I mentioned that I'd recently reread a book called Thomistic Psychology, by Robert Brennan, which I first read almost two years ago, just after the curtains opened on Lockdown Theatre. It seems like last week, and I mean that literally.
The book made a big impression on me at the time, and has again this time. It makes me wish I could have run into it during grad school, but what are the chances?
None whatsoever. I would have been much more inclined to investigate, say, "archetypal astrology," or the Harmonic Convergence, than the superstitious musings of some medieval monk.
Like any good progressive, I thought I could discern truth by the calendar. And like any ambitious young wannabe published, I knew that this year's model was the best, or at least conferred the most status.
So, there is no way in the world I would have had the slightest interest in "Catholic psychology." Only now can I see that it's just psychology, full stop, and that there are gaping holes -- not to mention no floor and an arbitrary ceiling -- in what I had taken to be psychology.
Yes, you could say that in the larger scheme of things I am indeed a "doctor" of "psychology." Or used to be, anyway.
It could have turned out otherwise -- unless contingency and free will are illusions, and the current Bob was a cosmic inevitability.
But these two -- contingency & free will -- are literally as self-evident as any other primordial categories of experience, such as objects, consciousness, and desire. Some people get their kicks pretending to deny these, but no one can actually live his life as if accidents and choices are but illusions, objects are ideas, and consciousness is just biological noise.
Note that it's ideological scientism that denies free will, while it is religious predestinarians who are apt to deny contingency. I won't argue with the latter, since there is such a thing as a useful piety -- a "saving illusion," or what in Buddhism is called upaya, i.e., skillful means.
The average man is... average. Or, in our time, perhaps a little below average.
Okay, way below.
It wasn't always this way, but there are real human costs to television, journalism, atheism, and mass higher education, the latter being neither elevated nor education, just ideological indoctrination for the sake of the ruling class. Ignoring the indoctrination disqualifies one for membership in the ruling class, but at least it renders us unfit to be ruled by them, so there's that.
Time out for aphorisms while this post decides where it wishes to go, if anywhere:
On the discipline of psychology: In the social sciences, not knowing how to express oneself skillfully is sometimes enough to found a school of thought. Illustrious names from the past pop into my mind, such as Lacan, Foucault, R.D. Laing...
On contingency: Chance is sometimes an artist; deliberate will never is.
On free will: Necessity and freedom are not symmetrical concepts; in fact, if I affirm necessity, I deny any freedom, but if I affirm freedom, I do not deny any necessity.
On the Woke: The perfect conformist of our time is the ideologue of the left.
On scientism: One of the worst intellectual disasters is the appropriation by mediocre intelligences of the concepts and vocabulary of science. (Like FJB, they listen to the the science!)
On our bureaucratic masters: In the end a bureaucracy always turns out to cost the people more than an upper class. (So let's hand them $5 trillion more to Build a Better Bureaucracy!)
Now, one is always arguing either to or from first principles.
Except when one is actively running away from principle. Therefore, it would seem that we can argue toward truth, from truth, or away from truth. I suppose we can also deny truth altogether and thereby pretend to convert a truly vicious habit into a virtue -- to rebrand adolescent destruction deconstruction.
We could visualize it thus:
From principle: O --> (k)
To principle: (k) --> O
Away from principle: O --> (-k)
No principle: Ø --> (-k)
The third is always present in some form or fashion in what we call "mental illness" (e.g., denial, repression, projection), while the fourth is more of a spiritual illness; it is frankly diabolical, or at least one of those cosmic interstices where the evil one is free to exert influence on the unprincipled. Such persons aren't even intellectually dishonest, since honesty presupposes the existence of truth.