essential characteristic of society, without which society could not properly function. Durkheim argued that the norms, beliefs, and values of the group - and of society - effectively formed a collective consciousness - a system mutually agreed to values which would seem to have a minimal autonomous functioning - which then produced the "social integration" that is a prerequisite of any social integrity.
As Karen Armstrong noted in The Case for God, the first evidence for human “ideologies” can be found in the prehistoric cave paintings of “shamans” in the French and Spanish caves dating as far back as twenty or thirty thousand years. Shamans created ceremonies marking the rites of passage of people – the births, deaths, marriages, sickness, as well as rites of passage from adolescence to adulthood. In ‘primitive’ societies, it would seem readily apparent that the religious and social structure were highly integrated. For instance, in the tribes of the Australian Aborigines, anthropologists observed that natives explained their actions most frequently by citing “tradition.” Traditions most frequently emerge from religious rituals, of course.
For better or worse, the “supernatural” beliefs were the first philosophies and scientific theories of humanity. One should remember that at that time ‘everything’ – the entire world – was completely unknown and therefore “supernatural.” The ancient Mesopotamian religious priests were, in fact, the first astronomers. With the Old Testament came the prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Micah, Hosea, and so on who advocated concepts and ideals such as compassion, justice, truth, righteousness, and so on. Without question the Old Testament prophets made a significant contribution to the social structure of society. So, contrary to Freud’s theory which has no supporting facts or evidence, there would appear to be readily at hand a fair amount of evidence for Durkheim’s theory that religions gave birth to society.
As I mentioned earlier, many social Ideals are derived from sacred religious scriptures and there are numerous examples in Old Testament Prophecy. A number of Old Testament Prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, and Zechariah, all who advocated ideals, such as justice, would seem to present, at minimum, some strong anecdotal facts and information that could be viewed as supporting the Durkheim’s argument that religious beliefs are heavily engaged in social processes defining right and wrong as creating social ideals. Furthermore, as William Gould notes, the famous philosopher Kant firmly believed that conscience is "the representative within us of the divine judgment-seat: it weighs our dispositions and actions in the scales of a law which is holy and pure..." (Kant Ethics, p.133) (WG p.55) William Gould observed that "Frankl insists that the noetic [spiritual] dimension gives the self the power to choose what one will be and what one will be and what one will become. A noetically empowered conscience is the key." (WG p.41) Frankl put a slightly different spin on "conscience" than Kant, and emphasized that "Only conscience is capable of adjusting the 'eternal' generally agreed upon moral law to the specific situation a concrete person is engaged with." (p.41 WG) However the bottom line is that the spiritual process and the 'eternal divine drive' is responsible for creating the ideals and morals of society.
Putting New Spin on Old Ideas: Spiritual Processes Create Meaning!
While, here and there, psychologists, such as the prominent positive psychologist, Paul Wong, who highlighted Viktor Frankl's argument that spiritual processes generate and create meaning, have brought precisely that issue up, overall the idea that spiritual processes generate meaning appears to have been largely overlooked, in the grand scheme of things. In fact, on close examination, in the writings of the iconic psychologists, William James, Carl Jung, Viktor Frankl, Emile Durkheim, and Clifford Geertz, there is a rather remarkable consensus that (largely unconscious) spiritual processes generate and create meaning. William James took it one step further and pointed out that it would follow that spiritual experiences and spiritual processes, besides creating meaning, would necessarily, also, create a "sense of reality" (and thus beliefs). The argument that spiritual processes create meaning and a sense of reality and beliefs furthermore, dovetails into Emile Durkheim's argument that religion and spiritual-religious experiences gave birth to and was highly integrated into society with social-religious ideals and concepts like compassion, justice, righteousness, and so forth.
In the context of Durkheim's argument that spiritual religious beliefs created social structure - and society - in that ideals are also social constructs, the argument that spiritual-religious processes create meaning and a sense of reality dovetails into Durkheim's theory. William James, Viktor Frankl, Carl Jung, as well as Durkheim and Clifford Geertz argue spiritual processes and spiritual experiences create meaning and a sense of reality, and, by implication would seem to play a role in creating social structure since those spiritual processes would necessarily be deeply involved in religious-spiritual-social ideals such as compassion, justice, righteousness, and so on. - and, as Durkheim argued, "society" itself! Furthermore, Viktor Frankl unequivocally states that it is the spiritual processes which give birth to and create "ideas and ideals!"
