Sunday 9 February 2020

Aiming at 'healing' is to remain trapped within The System

I realised yesterday that it was not a coincidence that so much New Age thinking is aiming at some kind of 'healing' - because when 'healing' is the aim, we have already accepted that the current System is normative, is Good.

To say that somebody (or something) needs healing is to accept that 'dysphoria' - feeling bad in some way - is the proper focus, and the goal is to remove this bad-feeling.

Therefore, healing is another example of the kind of double-negative thinking that I regard as mistaken when it becomes the bottom line.  But even more importantly is that such motivation is locked-into the mainstream morality of modern life; which is 'hedonic' and rooted in assertions or imputations concerning the gratification or sufferings of people.

By the mainstream-modern-morality 'liberalism'): that is good which alleviates suffering - and 'evil' is reframed as infliction of suffering. But since suffering is part of the human condition; the hedonic morality reduces to a dread-full complex of anti-human, anti-freedom and ultimately anti-life ethic: since the only way to ensure zero suffering is not to live, and for the living to die.

This is why Romantic Christianity should not be framed in negative terms such as alleviating alienation, or the misery of materialism; or healing the rift between mind and body, subjective and objective or any such - because such a motivation will reduce to the liberal-hedonic ethic; which plays into the hands of the materialistic status quo will just become a part of The System, will just reinforce The System - as did New Age spirituality. 

Therefore, Romantic Christianity should be presented and explained in terms of what positive benefits it brings (e.g an individual purpose in life, a direct experiential basis of Christianity, that all of life in every detail has meaning etc.), rather than in terms of what negative harms it alleviates.


William Wildblood said...

Some of the greatest saints have suffered the most, both physically and mentally. They have not sought to escape that. This should show that healing is not the number one priority of the spiritual path.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William, it is of course tempting to offer 'healing' of some kind - and some kind of healing is indeed the result - but 'first things first'!

Epimetheus said...

I wonder if a sense of purpose is one of the most powerful painkillers in life. Men in war who are focused on the mission - its absolute necessity, the impossibility of failure etc. - don't seem to notice pain and setbacks. I've noticed this same dynamic when I've worked in heavy-industry jobs with working-class men. It's as if the mind simply stops paying attention to pain when it senses it's been given an important job to do.

Nathanael said...

Broad brush strokes here Bruce!

Surely it depends on the intention of Healing?

As I see it, healing is a positive thing. To empower people to realise
they don't need to rely on the system to heal, and that simple changes
to diet, lifestyle, sleep, thoughts, feelings can bring profound increases
in energy, positivity, clarity of thinking etc... and this has the potential to
bring one more in line with an inner Truth.

The increase of intermittent fasting is a positive thing.
Yes, lots of ego's boasting of how long they have gone without food for,
but on the whole, people are healing from disease via these practices.

Realising that one doesn't need to eat 3 meals a day to be healthy, or
graze all the time to lose weight to 'keep the metabolism burning'
surely this releases one from the System, and heals at the same time!

It is this emptying that makes us more receptive to God in my opinion.
(To realise one doesn't need to consume in order to have!)

I'm reminded of what Meister Eckhart said;
"God would give him the most in the least, and would not fail him"

Bruce Charlton said...

@Nat. I disagree. None of those things will have the slightest spiritual benefit, unless they come after and as part of a fundamental transformation in basic assumptions, beliefs, attitudes.

William Wildblood said...

I know quoting scripture can often be done by people on both sides of an argument but this rather bears Bruce's point out.

"It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth."

RyanC said...

Sounds like something Jordan Peterson would say.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RC - "Sounds like something Jordan Peterson would say."

What does? Your comment is ambiguous.

nathanael said...

"because when 'healing' is the aim, we have already accepted that the current System is normative, is Good."

From my perspective, it is this self-knowledge of broken-ness, and imperfection, that can catalyse a change of heart.
A seeking of healing is humble. I think ignorance

In seeking healing, one can become "fertile ground" or "good earth" for "good seed".

@william - I'm not suggesting it's totally about what we consume, but it has to be admitted we become so full of untruth that it becomes hard to receive truth, and so a process of 'fasting' can make one more receptive. (via negativa)

I'm reminded of the parable of the sower, here. I think Bruce's post is too narrow and condemning of 'healing'.