The Theosophical Forum – August 1948

PSYCHOLOGY — PAST AND FUTURE — J. Croiset van Uchelen

The philosophers of all ages have taught that the visible universe is but a fractional part of the whole and that, analogically, man's physical body is in reality the least important of his composite constitution. For, as the German medic and poet, Schiller, wrote intuitively: "The spirit is the builder of the body!" Yet orthodox medical science seems to assume, that the physical is all there is of man.

Paracelsus, noting the same tendency in his day, remarked: "There is a great difference between the power that removes the invisible causes of disease . . . and that which causes merely external symptoms to disappear. . . ."

The great Paris physician Trousseau, at the bedside of a patient, restrained his pupils by saying: "By your leave, gentlemen, a little more art, and less science." Beyond technical skill and knowledge lies intuitive insight, or what Pascal called "the logic of the heart."

Although psychology and psychiatry are beginning to play a small part, and mental causes of physical disturbances are no longer wholly denied, material science refuses to recognize man as a compound entity, as the occult doctrine teaches. Mental phenomena are still considered less "real" than the physical and the body is treated as an aggregate of functional mechanistic parts. This procedure leads to specialization by those who will never thus acquire the knowledge needed to follow the operations of the organs, in which they have specialized, beyond the material frontiers. Wrote Sir Richard Clifford Tute (After MaterialismWhat?): "The triumphs of medicine and hygiene . . . are largely offset by an increase of lunacy and mental and nervous disorders."

In consequence of the new problems to be faced, medical science is bound, sooner or later, to find such means as may affect the states of human consciousness by an approach more direct than through physical measures; indications to this effect are increasing. In a recent article in the Presse Medicale, Drs. Hecaen and Duchene, it was said: "Psycho-somatic medicine represents the most original and the most fruitful aspect of medical thought. . . ." Well, anyway, if not original, let's hope fruitful!

An outstanding article appeared in the Netherlandish professional Journal of the N. V. V. N. April 1948, by J. L. C. Wortman m.d. The author goes a good deal further where he writes:

The soul in medicine is not a symbolic idea, nor merely an idealistic principle. It is as real as man in his outer appearance and stands in relation to it as energy and substance. Each body that alters its energy content changes in mass, as Einstein has pointed out. Energy and mass, soul and body therefore become identical in principle Atomic science teaches us that energy and mass are interrelated; mass is nothing except bound energy. This offers new points of view as regards soul-body relationship. . . . It is soulless medicine which adores techniques and loses itself in systematic knowledge; it is the science of the German systematic, which lacks the French elan vital and occupies itself more with diseases than with the diseased.

Ethics and morals, as Dr. Wortman points out, must be the foundation of medicine, and he concludes that if medicine is to be placed on a firm foundation, psychology in a true sense must be given the recognition it deserves by force of the very nature of man.

Recognition of the powers of mind, of consciousness, and what is termed loosely as the subconscious, was a great step forward towards a deeper understanding of underlying causes of certain maladies But medical science, slow in admitting psychology, psychiatry and psychosomatics within its closed circle, did so not without considerable reservations, hampering rather than helping the infant art in its development by imposing upon it the restrictions of materialistic academic views.

A basic error lies in referring mental states to a kind of brain-basement storehouse, rather than admitting sub- and superconscious spheres of mental activity — a point of view academic science will not permit. Meanwhile we know that, in the last fifty years or so, many presumably fundamental concepts had to be altered, if not completely revised. That the world went on "without being noticeably handicapped by man's erroneous views," as some have remarked, may be true. But here is the point: Man's (and we are here dealing with the mind of man) thoughts determine his world within the laws of a greater whole. Only extending awareness can widen that world in which he moves. This extension cannot be achieved by a strengthening of the sensory self, but rather is affected by the awakening of intuitive awareness whereby knowledge becomes instantaneous. Therefore, so long as problems of mind are approached solely from a so-called sub-conscious level, in a search to clarify classified reactions to stimuli unrecognized by the patient, so long will it be impossible to benefit from the far greater curative powers of a consciousness freed (to a greater or lesser extent) from the limitations imposed by the ego or lower self.

The far greater benefit to be derived from applied psychology lies not in freeing man from a bondage to his blind reactions, helpful though this may be, but in leading him beyond these processes to that level of conscious awareness where in self-reliance man becomes cognizant of his god-like potentialities. That is, in a reliance on the higher self.

In passing it may be remarked that a psychologist who does not succeed in leading his patients beyond the initial stage, in the course of time becomes far more closely karmically linked to them than does the physician who uses merely material means. Medicine, treating individuals en masse, strikes an assumed average of human reactions; by becoming a Science, it ceased to be an Art. It became intent upon the experimentations upon animals to determine reactions of the human animal-body, ignoring in its fallacy the fear-reactions of tortured animals amidst their elder brothers-in-white in the laboratories!

Psychology, to be worthy of its name, is to reach the inner man through the workings of mind in its subtler phases.

Now the fundamental difference between applied psychology so-called and occult psychology, briefly then is this: The former enhances the egoic perceptions by bringing these to greater clarity, thereby incidentally strengthening man's sense of separateness — while the occult psychological approach seeks to emphasize the greater oneness in the less personal, if not impersonal awareness, reaching toward the essence of consciousness itself. It is obvious that in this latter case philosophical considerations cannot be ignored and this involves far more than a methodological loosening of personality complexes which is but part of an initial procedure. For personality clarification, as a means to greater equilibrium useful in itself, cannot produce the self-reliance that spiritual insight alone can establish. As already stated, in order that such a psychological approach be successful, men must be fully aware of this goal! This implies an inseparable link with religion and philosophy (at one time so recognized by the priest-physicians of ancient days).

That so-called healing rituals of the Egyptians were based, not upon assumed magic, but upon a highly developed comprehension of the complex workings of the human mind and its reactions upon the physical vehicle, is little realized. Just as the principles of vibro-therapeutics utilized in music, chants, or by the spoken word through mantrams — were applied not only in treating the physical, but to affect the spiritual constitution of man, i.e. for the stimulation of latent centers of consciousness. The old-new effort can be made, even today. Yet beyond this still, lies the spiritual approach by the individual himself. This principle has been touched in Christian Science, if quite apart from the manner in which it may be expressed by various followers. (Said Dr. de Purucker: We "are not Christian Scientists. . . . Nevertheless, a truth is a truth wherever it exists, . . . and long before . . , knowledge of it all existed ages and ages ago in the past." Questions We All Ask — II. p. 27) Faith is the antithesis of fear. Fear is the great destroyer, (as are hate and greed which are but varied forms of fear), while faith is the intuitive expression of trust, inspired by love, the greatest of all. Said Paracelsus: "When all is said, the best medicine is Love!"

In ancient times the physician was a priest. In future times all men will be physicians, as well as priests, by being truly men! Such is human destiny.


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