Ideology and the Formation of Groups-Societies
The famous anthropologist Clifford Geertz studied the problems of emerging countries after World War II. He observed that emerging nations are frequently subject to the ‘primordial’ force of religious, ethnic, and nationalist and political ideologies. I really haven’t seen references to religions as “groups,” but that is, in fact what religions are – groups. Of course, from the extensive human history of ideology, it would be self-evident that what ideologies do is that ideologies establish - and maintain – groups. In light of that fact, it would stand to reason that, as Durkheim correctly argued, a major role of religions, especially early on was to establish groups, collectives, and, yes – societies.
It would seem clear that there is an abundance of facts and evidence that support Durkheim’s argument that religions gave birth to social structure – and society, in fact. The concept of compassion, justice, truth, as well as righteousness are prevalent in all the major religions. Needless to say, this ties into the argument of Viktor Frankl, Carl Jung, William James, Clifford Geertz, and Emile Durkheim that “spiritual processes (largely unconscious) generate and create meaning as well as a ‘sense of reality.” Furthermore, it would appear somewhat self-evident that ideologies – in this case religious ideologies – form groups (and societies). So, while there is an abundance of fats and information to back up Durkheim, no evidence has been presented that supports Freud’s Oedipal Complex.
As I pointed out earlier, The ‘Psychology of Religion’ textbooks-books which I reviewed all refer to Freud and his Oedipal Complex. Furthermore all the ‘Psychology of Religion’ books that refer to Freud, rather incredibly, completely leave out Emile Durkheim, a founding father of sociology. It seems a bit strange – and unprofessional, in my mind – if not downright bizarre - that ‘Psychology of Religion’ textbooks and books, such as Wulff’s Psychology of Religion, Paloutzian and Park’s Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Fontana’s Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality, Fraser Watts Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality: Concepts and Applications, all talk about Freud and his Oedipal Complex as an explanation of religion and completely leave out Emile Durkheim.
Furthermore, all those ‘Psychology of Religion’ books left out Viktor Frankl as well. From my research, it appears pretty clear to me that Viktor Frankl, Carl Jung, and William James did the best job when it comes to analyses of spirituality and religion. I would, personally, regard any ‘Psychology of Religion’ book which left out one of those critical psychologists as being an incomplete presentation of spirituality and religious beliefs. Following is an email (edited) which I sent to my Maryland State Representatives, MD Senator Kalusmeier and MD Delegate Bromwell.
A Brief Note about the Materialist Bias of Mainstream Psychology
I would say that, while if you talk to three different psychology professors about spirituality and religious beliefs you will likely get three different answers, it is crystal clear that the 'institution' of psychology - that "mainstream psychology," which has a definite materialist bias, without question, does, in fact, discriminates against spirituality - and especially transcendental spirituality. You know that "Materialist Psychology" is a very real and pressing issue, when you read a 700 plus page comprehensive 'History of Psychology' by Morton Hall, and find there is not have one single reference to meaning, spirit, spirituality, or even religion. I thought perhaps this could possibly been just one individual's prejudices, so I checked into my comprehensive "reference handbooks" for Self and Identity, as well as, Social Psychology. To my dismay, I discovered there was not a single reference to either spirit, spirituality, or religion.
Furthermore, from talking to university psychology professors in Maryland, doing a quick overview of courses, specialties of psychology professors, and talking to a psychology major in her last semester, it seemed to me, in thinking things over, that the universities of Maryland curriculum does appear to "mirror," to a great degree, the blatant "materialist bias" in Morton Hall's 700 plus page comprehensive 'History of Psychology.' "Mainstream Psychology," which psychologists are known to reference, would appear to have a definite "materialist bias." From talking with a UMBC professor, and looking at psychology professor's specialties. it was readily apparent to me that, unfortunately there was not only no course in spirituality, as such, bu also there was not any psychology professors in the State of Maryland who would be interested in talking to me - a somewhat depressing state of affairs, in my mind.
