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Frank1
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Proper ordering of soul and body/the inverted value hierarchy of modern psychology
Nov 25th, 2015 at 4:37pm
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How should we organize our soul and bodies as to be able to live as a human being should?

There are four parts:

At the top of the hierarchy is something outside of us, God.*

God informs us of Himself through revelation.

Revelation informs our rational faculty.  It tells us what it is important for us to think on and to try to understand.  We read the Scripture (revelation) or a commentary on Scripture and then we meditate (use our rational faculty) on what we have read.

Our rational faculty then informs our will.  It tells us what we should be willing. 

Finally at the bottom we have the psyche (appetites and emotions).  The will, informed by the rational faculty, which is itself informed by revelation, is used to tame the psyche.

So lets take the sexual appetite and see how it fits in this view of a properly ordered individual.

We have an urge for sex, and this urge needs directed into its proper channels.  Revelation for Christians tells us that sexual appetites are only to be satisfied in marriage.  Using the rational faculty we can meditate on this and, depending on the strength of this faculty in each individual, the individual can see to a more or less extent (depending, again, on the individual) why this should be so.

So, revelation tells us how this appetite is to be satisfied, the rational faculty helps us understand why this must be so, and then the will is used to suppress the sexual appetite until such time as it can be expressed in its proper place.

Revelation
Rationality
Will
Psyche**

Modern psychology inverts the above hierarchy, which is why perennialist thinkers attack it so vehemently.  Psychology focuses on the psyche (emotions and appetites) but worse, it tends to tell us we should orient our whole lives around the desires and whims of the psyche.

First off, God is eliminated from the picture, which of course eliminates revelation.  We are left with only rationality, will and psyche, and rather than the rationality informing the will of its goals and the will taming the psyche, we get the psyche telling the will what we should will for our lives and the rationality then being used to figure out schemes to achieve what we will.

This is an inverted hierarchy, and one that infests our society. 

We have now:

1.  Psyche
2.  Will
3.  Reason


Furthermore, in the traditional view we are told we must obey God or things may go badly.  Now we are told we must obey our psyche or things will go wrong.  If we suppress our appetites and emotions rather than fulfill them with all our will, things will go wrong, is what we are told.***

Psychology, then, is the art of learning to be an animal.  Psychologists are those who tell us what we need to do to satisfy our appetites and emotions so we can stay sane (in their view); they are those who tell us that the most important thing in life, the way to health and happiness, is through consistent satisfaction of appetites and expression of emotion, absolutely regardless of any outside moral teachings.  Psychology and psychologists are almost always amoralists...there is no God, thus no truth, thus no morality we must conform to...we must rather conform our will and rational faculties to the desires of the animal part of our being, the psyche.

This worldview promotes a perniciously, selfish individualism.  We have our desires, and they must be satisfied.



*Of course God is also "within" us but I am using standard exoteric terminology here, which is fine for my purposes.

**The psyche is not, of course, useless.  Our emotions and appetites cane inform us to some extent of what we should be doing.  We are hungry, so we need to eat, for instance.  The problem, which is for another discussion, is that our appetites and emotions can be so prone to distortion if not whipped into shape by a will that is informed by reason and revelation.

***Remember though that in the properly ordered life suppression of appetites and emotions is not just mere whim, it is based on what we understand of God's will for our lives.
  


To say homo sapiens, is to say Homo religiosus; there is no man without God. ~Frithjof Schuon
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fair-minded know it all
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Re: Proper ordering of soul and body/the inverted value hierarchy of modern psychology
Reply #1 - Nov 29th, 2015 at 7:22pm
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I have problems with much of modern psychology.  I'm sure I also have a lot of problems with perennial mystic babble. Not sure I should need to be defending the Christian/Biblical worldview on a Christian forum.
  

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Re: Proper ordering of soul and body/the inverted value hierarchy of modern psychology
Reply #2 - Nov 29th, 2015 at 8:05pm
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fair-minded know it all wrote on Nov 29th, 2015 at 7:22pm:
I have problems with much of modern psychology.  I'm sure I also have a lot of problems with perennial mystic babble. Not sure I should need to be defending the Christian/Biblical worldview on a Christian forum.   


There's nothing particularly non-Christian about Frank1's post.

I do find, though, that more traditional, liturgical wings of Christianity are more concerned with ordering (of community, of time, of lifestyle, etc.) that seems less consequential when faced with direct experience of the living God.
  

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