Integral Yoga & Human Defects (IV) : What About Psychoanalysis Today ?

I recommend to all those who can read English the great cascade of comments posted yesterday by my psychologist friend Don Salmon who lives in the USA. All in response to my previous post quoting two texts by Sri Aurobindo on Psychoanalysis, Don’s comments provide additional richness of information to the topic at hand. Interestingly enough,  Don’s comments even constitute a kind of preparation for the present post of mine -all the more because I have posted right away some short answers to them.

But as this new post I am now writing was already intended before, and meant to continue what I myself wanted to convey through this current sequence of posts on the same overall topic, rather than making this post now a direct reply to Don, I’ll just keep  on my own track, and say what I wanted to say anyway… knowing that by doing so I’ll be at the same time answering further Don’s concerns.

So I’d like to go back to the two texts from Sri Aurobindo quoted in my previous post:

Why did I quote them, first of all?

Well, together with Mother’s later re-formulation of her own corresponding Message, these two texts from Sri Aurobindo had been also mentioned by her to Satprem in relation to the same subject, so I felt it was only fair to quote this whole addition asked for by the Mother, just as it had been added indeed by Satprem in the final text of this passage of the Agenda on ‘Don’t try to be virtuous’.

But fairness wasn’t the only reason:

I felt also that both texts (which I knew and loved since long) truly shed on the whole topic of Psychological Healing such a powerful and clear and illuminating light, that they would be of great help for everybody, be it patient or medical doctor, and for still a very long time, as Sri Aurobindo indicated there the very central root of all psychological problems: the absence in most of us human beings of sufficient influence from our secret Divine Self, deep within as well as high above our superficial self with all its presently warring parts.

This indicates also then the obvious real solution: the necessity for each individual to reconnect and gradually re-identify with his/her true, Divine Self, so as to transform as well gradually those external parts into their potential divine reality, as perfected instruments of self-expression of the Divine in this world of Manifestation.

Such an immense overall understanding  and goal go way beyond what ordinary Psychology and Psychiatry perceive of Human Nature, but unless one gets that fuller picture of what we truly are, there is no way this needed inner balance and harmony can establish themselves in our being. Such a supremely important point makes these quotes an invaluable gift, just by itself already.

Given this fuller picture that is the all-pervasive basis for all that Sri Aurobindo and Mother taught from their own huge spiritual experience, Psychoanalysis in those early times was obviously rather inadequate, as Sri Aurobindo starts with saying, quite unequivocally. And yet Sri Aurobindo, in his vast wisdom, doesn’t put any blanket condemnation upon it. All that he says is carefully and clearly qualified: it is Freud he is talking about, and he explains exactly what is fundamentally wrong in Freud’s approach and all similar approaches. He wants us to understand why he doesn’t approve of it.

Not only does Sri Aurobindo point out why this approach is so wrong and actually dangerous, but he also describes what would be the correct way: finding the true Light first, then only – and cautiously –  using it to go into the intermediary strata of our inner, psychological being, with all their warring obscurities obscuring constantly our consciousness. and making us think, feel and act according to their whims instead of our real, spiritual inclination and will.

But Sri Aurobindo’s warning is qualified also time-wise: he himself underlies that these new discoveries Psychoanalysis prides itself of, are fragmentary and distorted because this aspiring new science is only in its infancy. Far from condemning it forever, at the end of what he writes, he expresses full confidence on the contrary that a day will come when the real knowledge in that field will gradually emerge and be used successfully for the benefit of all.

So, seeing this wonderful clarity and precision in Sri Aurobindo’s two texts, I felt no one could possibly misinterpret them if not by their own inattentive and mistaken reading of them. I knew that risk still could be there in my readers, but I gave them at least the benefit of the doubt, so to say, trusting their own better judgement and sheer thinking capacity!…

After seeing yesterday the immediate and somewhat indignant reaction from Don against my publishing those texts, I wondered what may have caused the difference in his perception and my own perception of whether those two texts were still useful reading, or by now totally outdated, given the huge strides forward in the right direction that have happened since then in that field of medical research and practice (see Don’s second comment, about Dan Sieger, about that).