On top of that, anyone who does a critical analysis of how the 'Psychology of Religion' has dealt with spirituality and religion and spirituality will find it seriously lacking. For instance, leaving out the "function" of spirituality and religion, in mind, seriously distorts what spirituality and religion are all about. To start with all the 'Psychology of Religion' books talk about Freud and completely leave out Durkheim - who, as I have shown was pretty much right on target, while Freud was pretty much lost in the woods. As they say, the medium is the message - and what 'Psychology of Religion' books include - or don't include - is critical.
Brief Overview or Summary of Shortcomings in the 'Psychology of Religion'
1. How is it possible for the "Psychology of Religion" to reach a good understanding of religion if it hasn't done a decent analysis of the "Teachings" of the major religions? Any objective analysis of religion would clearly indicate that the "teachings" of religion would be a core characteristic of religious beliefs and religion - and perhaps, in a sense, a reflection of the function and purpose of religion.
The "Teachings" of the major religions throughout the world are relatively consistent in many of the pivotal concepts of their theologies: compassion, truth, justice, righteousness, and so on. To me it indicates somewhat of a lack of perspective by psychology, as it were. Not only were there no references to "Truth," which is a pivotal concept in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but, also, in most 'Psychology of Religion' books there were as many - or more - references to Freud than to "compassion." Compassion is a very prominent "teaching" in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The medium is the message - and bringing in Freud's Oedipal Complex, which, on the face of it, portrays religion and religious beliefs as a product of the instinctual urges of a son to murder his father and fornicate with his mother, while failing to bring in a decent study/analysis of the "teachings" of major religions, would be a powerful message in and of itself.
The medium is the message. The absence of a decent study/analysis of the "teachings" is a clear indication of the 'attitude" - and,. in my view, lack of perspective - of the mainstream psychologists, in general - as well as a reflection of the prominent materialist bias and academic taboo against spirituality. What the 'Psychology of Religion' communicates is that religion, religious beliefs, and spirituality are not "relevant." The extensive 2018 Barna study of the younger generations' attitude is that religion and religious beliefs are not relevant. As you may have gathered by now would be that, I, personally, believe that spirituality is, in truth, very relevant, at times to large numbers of people. of course, I should mention my understanding of spirit and spirituality is a bit off the beaten track, as it were - mostly due to my personal spiritual experiences.
1. Since Freud plays a such a visible role in 'Psychology of Religion' books, and Emile Durkheim is completely absent, it would seem readily apparent that the 'Psychology of Religion' completely failed to properly and definitively establish what the "function" of religion is. Leaving out the function of religion from the 'Psychology of Religion' would seem, on the face of it, like selling a car without an engine and just showing people an external shell and skin-deep analyses.
3. Psychology failed to follow scientific method as established by Aristotle - which would be summarized as: 1. Gather the facts 2. Categorize and classify the facts 3. Analyze the data. 4. Draw Conclusions. Psychology has not done a proper study of people who have spiritual experiences. As the religious scholar Fraser Watts states, several "surveys" have been done. Also, the psychologists Paloutzian and Park cite "numerous" surveys, which have been done, and go on to say that spiritual and transcendental spiritual experiences appear to occur relatively frequently and have some "normalcy" - but note there are some limitations to those surveys.
The positive psychologists, Kenneth J Pargament and Annette Mahoney, emphasize that, “Researchers [psychologists] have tended to study spirituality “from a distance,” relying on surveys that contain global distal measures, such as whether the individual believes in God, how often he or she goes to religious services, how often he or she prays, and his or her self-rated religiousness and spirituality……” (p. 616) In any objective sense, it wouldn't seem even remotely possible to do an in depth and complete analysis of religion and spirituality based solely on surveys. A proper or anywhere near complete study of people who have spiritual experiences has not been done, and I would be willing to bet that we know more about autistics than we know about people who have spiritual experiences.
I should emphasize that no local psychologists that I have spoken to seem to have any idea whatsoever, that, according to surveys, a fair number of people do appear to have spiritual or transcendental spiritual experiences. I have had a few transcendental spiritual-psychic experiences, one of them notarized with a few more documented, and, I can't help but comment I have gotten quite a bit of 'crap' from a fair number of people including some psychologist and especially psychiatrists solely because they have the impression that spiritual experiences and especially transcendental spiritual experiences translate automatically and necessarily into mental illness. The information from these surveys would clearly be apparently repressed and excluded from mainstream psychology due to their materialist bias I must tell you it is a bite in the butt to find out, after all these years, a lot of my pain is simply because mainstream psychology has not done their job - and the reason they haven't done their job is due pretty much to their prejudices.
