16 October 2006

Catholicism compared with cognitive therapy

Further to my previous post on Catholicism, one may make a parallel between the Catholic joie de vivre, and the 'happiness in a vacuum' that is supposed to result from cognitive therapy, but actually I think their psychodynamics and side-effects are different. Of course, in neither case do I have any direct introspective insight, and can only infer from observation.

But I do think that an openness to the incalculable possibilities of the existential situation is a very important psychological factor, although it seldom (virtually never) goes so far as it did in my case, and I think that a rigorous rejection of it is implicitly or explicitly included in the psychodynamics of modern reductionism.

In the article about me on Wikipedia I am described as advocating thorough-going scepticism. That is not at all an accurate way of putting it. If forced to write about philosophy, which I would only wish to do for career advancement (however unsuccessfully), I am bound to express the sceptical position. But I know that psychologically it does not lead to open-mindedness about the situation, and when applied to the social situation it is usually used to facilitate the rejection of bourgeois, libertarian ideas in favour of immersion in anarchistic reductionism.

Unfortunately I think it is the case that when people abandon or become critical of Christianity, whether Catholic or not, they usually make the same transition from whatever open-mindedness they ever had to believing that there is no Outside, in adopting some version of the belief in society.

It is not necessary to believe anything in particular to notice that there is an Outside; as far as I was concerned up to the time I got a higher level, it was merely realistic to do so. Up to that time what I meant by saying there was an Outside was that the existential situation was clearly inconceivable, so that what existed was not limited by the conceptual range of the human mind. One supposed that there was some inconceivable substructure to the existential situation but there was no reason to suppose that it was accessible to a human mind, or that it was in any way of relevance to oneself.