Do not make the growing generation obedient and submissive with mind-paralysing religious and authoritarian educational methods!
Global Research, May 24, 2022
This appeal is the confession of a free soul in the midst of the agony of a global crisis that will lead to a totalitarian “New World Order” (NWO) and a different “being human”. It is not meant to be a self-portrayal, even if the author starts from experiences in his youth. All political questions were intentionally placed in the background: they were given special consideration in many articles.
Since the thoughts and actions of adults are still determined by a “magical belief in authority” – uncritical and clouded by promises of happiness – the author believes that the Enlightenment in the 17th/18th century remained an unfinished project. Belief in authority inevitably leads to allegiance to authority, which usually triggers the reflex of absolute intellectual obedience and paralysis of the mind.
Full-minded adults can then no longer think independently and judge rationally. But it is not only their intelligence that is intimidated and degraded, but also their will and self-confidence.
In religious communities, education in obedience begins with the young child. It must allow itself to be led and guided without contradiction by all the “authorities” involved in the educational process – parents, teachers, priests. The authoritarian principle in education connects without any interruption to the “divine origin” of rule and respect for all “authorities” as conveyed by the Church. Thus, both religious and authoritarian education make the growing generation obedient and docile.
The author is concerned that these methods of education will lead to a situation where the younger generation will not be able to steer the world in a different direction. Scientific psychology, which researches human nature and provides assured answers to the question of the mental condition of human beings, therefore calls for a new “enlightenment” that incorporates the findings of scientific psychology about human nature.
In doing so, a free thinker does not claim to have at his or her disposal the only saint-making or the only truth that promises happiness. For the free mind, there is an unlimited number of truths to be discovered and to follow change.
Jean Meslier (1664-1729), Catholic priest and French radical enlightener from the time of the early Enlightenment, answers the question of what is true with the words:
“True is that which is not dogmatic bondage and does not divide men into believers and non-believers or those of other faiths, but is beneficial to the coexistence of men and promotes their understanding.” (1)
Of course, it remains the inalienable right of religious people to draw revelations of the highest religious truths from the words of the Bible. But it is equally the unconditional duty of the researcher to infer historical truths only from entirely unimpeachable testimonies.
According to the French physics professor and president of the Union of Atheists, Francis Perrin (1901-1992), the conviction that there is no God does not lead man to despair or fear, but to a deep understanding of the value and meaning of life:
“The firm conviction that there is no God and that the presumed answers of religions are illusory, foolish or childish, when man, beset by questions, ponders his lot or searches for a meaning to existence, this firm conviction does not lead at all to despair or fear, but to a great tranquillity of mind, to a deep understanding of the value of life and to a high conception of the dignity of man responsible to himself for his life and his deeds.” (2)
The appeal, written in generally understandable language, is also intended to provide the interested layperson with insights into the human life of the soul.
It is a supplement and deepening of the author’s book published in 2020 in Gornji Milanovac (Serbia) with the title “Handing over power to no one! A Psychological Manifesto of Common Sense” (ISBN 978-86-7432-119-5). The “Neue Rheinische Zeitung” (NRhZ) published a preprint and an abridged version of the book in November 2020. The abridged version was also adopted by “Global Research” in Canada.
Since it can be assumed that no publisher will be found for the present appeal, it will be distributed as a bilingual article (German and English) via the internet.
The theme of this appeal is the conviction of the author – a teacher, educationalist and qualified psychologist – that young people can very well develop into free-thinking, courageous and moral citizens. But for this to happen, all those responsible for the education of youth must refrain from making the growing generation “obedient” and “compliant” on their way to adulthood with mind-paralysing religious and authoritarian educational methods.
The Age of Enlightenment in the 17th/18th centuries was a great upheaval in history. The philosopher Emanuel Kant (1724-1804) formulated the guiding principle of the Enlightenment: “Have the courage to use your own mind.” Behind this statement was the idea that man should use his intellect and thereby develop into a mature personality.
Before the Enlightenment, the Church and the authorities did not want people to use their intellect: they were supposed to accept the “truths” presented to them by the state and the Church as a given without questioning them. Now, however, blind obedience to the Church began to waver.
The appeal to reason as the universal authority of judgement is considered an important characteristic of the Enlightenment. This includes the fight against prejudice, the turn to the natural sciences, the plea for religious tolerance and the orientation towards natural law.