Besides failing to properly gather the facts, it would appear, also, that no substantial effort was made to 'categorize" spiritual experiences. My writing focuses on spirituality and I talked about a few ideas with a couple of intelligent college graduates about the spirituality of the activist leaders like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Tolstoy, Nelson Mandela, and others. Even though these people had what I would call a 'rationalist" leaning in their thinking, I felt I would be safe on the issue of the spirituality of pivotal civic leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. I was wrong. I got two very emotional - and in my mind - irrational responses. One responded, I do not believe in spirits, spirit, religion, religious beliefs, God or anything to do with spirituality. Personally, my sense of it is that when you can't have an intelligent conversation with college educated people about the spirituality of people like Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr., then this society has a problem. I(n any case, it would seem clear that the result of the failure to categorize spiritual experiences is that All spirituality was lumped together by psychology and science and, as a result, then labeled as "superstitious nonsense."
My wife, Kathi, a lifelong Lutheran, often says that if one just looks around them at the beauty and miracle of nature and the universe, that is the ultimate "proof" of God, as it were. That "type" of spirituality appears somewhat common, and the theologian Abraham Heschel says something remarkably similar. Einstein speaks fervently about the awe inspiring universe and how the "mystery" of life and the universe inspires in him a reverence that could only be spiritual and he feels is "religious" in nature.I haven't seen that "type" of spirituality properly identified referred to in my research and reading. There are probably a very large number of different types of spirituality, in truth.
4. The 'Psychology of Religion' appears to have consistently failed to separate the chaff from the wheat, and include Feud's Oedipal Complex which is completely a fabrication as the "positivist tradition" points out, with no factual foundation whatsoever and really nothing but horses**t. The Psychology of Religion books generally, also, include Maslow. Maslow is best know for his "Hierarchy of Needs" theory (if that is what you can call it). Again, Maslow's theory, like Freud's theory is also a complete fabrication - to which many objections have been raised by many psychologists and is pretty much garbage. Maslow's idea of esteem or self-esteem being a stage in religious development has no basis in any religious literature I have seen. In fact, from a brief overview of religious literature, it would appear that "self-actualization," "self-fulfillment," and "self-esteem" have no basis in any sacred scriptures I, personally, have seen. I suspect some of the psychologists viewed themselves as the new gurus of truth and wisdom and were essentially, for all practicable purposes, presenting what would appear to be their own personal "pseudo-religion."
Again, the medium is the message, and presenting Freud and Maslow which simply are not "scientific" or "science" in any way - while leaving out Viktor Frankl - which none of the 'Psychology of Religion' books include, communicates a message that the "Truth" is not relevant or important in religious beliefs and spirituality. Personally I find including Freud, who is really pretty sick, and Maslow, who is junk, and leaving out Frankl and Durkheim incredibly offensive. Furthermore, there are some people, as an Intorduction to Psychology textbook noted who accept Maslow (and Freud still to some extent) as "gospel." As the maverick scientist Rupert Sheldrake observes, “[S]ome people have made science into a kind of religion and are often exceptionally dogmatic. They accept the scientific worldview on faith, impressed by the authority and prestige of scientists,….” (p.161)
In consideration of the fact that psychology is, in theory a "science" and as such the "truth," it seems clear that the 'Psychology of religion' has strayed pretty far off the mark in any objective sense, as it were. The academic "superstitious stigma" attached to spirituality and religion coupled with the materialist bias would appear to be excessively prevalent and powerful force in the "science" of psychology, as it were. The prominent sociologist Robert Bellah (1970b), observes that “There is no other sphere of human culture which is excluded from sympathetic academic consideration on its own terms on the grounds that such a study endangers science, reason, logic, and the whole heritage of the Enlightenment” (p.133).” (p.36)
5. If one accepts Freud's argument, arrived at apparently in one of Freud's saner moments, that the only proper approach to analyzing religion would be a 'functional" approach since the "supernatural" is beyond scientific measurement and quantification, then the studies of prayer which largely focus on the "efficacy" of prayer (whether prayer actually works or not) are obviously attempts to measure "divine intervention" - which, of course, would be outside a functional approach. A Towson University textbook on "Aging" states that studies of prayer have failed. Actually, the results are mixed and there are some which have produced positive results. The point is that since the studies were not scientific, they should not have been included at all.
