Saturday, May 7, 2011


As modern westerners have increasingly dominated nature with technology and great inventions, making external life easier, safer and more secure—we have concurrently neglected the soul, the internal life, or character. The neglect of the internal for the advancement of the external requires a compensatory response from the psyche. The internal will find a way to restore balance. The inner and the outer, spirit and matter, like the electrons in an atom, always work in tandem and dance together to make a whole. Psyche will restore balance through dis-ease—allowing the external phenomena to proceed to their logical conclusions that those ends might complete their arc and swing back the other way like a pendulum. Internal psyche will call us back. How?

Addictions, disorders and afflictions arise from Psyche, outside of and apart from human will. These dis-eases serve to turn us back to the internal life, to attend to soul. Pandemic obesity caused by external consumption is making us sick, depressed and miserable—forcing us to abandon external concerns and to examine and feed our malnourished souls. A heart attack has a way of rearranging priorities in a literal heartbeat. Rampant drug use (legal and illegal) and ubiquitous alcohol consumption give us external chemical highs, but then force us into the depths—hitting bottom, to see our neglected souls. Greed and obsession with money, career and stuff result in recessions and depressions which leave us bankrupt and depressed—forcing us back into reflection and soul-tending. Relationship and sex obsessions leave us eventually alone, insatiate, and often bitter-- forcing us to look inwardly. Our American political process has gradually abandoned soul along with religion, calling for external solutions through rational policies and messianic politicians—and we are all raging at the other party. Psychotherapy focuses on statistics, diagnostic manuals and averages, assigning labels and standard treatments that “reprogram” the brain or body—and few are much happier. Even our western spirituality often turns to a kind of external solution as we look to theological systems, metaphysical techniques, spiritual books, seminars, teachers and intellectualized quick-fix “scientific” religions that leave us shallow and dissatisfied--forcing a spiritual crisis which drives us back into our own neglected souls.

The solution is in the disease. Each of these external failures, mostly unconsciously, are forcing us back to the radical or root source—our own bereft self or soul in need of care--not a cure. The care must come from powers that were prior to all externals, and greater than all human inventions which make life easier, safer and more secure. There is no quick fix or herd solution. Decades of soul neglect have left an overgrown internal topography. Most will not hack their way through, but return to the food, drink, relationship pursuits, technological distractions and other external answers. Most prefer the disease itself to the hard work of self knowledge--not self obsession, but deep self knowledge. But can't we change? Can't we decide to fix the problem and change our individual life?

The bad news is that this is primarily a collective problem afflciting the entire western psyche. While most of us think we can solve our problems with the right effort, maany are finding failure after failure. When individuals try to “overcome” their particular problem--which we call addictions, neuroses and afflictions--they do not know that their struggle is against a larger psychic assault on western externalized values. The neurotic “onslaught” by a compensatory psyche is not personal, but exists in pandemic numbers for the corrective of the collective soul. The corrective is bigger than the individual's obesity or drug problem, bigger than the democrats or republicans salutary policies to fix the economy. The psycho-emotional epidemic in America is from a cultural neglect of soul. Some sort of larger "victory" will arrive when a significant number of people learn that self knowledge and character need attention—that the soul must be seen, heard and attended to on a scale that will shift the western soul. Technology, industry, herd solutions, statistical and formulaic social agendas and all of the great academic rationalisms must learn to co-exist with and even surrender at times to psychic agencies which operate inwardly, individually and apart from external human consciousness.

However, if one does per chance work to achieve success, recovery, and “healing” in his/her area of addiction or affliction--it almost always requires much time and attention put on elusive and enigmatic self knowledge, and always a compassionate return to society with a message of soul over stuff. If these two criteria are not met, the successful changer will inevitably return to some external solution--and lead the proverbial life of quiet desperation.

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