Natural law, a right given by nature, says that there is something that is right by nature. The knowledge of what is right by nature makes it possible to oppose totalitarian ideologies and dictatorships from a firm human standpoint and to feel a sense of outrage against injustice and inhumanity.
Natural law thinking began in ancient Greek philosophy. Plato (427-347 BCE) assumed that there are objective, absolutely valid norms, values and laws that are not dependent on the changing opinions of people.
The objective ideas of what law is must guide the state and the state leadership at all times. The highest goal in human life was a rational life.
In socio-political terms, the Enlightenment aimed at more personal freedom of action (emancipation), education, civil rights, general human rights and the common good as a duty of the state. Many Enlightenment thinkers were optimistic about progress and assumed that a rational society would gradually solve the main problems of human coexistence.
In the author’s view, however, the Enlightenment has remained an incomplete project, an unfinished process of social emancipation. The thinking and actions of most people are still dominated by a “magical belief in authority” and an absolute spiritual obedience.
Yet human beings are born neither religious nor believing in God. However, the mentally healthy and “uncrippled” child enters a society where delusional ideas and illusions prevail. If one understands how the magical worldview affects the soul life and reason of the young person, then one also understands the immature behaviour of adult believers.
As soon as the first mental impulses appear in the little child and it learns to speak, it is “taken into care” by society, parents and the church. It is made clear to him that his nature is not allowed to develop freely with regard to his feeling for nature and his world view. If it wants to avoid being punished with general contempt and hellish chastisements, it must press its being into a certain ecclesiastical mould.
With this procedure, a very strong and paralysing pressure is exerted on the child’s soul. No political organisation, no matter how dictatorial and totalitarian, is capable of exerting such paralysing pressure on children’s souls. This mental rape is worse and more lasting than any physical rape. The same is true of the rape of the mind.
Religious faith places alongside reason and knowledge a magical illusory world that scientific analysis has no business approaching. Religions regard themselves as something above all that must not – and cannot – be the subject of empirical-rationalist investigation. They are of the opinion that science is not at all capable of grasping the realm of religion, which is of divine origin, in its totality.
If we start from a “magical faith in authority” and the reflex of an absolute spiritual obedience, then in order to understand its causes we must refer to a text written by Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Jesuit order, in the middle of the 16th century, and to which the German word “Kadavergehorsam” can be traced. The version translated from Spanish into Latin and published by the Congregation of the Order in 1558 reads:
“We should be aware that each one of those who live in obedience must allow himself to be led and guided by Divine Providence by means of the Superior, as if he were a dead body to be taken wherever and treated in whatever way, or like a staff of an old man to serve wherever and for whatever the wants to use him.” (3)
Long before Ignatius of Loyola, Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226) compared the perfect and highest form of obedience to one’s superior to a dead, disembodied body that allows itself to be taken wherever one wishes without protest or grumbling (4).
According to Loyola’s text, the obedient person must allow himself to be “led” and “guided” by divine providence by means of the “superior” or “superior” without contradiction, as if he were a “dead body” or “disembodied body”. The ruling stratum of society has also always justified its domination, its political and economic power over people’s minds with the ideological concept of “authority”. And this in turn is supported by the idea of the “absolute”, which eludes any possibility of control through experience.
For the “rulers”, the highest power of such an ideology is “God” – as an “unknowable”, “ultimate” cause and ethical lawgiver. Kings, for example, call themselves “by God’s grace” and thus say that they derive their enthronement from the divine instance.
Since the child already has to be led and guided without contradiction by the “authorities” involved in the educational process in order to still be obedient as an adult, scientific psychology demands a new “Enlightenment”.
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Dr. Rudolf Lothar Hänsel is a teacher (retired headmaster), doctor of education (Dr. paed.) and psychologist (specialising in clinical, educational and media psychology). As a retiree, he worked for many years as a psychotherapist in his own practice. In his books and educational-psychological articles, he calls for a conscious ethical-moral values education and an education for public spirit and peace.
He is a regular contributor to Global Research.
(1) Hagen, Friedrich (1977). Jean Meslier oder der Atheist im Priesterrock. Leverkusen and Cologne, p. 37
(2) op. cit., p. 7
(4) op. cit., p. 7
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Dr. Rudolf Hänsel, Global Research, 2022