6. The 'Psychology of Religion' books appear to have glossed over the argument that "spiritual processes create meaning" - an idea and concept that Viktor Frankl, Carl Jung, William James, Emile Durkheim, and Clifford Geertz all advocate, in one form or another.
"All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not the truth!"-Friedrich Nietzsche.
From my personal experiencewith mainstream psychologists and (worse) psychiatrists (I am bipolar), which revolves around transcendental spiritual experiences, and from reading much of academic psychology's writing about spirituality and religious experiences, it appears pretty clear to me, that, unfortunately Carl Jung was absolutely correct when it comes to spirituality and religious beliefs, which is to say that psychologists' theories and psychologies' are, in essence and at the core, "subjective confessions" - primarily expressions of opinions shaped by personal experiences. A Jungian once told me that people who have not had any spiritual experiences sometimes have difficulties understanding spiritual experiences, especially transcendental experiences. I believe she was pretty much on target as it were. As I said, from my research William James, Carl Jung, and Viktor Frankl seem to me to be the only ones to do a really decent job with spirituality and religious beliefs. All three of those iconic psychologists had their own personal spiritual experiences, so I feel sure knowing what one is looking for would be extremely helpful to them in searching and finding the answers.
You know, I can't help but comment that if any “psychic” researcher had published anything like the theories of Maslow and Freud, they would be immediately and vociferously declared to be "hoaxes" – especially by the National Academy of Sciences. Yet the National Academy of Sciences is perfectly fine with basing a theory of religion on the instinctual urge of a son to murder his father and fornicate with his mother. I read the National Academy of Science’s review of Russel Targ’s remote viewing research. They completely (and actually pretty viciously) trashed Targ on “methodological” flaws. They failed to note that as the parapsychologist Schwartz observes in an essay on the history of remote viewing, that all of those particular methodological errors had been addressed and corrected in subsequent research. From personal experiences as well as from researching the ‘Psychology of Religion’ it is readily apparent to me that “materialist” psychologists and scientists simply are Not objective or even-handed in their analyses of spirituality and religion. And the "materialist" viewpoint is without question in"power" at the moment!
Personal Transcendental Spiritual Experiences
Before going on to my personal spiritual experiences, I should mention that there is some research and experiments by Julia Mossbridge and Daryl Bem on presentiment and precognition which have been both repeated and successful. However, I do not rely on scientific proof to justify my experiences. Also I should note thatone of my experiences is notarized (with a FOIPA stamp) and several what I would call tags (not full blown predictions) are documented in emails, as well as a couple of dreams which appear to demonstrate some synchronicity.
My argument is that my experiences are “real” and in view of the well-known and well-proven “categorization process” in the mind (i.e. psychologists Tajfel, Turner, Hogg, Abrams, as well as a large number of other social psychologists) my beliefs, therefore, are naturally derived from ordinary processes of the brain – and perfectly healthy. The "categorization" argument dovetails with William James argument that spiritual experiences create a "sense of reality." One of the problems with transcendental spiritual-psychic experiences is that frequently people connect them with some preconceived misconceptions and sometimes really bizarre ideas, in my view, about spiritual and psychic experiences being connected with an all powerful supernatural force of some sort. . My own older sister, for example, after I shared my experiences with her emailed me that her perception was that I thought I have powers. Nothing I have ever written has even remotely suggested or even hinted that I have any powers.In my experience spiritual-psychic is primarily perception - responding to stimuli, in my case - more than anything else.
I have only had a handful of experiences, seemingly somewhat haphazard and random, though there does appear to be some consistency in that my spiritual-psychic experiences tend to be verbalizations or expressions of perceptions of threats to the group and Instinctual in nature. The prominent parapsychologists Bem and Radin also believe many of spiritual-psychic experiences are reflections of instinctual processes. In general, Carl Jung believed "spirits" are reflections of the Collective Unconscious. "Documented" precognitive experiences show,, actually that precognition is far from unlimited and generally very limited.
