Saturday, April 15, 2006 Mind Parasites, Divine and Human posted by Gagdad Bob at 5:29 AM
In discussing mind parasites, there are several thinkers who had a profound impact on shaping my ideas. One of the problems is that most psychologists are completely unfamiliar with these thinkers. In fact, most psychoanalysts are even unfamiliar with them. For example, ShrinkWrapped--who is entirely sound, as I probably don't have to tell you--was trained in an entirely different tradition than I was. Although I am not a psychoanalyst, I attended a psychoanlytic institute, and all of my training was specifically in psychoanalysis. But psychoanalysis is as riven by various sects, movements, schisms, heresies, and orthodoxies as any religion.
I personally believe that Freud made the "big discovery," but that the discovery was so vast that it cannot possibly be "contained" by any orthodoxy. This in itself is instructive, because it segues into one of the main points I want to make about mind parasites. Traditional metaphysics always makes a distinction between the God-being and the God-beyond-being--between the personal God that can be named and thought about and the Supreme Reality that is beyond name and form. The former is the cataphatic God about whom we may talk, debate and theologize, while the latter is the apophatic God that so utterly transcends our categories that the most we can say about it is what it is not. Various formulations are "fingers pointing at the moon," and although they are "doorways" into the divine mystery, one should not mistake the finger for the moon.
As another aside, as always, this blog is not really aimed at people who are “at peace with God.” I have no desire whatsoever to try to change or to proselytize to those individuals. Rather, it is aimed more at people who are already esoterists such as myself, or at sophisticated people who are not at peace with God because they have difficulty finding a plausible or compelling point of entry into exoteric religion as it is usually presented. Most rank-and-file religious people have never heard of the God-beyond-being and might even be offended by the idea. They have a clear conception of what God is like, and don't want to be reminded that the real unconditioned God blows away those mental idols like a tornado through a Buddhist sand painting convention... which, by the way, is the whole point of a sand painting. A Buddhist would enjoy the irony, for it would be a reminder that the tornado is more real than the sand painting. Anyway, you might even think that I made up the idea, but this distinction between the God-being and God-beyond-being is actually a distinction within God himself. It is not a bobmade principle, but one that is inherent in the inner life of the godhead. It is easy to prove that it exists, more problematic to prove that we or anything else exist outside it. As a matter of fact, the God-beyond-being is the only thing that cannot not be. Ultimately it is the distinction between Brahman and maya, between reality and appearance, between absolute and relative, between necessary and contingent. It is also the distinction between the symmetrical and the asymmetrical, which is the point I wanted to make about mind parasites. For, being that we are made in the "image of God," we have the same distinction within ourselves that God has within himself. That is, we have a conscious ego that "floats" upon, or is entirely surrounded by, an infinite ocean of unconsciousness. But "unconsciousness" is not the appropriate word, since it has some misleading connotations.
For the ego represents one type of consciousness, and is surrounded by another type of consciousness. To qualify it as "un" is to miss the point. It is perhaps "over", or "under," or "around," or "before," or “within,” but it is definitely not un. Nor is there really any bright line between the ego and the unconscious. Rather, like the distinction within the divine between God-being and God-beyond-being, there is in reality no distinction. Actually, we didn’t so much invent the distinction--again, it is real--as place a dividing line at an arbitrary juncture. After all, being inherently absolute and infinite, there is no line we can draw within God, and say to him, "you stay on that side." No. This is the secret of God's utter transcendence and his unfathomable immanence. This is precisely why we can say with a straight face that everything is in God, but that, at the same time, God is in everything. Relying upon normal Aristotelian logic, we would have to say that one of these statements precludes the other: you can either be in something or something can be in you. Both statements cannot be true. It makes no sense to say that "I am in California" and that "California is in me." Unless you are employing a different mode of logic. This is called "symmetrical logic" in contradistinction to "asymmetrical" Aristotelian logic. As it so happens this is precisely the logic that governs the Freudian unconscious, and it is also what makes mind parasites so troublesome. If mind parasites obeyed normal logic and reason, it would be a simple matter to eradicate them. It would be just a matter of education. In fact, the more superficial forms of psychotherapy adopt this cognitive approach to do battle with mind parasites. Sometimes it helps, but in my experience, it is more palliative than transformative, and cannot touch more deeply rooted mind parasites because it specifically avoids the problem of symmetry. Being that the unconscious partakes of symmetrical logic, it is has certain qualities, such as being "timeless" and "infinite." Likewise, the part can contain the whole, while the whole can symbolize the part. You may be surprised to hear this, but most psychological problems are not "emotional" problems per se. Nor are they problems of faulty thinking, of ineffective or pathological defenses, or of learned behaviors.Rather, they are problems of logic. Not "logic" vs. "illogic." That is only how it appears on the surface. Rather, it is a problem of symmetrical logic vs. asymmetrical logic. For, just as God is in everything and everything is in God, our mind parasites are in us but we are equally in our mind parasites.