Religion #9: Psychological & Religious Ideals

Since religion is one of the earliest and most universal expressions of the human mind, it’s obvious that any psychologist which touches upon the psychological structure of human personality can’t avoid that religion isn’t only a sociological and historical phenomenon, but also something of considerable personal concern to a great number of individuals. 

Psychology, while having little to do with philosophy, it has much to do with empirical facts. Many of which aren’t easily accessible to the experience of the average man. Psychological existence is subjective in so far as an idea occurs by only one individual. It’s objective in so far as that idea is shared by a society = by a consenus gentlum.  

“Psychology deals with ideas and other mental contents such as zoology, for instance, deal with different species of animals. An elephant is “true” because it exists. We are so used to the idea that psychic elements are willful and arbitrary products, or even the invention of a human creator that we can’t get rid ourselves of the prejudice view that the psyche and its contents are nothing but product of supposition and judgment. The fact is that certain ideas exist almost everywhere and at all times and can even spontaneously create themselves quiet independently of migration and tradition. They aren’t made by the individual, they just happen; they even force themselves on his consciousness. This isn’t Platonic Philosophy, but empirical psychology. 

Religion, as the Latin word denotes, is a careful and scrupulous observation of what Rudolf Otto termed numinosum – a dynamic agency or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will. It seizes and controls the human subject who is always, rather, its victim than its creator. The numinosum is an experience of the subject independence of his will. Religious teaching as well as the consensus gentium always and everywhere explains this experience as being due to a cause external of the individual. The numinosum is either a quality belonging to a visible object or the influence of an invisible presence that causes a peculiar alternation of consciousness. 

There are certain expectations when it comes to the question of religion as a ritual. Many ritualistic performances are carried out for the sole purpose of producing at will the effect of the numinosum by means of certain incarnation sacrifice, meditation, and other Yoga practice self-influenced tortures of various desecrations, and so on. A religious belief in an external and objective divine cause is always prior to any such performance. The catholic church administers the sacraments for the purpose of bestowing their spiritual blessings upon the believer, but since this act would amount to enforcing the presence of divine grace by an indisputably magical procedure, its logically argued that no body can compel divine grace to be present in the sacrament act, but that it’s nevertheless inevitably present since the sacrament is a divine institution which God wouldn’t lend it His support. 

Religion appears to be a peculiar attitude of mind which could be formulated in accordance with the original used of the word religo, which means a careful consideration and observation of certain dynamic factors that are conceived as “powers: spirits, demons, gods, laws, ideals, ideals, or whatever man name has given to such factors in his world as he has found powerful, dangerous, or helpful enough to be given into careful consideration, or grand beautiful, and meaningful enough to be devotedly worshiped and loved.  

In colloquial speech one often says of somebody who is enthusiastically interested in a certain pursuit that he’s almost “religiously devoted” to his cause: William James, for instance, remarks that a scientist often has no creed, but his “temper is devoted”. Put our esteem for facts hasn’t neutralized in us all religiousness. It’s itself almost religious. Our scientific temper is devoted.” – William James 

Grafia adivuans and gratia sanctificans are the effects of the sacramentum ax opera operate. The sacrament owes its undoubted efficacy to the fact that it is directed in statue by Christ himself. The church is powerless to connect the rite with grace in such a way that the sacramental act would produce the presence and effect of grace. Consequently, the rite performed by the priest isn’t a causa ministerials. 

Pistis – a trust or loyalty, faith and confidence in a certain experience of a numinous nature and in the change of consciousness that ensures. 

Creeds are codified and dogmatized forms of original religious experiences. The contents of the experience have become sanctified and are usually congealed in a rigid often elaborate, structure of ideals. The practice and repetition of the original experience have become sanctified and are usually congealed in a rigid, often elaborate structure of ideals. The practice and repetition of the original experience of millions of people for thousands of years, without there a rising any vital necessary alter to it. Even protest atheism, which has abandoned itself apparently to an almost unlimited ritual and has thus split into more than one domination. Not only Buddha and Mohammed, Confucius and Zarathustra, represent religious phenomena, but also Mithras, Attis, Cybele, Marily Hermes, and the deities of many other exotic cults. The psychologist if he takes up a scientific attitude must disregard the claim of every creed to be unique and eternal truth. He must keep his eye on the human side of the religious problem, since he’s concerned with the original religious experience quite apart from what the creeds have made of it.  