I should emphasize that, in my most striking and formative transcendental spiritual experience there was no blinding flash of light and the skies didn't open and God's voice descend from the clouds, I have generally regarded the transcendental aspect as a relatively small piece of the puzzle, as it were. In talking with people who have also had transcendental spiritual experiences, I found none even mentioned the transcendental aspect and usually spoke of "guidance," "judgment," or "discernment." As William Gould observes in Frankl: Life With Meaning, that Max Ferdinand Scheler, a German philosopher, argued that "The spirit guides, it does not control. Spirit helps persons understand their intentions so that they can fully make their own choices as to how and where to live." (p.87) Like Frankl, Scheler appears to give the "Will" a significant role in human consciousness.
Research into Spiritual Experiences and Transcendental Spiritual Experiences
In fact, it might be a surprise to some, but in contemporary times, spiritual experiences appear, on the face of it, to be much more common than many people might ordinarily think. The prominent positive psychologists Paloutzian and Park, in the Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, emphasize the fact that "numerous survey studies have been done" of people who have spiritual or religious experiences which has "demonstrated the normalcy" of spiritual experiences (p. 67). The religious scholar, Fraser Watts, Psychology, Religion, and spirituality: Concepts and Applications, points out that surveys show that roughly 1/3 of people report having spiritual experiences (p. 63). In one study, atheists and agnostics compromised 24% of the people surveyed who had transcendental spiritual experiences. That should be no surprise since human beings have believed in spirit and spirits for tens of thousands of years so (unconscious) spiritual processes would likely be genetically inherited among the process of the human mind. If Fraser Watts, and Park and Paloutzian statements that there are a large number of people who have spiritual and transcendental spiritual experiences and there is some "normalcy" to these spiritual experiences, then the inescapable conclusion would seem to be that the institution of psychiatry as well as "mainstream psychology" (which does, in fact, exist) have seriously skewed their data!
Lastly, I might mention that I have gotten a quite a bit of grief, at times, because of my experiences, which were both documented and real, and the rather evident repression of the studies and surveys revealed by religious scholars and positive and existential psychologists, has caused me some serious pain and anguish. If my family had known that I am not some kind of freak, they most likely wouldn't have given me the grief they did - not to mention the rather orthodox psychologists, I had the unfortunate opportunity to meet. As I said, every psychologist is a bit different and I suspect that now that I can let psychologists know about these studies, I would have much less difficulty. It is, personally, a bit disconcerting that the psychologists, and especially psychiatrists have expressed some rather, to be quite blunt, stupid, and, at times, actually ignorant observations and even diagnoses at times (I am bipolar) simply because psychologists and psychiatrists simply didn't do their jobs - they didn't do the proper research.
In any case, Mainstream psychology does, in fact have a definite "materialist bias," and a strict materialist viewpoint excludes all spirituality as well as even "meaning" (presumably materialists throw out all meaning simply on the basis that the ultimate purpose of humanity is beyond the scope of science. As the psychologists Baruss and Mossbridge observe in their book Transcendent Mind, “The problem is that materialism, and its offspring neuroscientism, are not just theories. We have already seen that they can function as worldviews and schemata. But they also function as dogma (Baruss, 1996; Bowie, 2014, Eccles, 1976; Sandelands, 2006; Tallis, 2010). Once an ideology becomes dogmatic, it is held in place by the usual mechanisms of social compliance acting within academic, scientific, and political institutions.” (TM p.24)….. “Dogma distorts science so that it no longer functions properly but devolves into scientism, an inauthentic version of science with materialism as it central tenet.” (p.24) I would argue that strict materialistic science is simply not science at all. For instance as existential and positive psychologists have already shown it is possible to measure and quantify meaning. As Carl Jung noted back in the 1930's, when it comes to psychology much of it has the character of "subjective confessions."