The major difference, obviously to me, stems quite simply from the place in the world  and the social context in which each of us lives:

Don was born and lives in the USA, and in a city there where all such subjects are part to a large extent of normal life, thanks to the relatively high level of education and intellectuality in most of the population. A psychologist himself, together with his equally qualified wife he has written a book and is putting together a website about what I would call the New Psychology. From what he has himself written in his comments yesterday, one can see he is part just naturally of those circles of researchers in this field who meet or communicate often, nationally and internationally, All know of the latest advances, and are  able to have access, themselves and their family, to the most advanced psychological care that they already know is available, if ever they find themselves in psychological or psychiatric trouble. They somehow take all that for granted, it’s just ‘normal life’ for them.

Well, the situation is utterly different in the part of the world where, although French, I live by choice since 1972: Auroville, near Puducherry (ex-Pondicherry), South India. This is rural Tamil Nadu, with only a few big cities far and between. The new discoveries and new ways of New Psychology have a hard time here reaching and infiltrating mentalities still steeped in antiquated educative systems where the Freudian concepts remain hugely the predominant, if often subconscious (!) basis of understanding for those in the masses sufficiently educated to have at least heard of such notions at all. Even in the top level of really educated people, changing the old beliefs one has received isn’t easy: the ego is there too, which prevented Sigmund Freud himself from ever accepting that some of his theories may be wrong, even when his faithful student Carl Jung had the courage to point out to him what didn’t seem to be correct… Patients in areas of the world where Dan Siegel isn’t even heard of can at least use the clues given by Sri Aurobindo, as clear criteria for selecting the doctor whose approach will not harm them…

So my quiet conclusion is that Don and myself are actually both right in our different perceptions of the need still, or not, of those two texts by Sri Aurobindo. It all depends on the context in which we live and on the audience we are thinking of and trying to reach and help when we write. We are complementary, I would say. In this way,  our long mutual appreciation makes us a good bridge between the two worlds we each live in and identify ourselves with to some extent, however subconsciously… Oops! Here comes Freud again, surreptitiously, in our generalized acceptation of at least that basic discovery he did make, that was true, and confirmed by Sri Aurobindo then: the existence of the Subconscious!

I’ll end with celebrating with Don and inviting everyone to read that most wonderful other text by Sri Aurobindo that Don took the trouble to find again in order to quote it in his next comment… It summarizes indeed what we both agree deeply about, which fills up our life, and that we both found only in Sri Aurobindo.

Image result for Sri Aurobindo

PS: Yes, this morning, after a good night of rest, my cells have been happy to peacefully participate in the creation of this article… But now, enough is enough!… 😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. donsalmon
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 14:50:34

    you are right and I am right and you are me and i am you and we are the walrus goo goo ga joo (with apologies and gratitude to John Lennon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NPdURwkw7k

    I am he as you are he as you are me
    And we are all together
    See how they run like pigs from a gun
    See how they fly
    I’m crying
    Sitting on a corn flake
    Waiting for the van to come
    Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
    Man you’ve been a naughty boy
    You let your face grow long
    I am the egg man
    They are the egg men
    I am the walrus
    Goo goo g’joob
    Mr. City policeman sitting
    Pretty little policemen in a row
    See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
    See how they run
    I’m crying
    I’m crying, I’m crying, I’m crying
    Yellow matter custard
    Dripping from a dead dog’s eye
    Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess
    Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl
    You let your knickers down
    I am the egg man
    They are the egg men
    I am the walrus
    Goo goo g’joob
    Sitting in an English garden
    Waiting for…

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 26, 2019 @ 12:10:34

      ???… Didn’t know of that strange song by the Beatles. Was it ever supposed to have any meaning at all?
      Did you post it as an example of people needing psychiatric help? 😁 Or perhaps of people having had actually TOO MUCH Psychiatric treatment?!? 😜

      Like

      Reply

  2. donsalmon
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 14:54:10

    on a more serious note (not too serious, our hearts dancing together as well), i really have tried to keep up with changes in mental health systems around the world. But at the AUM (All USA Meeting of Integral yoga devotees in the US) Jan and I were talking with psychiatric nurse in Washington State with 40 years of experience saying that psychiatry is largely a “quack” profession – horrific use of potent and dangerous psychiatric medications (at least in some ways more dangerous than the vitalism of Freud) and I have no doubt that this continues to dominate around the world.

    From mental health workers from Auroville and the Ashram, I had the impression that things were changing considerably in India, but of course, there are also deep pockets of resistance and of Avidya in general where these things don’t come through.

    But at least Bhaga and others like her are continuing to bring a Greater Light and Sri Aurobindo’s profoundly prophetic vision for a “greater psychology” is increasingly being manifest in the home of the Gita, the Upanishads and the Vedas, as well as the rest of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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