Since every neurosis relates to man’s most intimate life, there’ll always be some hesitation when a patient must give a complete account of all the circumstances and complications which originally led him into a morbid condition. Why shouldn’t he be able to talk freely? Why should he be afraid, shy, or prudish? The reasons are that he’s “carefully observing” certain external factors which together prostitute what one calls public opinion or respectability or reputation. Even if he trusts his doctor and is no longer shy of him, he’ll be recusant or even afraid to admit certain things to himself as if it were dangerous to become conscious of himself.  

One’s usually afraid of things that seem to be overpowering. Is there anything in a man that’s stranger than himself? We shouldn’t forget that every neurosis entails a corresponding amount of demoralization. If a man’s neurotic he’s lost confidence in himself. A neurosis’s a humiliating defeat and it is felt as such by people who are not entirely unconscious of their own psyche and is defeated by something “unreal”. Doctors may have assured the patient long ago that there’s nothing the matter with him, that he does not suffer from a real heart disease or from a real cancer. It is symptoms are quite imaginary. The more he believes that he is a malade imaginaine, the more a feeling of inferiority permeates his whole personality. “If my symptoms are imaginary,” he’ll say, “where have I picked up on this confounded imagination and why should I put up with such a puissance?”  

Imaginary conditions do exist, and they may be just as real and just as harmful or dangerous as physical conditions. Psychic disturbances are far more dangerous that epidemics, or earthquakes. Not even the medieval epidemics of bubonic plaque or smallpox killed as many people as certain difference of opinion in mind or certain political “ideals” in Russia. 

Psyche exists, it’s existence itself. 

What shall we say to our patient with the imaginative cancer: something along these lines: “Yes, my friend, you are really suffering from cancer like thing, however, it’ll not kill your body, because it’s imaginary. It’ll eventually kill your soul. It’s already spoiled and even poisoned your human relations and your personal happiness, and it’ll go on growing until it has swallowed your whole psychic existence. So, in the end you’ll not be a human being anymore, but an evil destructive tumor.” 

If we submit such a case to an association experiment, we doom discover that man isn’t master in his own house. His reactions will be delayed, altered, suppressed, or replaced by autonomous intruders. There’ll be several stimuli – words which can’t be answered by his conscious intention. They’ll be answered by certain autonomous contents, which are often unconscious even to himself. In our case we shall certainly discover answers that come from the psyche complex, the reaction of the conscious ego will be disturbed or even replaced by an answer coming from the complex. It’s just as if the complex were an autonomous being capable of interfering with the intentions of the ego. Complexes do behave like secondary or partial personalities possessing a mental life of their own.  

Many complexes are split off from consciousness because the latter preferred to get rid of them by repression. There are others that have never been in consciousness before and therefore could never have been bitterly repressed. They grow out of unconscious invade the unconscious mind out of their weird and unassailable convictions and impulses. Our patient was in the latter. He was unable to help himself in anyway against the demon power of his morbid idea. One day the idea appeared and from then on it remained unshakable; there were only short intervals when he was free from it. 

The existence of such cases explains why people are afraid of becoming conscious of themselves. There might be something behind the scenes one never really knows, and so people prefer to “consider and observe carefully: the factors external to their consciousness. In most people there is a sort of primitive deisidaimonra regarding the possible contents of the unconscious. Beneath all-natural shyness, shame, and tact, there is a secret fear of the “unknown perils of the soul: There’s reason enough for man to be afraid of the impersonal forces lurking in his unconscious. We are unconscious of these factors because they almost never appear in our personal relations, or under ordinary circumstances. If people crowd together and form a mob, then the dynamisms of the collective man are let loose – beast or demons that lie dormant in every person until he is part of a mob. Man in the mass sinks unconsciously to an inferior moral and intellectual level, below the threshold consciousness, ready to break forth as soon as it is activated by the formation of a mass.  

An ordinary emotion can cause considerable loss of consciousness. Primitives cultivate elaborate forms of politeness, speaking in a hushed voice, laying down their weapons, crawling on all fours, bowing the head, showing the palms. Even our own forms of politeness still exhibit a “religious” consideration of possible psychic dangers. We propitiate fate by magically wishing one another a good day. It’s not good form to keep the left hand in your pocket or behind your back when shaking hands. People with great authority we bow with uncovered head.” – C.G. Jung

Featured Image from the book titled: Different Gods by Mary Judith Ress

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.