Daryl Bem cites a study that shows that psychologists tend to be more prejudiced about the "psychic" question than any other of the social scientists and humanitarians. I should note that all psychic research I have seen has been published in 'off-brand' or non-mainstream publications. From studying psychic phenomena there have been a substantial number of studies done in Ganzfeld, mental telepathy, precognition and presentiment. The repeated precognition experiments, as I recall, involved 100 different experiments in 90 countries involving, I believe over 1,500 subjects. J.E. Kennedy and H. Kanthamani's "Exploratory Study" of people who had transcendental spiritual-psychic experiences had a grand total of 120 subjects. There are Ganzfeld Meta-analyses, presentiment Meta-analyses, and precognition Meta-analyses. I definitely have not seen any Meta-analysis of Spiritual Experiences. I just have not seen anything at all in any of the literature about spirituality even remotely resembling the really substantial volume of experiments into psychic. Of course, the social psychologist Kay Deux did observe that, in social psychology, at least, there did appear to be a predisposition for laboratory experiments - which precluded coming to grips with the emotional characteristics of groups dynamics and group related behavior. To my knowledge there is nothing like that in studies or experiments of people who have spiritual experiences. The "science" of psychology and the U.S. government seem to care much more about the "phenomena" of psychic than people who have spiritual or religious experiences. My personal experience in trying to engage psychology professors in research into people who have spiritual experiences is that their appears to be a greater "Superstitious stigma" attached to spirituality than to even "psychic" - which is saying something.
For Perspective: "This besotted humdrum age of spiritual blindness"
I have an offbeat sense of reality and truth, so I must remark, that being "crazy" in my situation wasn't actually completely "automatic and necessary" - for me, it was really somewhat a matter of choice. Steppenwolf, the character and the central actor in the novel written by Hermann Hesse in 1927, disparages the emptiness and artificiality of his society, and proudly proclaims, "Ah, but it is hard to find this track of the divine in the midst of this life that we lead, in this besotted humdrum age of spiritual blindness, its politics, its men! .... And in fact, if the world is right, if this music of cafes, these mass enjoyments and these Americanised men who are pleased with so little are right, then I am wrong! I am crazy! (p. 48-49) So, as a spiritual person who has had some transcendental spiritual-psychic experiences in 'this besotted materialist-nihilistic age of spiritual blindness', I, also, proudly proclaim as Steppenwolf once did, "Hell, Yes! I am crazy! Thank God! And yes, I do actually truly believe in Transcendental Spirit! - as well as transcendental spiritual-psychic experiences!" I can't help but add that, "In this pretty screwed up, upside down, and often backasswards world, I'm not really entirely sure if being "completely sane" in "this pretty wacky world" would actually be all that good of an idea, after all."
I must admit that I do have a somewhat liberal and philosophical interpretation of Einstein's "theory of relativity," which I personally take to apply to social reality, as well as human consciousness - meaning that truth, as well as, sanity is somewhat a matter of perspective and understanding! As Carl Jung observed, "The real Truth is the Truth that works!" A materialist or rationalist worldview would Not work for me - at all, Ever! However, as my wife, no doubt, would readily testify, the way I think would likely be helpful to very few people - if any at all. Being that Kathi, my wife, does get a bit sarcastic from time to time, my bet is that she would likely be tempted to remark that my "way of thinking" could potentially be hazardous to one's health and sanity, if not handled with care. That is, I am a product of my experiences and I wouldn't expect that others would ordinarily think like me. However, I should say I find people with materialist-worldviews (which would include all but one psychiatrist I have met) often can be intolerant, and at times, downright ignorant - for which I, personally, think there is no excuse.
I should mention that people have had spiritual and transcendental spiritual experiences for tens of thousands of years - which would likely result in inherited unconscious spiritual processes in then human mind. Some experiences are striking, a few are amazing, some are mundane, some can be symbolic and nebulous, and some are, quite frankly failures. Every psychic who has ever lived has made mistakes. That's the way it is. As I have already argued, spiritual processes create meaning and the value, in my view, would likely be more in the product of the experience than the experience itself. That, being said, I should note that it crossed my mind that, in 'primitive' societies, as several anthropologists highlight, many have very detailed and actually scientifically remarkable taxonomies and systems of classifications for plants and animals. So, the "materialist-physical" view of reality has existed as a viewpoint and way of thinking also for tens of thousands of years. If that is so, the two different ways of thinking might, of course, cause a 'conflict" with or 'oppose' a spiritual way of thinking. So there may be some inherent mental or emotional "resistance" (or perhaps even a "repugnance" shown by some I have talked to) to taking a spiritual point of view.
