Saturday 19 March 2016

When therapy and healing become the bottom-line, the ultimate in life... More on Steiner's 1918 prophecy

It is noticeable that modern spirituality, especially New Age themed practices - including Western versions of Eastern religions, almost always focus on 'healing' and the practice of therapy.

This is also, substantially, the case for many types of self-identified Christianity - that the main focus is healing, and Christian practice is seen as a form of healing.

Government, too, is seen as a kind of healing - it puts itself forward as a mass-healing process ('the therapuetic state').

It seems everyone, all the time, is talking about healing. Of course they seldom achieve it and typically do the reverse - but healing is the prime justification for... everything.  


What this means is that spiritual life, religious life, ends-up being about human psychology - and more exactly about human psychology as it is now.

There is no doubt that the human psyche needs healing - that people are alienated, and their very selves feel cut-off from the world (that is when people are not simply lacking in consciousness and self-awareness, in sleep, intoxicated, or just distracted e.g. by the mass media and social interactions).

This lapsing of religion and spirituality into therapy is pervasive. And it is inevitable - so long as there is no external divine locus towards which we are orientated.

Therefore, religions or spiritualities which emphasize, almost-exclusively, the 'immanence' or indwelling of the divine (God in us, God in the world, in nature...), also become (before long) just another kind of therapy.

It is only when the divine is located elsewhere and when we are personally orientated towards the divine (and, preferably, on a path to the divine) that we can avoid having therapy as the main thing in life.


Because: therapy for what? We want to be healthy, happy, energetic - for what? What are we supposed to do if or when we are fortunate enough to be in this state?

Plus of course, life always end in death (usually preceded by some sickness and pain) - so if therapy is the focus of life, success is very temporary, and then life is always and for everyone an inevitable failure.

So why bother? hence the modern fascination with and esire for suicide (euthanasia, chosen reproductive sterility, anti-natalism, national self-annihiliation, fetchization of 'the other' etc.)


If we revisit Rudolf Steiner's prophecy from 1918:

Then I think we can see that this situation we are in, this situation in which therapy (healing the body, healing the mind) is exactly the situation that Steiner described as the working of angels during 'sleep' - in 'Steinerese' this refers to the body becoming primary and consciousness being ruled out of consideration.

This is exactly the seismic change in Western society since the 1960s with the take-over of the sexual revolution and identity politics (it began earlier, but became mainstream in the 60s).

It has, of course, been staggeringly un-successful in terms of its objective of healing! But that was also to be anticipated, since there is no foresight, no order, no prudence, no consciousness about the Leftist revolution including the sexual revolution - which is now the mainstream, official, mass media driven and state enforced ideology.


That is the point that Steiner was making. When The West turned away from religion in favour of 'therapy' - of sexual and individual license ('freedom'), short-term happiness and avoidance of suffering - it also sabotaged the attainment of those goals which are not true goals, and cannot function as goals - but are actually means to the external end which is divinization - becoming more like God, who is 'other', another personage - as well as permeating the world

So - we should not neglect the necessity for evolution of consciousness, in Man and in ourselves - the need for theois, for maturation towards becoming adults in faith; but consciousness, therapy, healing only make sense and can only be achieved in the ultimate framework of the external divine.

Striving fof higher consciousness in the absence of religion is just another kind of lethal. (Just look at the people who try it!)

God is the First Thing; and absolutely essential - not an 'option' but a necessity.

(I mean psycho-socio-culturally essential - not philosophically.)

Or else... What-is-happening, as prophesied by Steiner.


tony s. said...

Right on target. The modern world sees life in a therapeutic sense whereas traditional religious teaching has focused on the tragic nature of our existence. There is no man-made therapy that "fixes" or heals our psyches because our souls are immaterial; the only healing possible is by recognition of the need for God in our lives. Our lives on this earth are tragic in the sense that we cannot avoid suffering in this life. The only "fix" is God's divine work and our eternal existence.

Albrecht said...

"…there is no foresight, no order, no prudence, no consciousness about the Leftist revolution including the sexual revolution - which is now the mainstream, official, mass media driven and state enforced ideology."

How thoughtless, how automatic it all has been in contrast to the foresight and punctiliousness with which Christian doctrine was defined and defended for centuries. But our Christian fore-bearers had the imagination to think, "If A, then B, and if B, then C," and so on. But deduction is outrĂ© nowadays - as is order and prudence and consciousness if applied in any moral sense (as opposed to "Be conscious of the breath entering and exiting your nostrils…" etc.)

David Balfour said...

This is tough reading for a mental health professional. Would it be fair to say based on what you know now that Psychiatry (except perhaps certain medical management's), Clinical Psychology, etc. are all barking so far up the wrong tree that we are better off without them as professions entirely? Or would we expect or hope for some kind of transitional phase of spiritual practitioners to support people with mental health problems such as depression or anxiety disorders or the other disorders such as OCD or PTSD? In a strange way the role of modern 'therapist' seems increasingly like a 'secular priest' taking confessions and then responding 'non-judgementally'to the secular masses. I have noticed that most religious demographics don't seem to go in for therapy in my line of work anyway; presumably their needs are being met elsewhere by social support of a religious community and their beliefs themselves. Typically I deal with the alienated and despairing nihilist which form the bulk of modern western society. Generally speaking though spiritual discussions that could be transformative are taboo and censored by the set up of the "therapy model." I would like to think that I am doing as well as can to 'help people' by offering compassion, warmth and confidential support to discuss and overcome problems ranging from bereavement, trauma and ceaseless worrying or coping with chronic pain and social isolation but it is debatable what 'job' I am doing that a change in fundamental metaphysical assumptions for the person in question would render the 'job' a mute point or would change my role to that of a Christian Chaplain. In short would you envisage a return to mental services under the explicit focus of a spiritual function and not a 'biopsychosocial' model but perhaps an ideally Christian or at least a Spiritual-bio-psycho-social model (emphasis on the spiritual )? I suppose originally in religious societies this was the way that mental health was understood to begin with.

Bruce Charlton said...


I have no doubt that psychiatry does far more harm than good *overall* - mainly by creating mass chronic psychiatric illness via drug dependance and misery and disease side effects (including suicide).

But of course for some extreme situations (acute psychosis, mania, melancholis, catatonia) there is no alternative to acute admission for 24 hour observation, sedation, ECT and the like. Whether such patients get the treatments that they need, I am doubtful.

As for psychotherapy... I'm afraid that I think that overall if we didn't have any, we would probably be better off. I regard it as a phony profession, by and large. I once reviewed for a journal the problem of sexual relationships between therapist and client and it seems extremely common - which goes some way to explain the persistence of the activity.

Also, there is the problem of the person who wants and gets psychotherapy and then becomes a therapist - or the training analysis idea whereby all therapists have to become a client first.

All of these seem to me hallmarks of a phony profession.

There is of course the empirical evidence of effectiveness for CBT, but the pre-selection of good prognosis people for therapy makes the reality much less impressive than the early research papers which so impressed me back in the late 70s.

I don't suppose that is at all helpful to you, but I have sometimes published to this effect here and there and you are bound to find something sooner or later!