In any case, relative to spirituality there are numerous psychologists who are receptive to spirituality. Because of Jung's personal history with personal transcendental spiritual experiences and the central concept of "psyche" - spirit - in Jungian theory, I have found Jungian analysts, generally, to be receptive to spirituality and transcendental spiritual-psychic experiences! Logotherapy, a form of psychoanalysis, is based on Frankl's pivotal concept of the "Will to meaning" and includes the concept of "spirit!" Existential and positive psychology also deals with meaning and spirituality, to a large extent. Lastly I would mention that there was a complete "schism" between mainstream psychology and clinical psychology early on.
However, I, personally, find the presentation of 'Psychology of Religion' textbooks and books of spirituality, religion, religious beliefs, and religion to be unreasonable and objectionable. The message is in the medium and Freud, Maslow, and studies of prayer are simply NOT science or scientific. On top of that any proper analysis of the "teachings" of the major religions and the importance of the role of "teachings" is absent which, in my mind, in and of itself, distorts their presentation of spirituality and religious beliefs. besides which Since the 'Psychology of Religion' also missed clearly and succinctly identifying the "function" of spirituality and religion - that in and of itself pretty much renders spirituality and religion "irrelevant." Anyone who accepts the ‘Psychology - or psychologies - of Religion’ without questioning anything, in my mind, is either a fool, or an idiot – or both. There, simply, are too many intangibles in human consciousness and too much judgment necessary to understand human beings
Hope you found this interesting. I must say, without question, you will never hear anything like this from anybody else.
Future Shock: Difference between Psychics now and then
Lastly, I would mention in passing, that if you look at the contemporary psychics since WWII like The TV Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, the documented psychic Edgar Cayce who was a very good healer, the largely undocumented psychic Jeane Dixon, the numerous "Remote Viewers" today, as well as occasional psychics like I saw on Doctor Phil show, there is no comparison to what is happening today and the pretty much the last two thousand years. For instance, the immortal Oracle Delphi prophecies were all entirely in ambiguous metaphors and prophecies - much like most of Nostradamus - while Theresa Caputo is relatively straightforward. If you compare apples to apples - documented to documented - there is simply no comparison. Both the quality and quantity is vastly better and increased. The comparison is black and white - night and day!
Here is a link to an essay about the dramatic changes both in the environment and in documented psychic experiences:
Epilogue - Note about Documented Prejudices and Biases of Psychologists
The Biases and Prejudices of Psychologists
While existential psychologists and positive psychologists have recently found significance, value, and importance in meaning, religious beliefs, and spirituality, over the years studies and surveys have shown that the majority of psychologists appear somewhat hostile to religion, spirituality, and spirituality-psychic. In his book, Psychology of Religion, David Wulff states, “Now and then evidence appears that points to a genuine antagonism toward religion among typical psychologists.” (p. 34 Psy of Rel) Psychologists (and psychiatrists), when tested by various scales, such as the Belief pattern Scale, Religious Activities scales, and the Religious scale of the Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Study of Values, were found to have some negative views of religion. Wulff goes on to say that “As we have already noted, the suspicion or hostility encountered by the psychologists of religion is experienced by all scholars of religion. The sociologist Robert Bellah (1970b), observes that “There is no other sphere of human culture which is excluded from sympathetic academic consideration on its own terms on the grounds that such a study endangers science, reason, logic, and the whole heritage of the Enlightenment” (p.133).” (p.36)
The prominent psychologist and iconic parapsychologist, Daryl Bem emphasizes, in his article,A Summary of “Feeling the Future: ….”, how psychologists display some distinct prejudices and biases: “A survey of 1,188 college professors in the United States revealed that psychologists were much more skeptical about psi than respondents in the humanities, the social sciences, or the physical sciences, including physics. They are more than twice as likely as respondents in other disciplines to assert that psi is impossible (34% to 16%) (Wagner & Monnet, 1979).” (p.5 Bem – my italics)
I can't help but comment that it is quite Crystal Clear that for one the studies are probably grossly understated becuase most pscyholgoists would likely respond keeping political correctness in mind, and secondly that psychologists would seem actually much more prejudiced when it comes spirituality. For evidence I would cite the fact that In the literature about psychic research it is relatively obvious that many more studies and experiments of mental telepathy, precognition, and presentiment, as well as remote viewing are cited than studies of people whop have spiritual experiences - by far - I mean by way, way far!
' Reposted with permission from; spirittruthandmeaning.com .'
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