Humanity will not be able to advance without psychology
Global Research, October 05, 2022
Even if the question of humanity’s survival in the face of a possible pre-emptive nuclear war (1) is currently at the centre of all considerations, wise Enlightenment thinkers should think “beyond the day” and consider how fellow human beings want to live in an Asian-style New World Order. Peace, freedom and justice remain desired goals of all human beings.
No matter how the world develops, humanity will not advance without the insights of scientific psychology. As a psychologist and psychotherapist of many years’ standing, the author stands by his prognosis. In the following, the development of modern psychology will be briefly presented.
It will not be easy to teach fellow citizens with different levels of education as well as young and old the knowledge about themselves and people in general. Up to now, they have been brought up in an authoritarian and religious way by parents, church and state and they are programmed in such a way that it will be difficult to make them aware of their problems.
But education means teaching people how to solve their problems and how to live. They should also learn what opinion they should have about themselves, their partners, neighbours, about the state and the community, and what attitude they should have towards their children.
It was not until the modern era that people began to recognise themselves
Before the age of psychology, in contrast to science based on causality, the magical worldview of the Middle Ages and religion held a firm grasp on people. It was believed that man’s soul was only undergoing a trial here in this world and that man belonged in heaven; there was eternal life.
It was Ludwig Feuerbach who shook up this problem by showing that this was not so (2). But his insight is still fought against and not passed on. Even today, the old principle of religion, the supernatural destiny of man, is still valid in schools. Even people’s feelings were not allowed to be researched; the Church was against it. Naturalists were therefore on the wrong track when they observed other peoples – the so-called savages.
It was only through the materialistic view of history in the century before last that people began to concern themselves with themselves. They began to recognise and interpret human beings and to explain to themselves why they behave the way they do. That was the beginning of the modern age.
The materialist conception of history was a great incursion into the world of people’s feelings. Karl Marx and the liberal socialists began to see man in the right way. If these thoughts had not been fought, humanity would already be much further ahead; people would be able to arrange life better for themselves in every respect. Marx had the German philosopher Wilhelm Hegel as his model. And he still saw God and the Absolute in nature.
Karl Marx, however, based himself on Feuerbach, rejected the supernatural tendency and found that man’s attitude can be changed. Depth psychology confirms this. Marx believed that man’s consciousness is determined by conditions (Being determines consciousness.). He brought man back to earth. He was also right that people change when their lives are secure, when they have a laid table. They then have different thoughts, different feelings and a different relationship with their fellow human beings. As long as people are afraid, they believe. In the materialistic view of history, belief in gods and supernatural beings ceased.
When social conditions change people associate with their fellow human beings, believe in them and empathise with them by appealing to them. The other person wants to live as well as I do, he wants to have a roof over his head. He joins in, said the liberal socialists, the anarchists. One must not be afraid of other people and see no danger in their freedom. The liberal socialists wanted to have a community where each person decides which way he wants to choose, with whom he wants to associate, how he wants to live. This freedom should be given to all people.
Freedom means that man has his security and does not have to beg for church soup. The principle of freedom should be understood in such a way that every working man knows that if he can no longer work, if he falls ill, that he will then have the same opportunity to live, that he will continue to have the wage he has today, that he can keep his home, that he can continue to live.
But there is one thing Karl Marx did not demand of people: that they could be set free immediately. He had envisaged revolutionaries taking over power and the state and then establishing justice and the right to life, land and property. If workers’ councils were in charge in the factories, the state would die off, withdraw. But this has proved to be a mistake, because people cannot develop under the principle of violence and authority, but become corrupt.
If consciousness is determined by being, as Marx said, then being begins when people are given freedom – and immediately! It is not the state that decides, but the community of people: the peasant, the employee, the worker in the factory and the community. There is no need for a commissioner or a city official to come and issue orders. What does someone who does not know the problem want to teach the farmer?
Depth psychology – a child of natural science
Without a materialistic view of history, psychology would not be at its present level of research. Psychology is a science about the being of human beings, about human nature. As an empirical science, it investigates the mental and spiritual life of man by means of systematic observation and on the basis of experience: how does man become, how does he grow up, what experiences does he have and how does he find his way in life.
Scientifically oriented psychologists observe, measure and analyse with the aim of recognising regularities and making their research results available to all people. In this way, psychology can teach people how to live naturally and solve their life problems. They also learn to recognise and understand their own feelings and ways of reacting and those of other people. When they learn about the emotional world of fellow human beings, they can also judge their deeds and ways of acting – those of their fellow citizens and those of politicians and those in power.
Unfortunately, the science of psychology is still underestimated or misjudged in many countries. Indeed, there is no politics without psychology, and the fact that wars are fought is also due to the lack of psychological knowledge. During German and worldwide fascism, most psychologists failed miserably and allowed themselves to be used for murderous wars (3).
The decisive breakthrough in the intellectual circles of society was only achieved by the natural sciences in the 17th century. This triggered a scientific revolution in connection with the Enlightenment. More than two centuries later, the Austrian physician, depth psychologist, cultural historian and religious critic Sigmund Freud discovered and researched the unconscious in humans and founded psychoanalysis.
Freud believed that the whole world was a hospital, a sick or insane asylum. There would be no human being who could solve his problems. If we look around the world today, we see that all people without exception are not healthy but psychologically irritated by traditional education. Experienced psychotherapists confirm this. For this reason, enlightenment and education of people are of great importance. More important, however, is the problem of education, which – according to the German writer Jean Paul – is the real lever arm of culture.
The importance of education for a future worth living
If we are concerned that all citizens live in a peaceful, free and just world in the future, that people understand each other and their fellow human beings, and that violence, wars and the domination of people over people come to an end, then we must turn to the problem of education and talk about past and future methods of education.
Recent research in depth psychology has made parents, teachers, pedagogues, psychologists and all other interested parties aware that man is the product of his upbringing to such an extent that we can hope that better, i.e. psychological, methods of upbringing will be able to train people who will be immune to the entanglements of the mania for power.
The educational methods of the past created a type of human being that could cause the tragedy of history. The authoritarian principle, for centuries regarded as the unquestionably valid basis of educational behaviour, already throttled people’s sense of community in their childhood years and equipped them with that readiness for aggression through which a violent world could persist in a state of violence.
By renouncing inappropriate authority and the use of violence in the parental home and school and devoting itself with true understanding to the child’s soul, pedagogy will produce a type of human being that does not have a “subject mentality” and will therefore no longer be a docile tool for those in power in the world.
The democratisation of education in the sense of respect for the child’s personality and the friendly devotion of the educator to his pupil on the basis of a consistent interpersonal anti-authority will make the most valuable contribution to the building of a humane social order.
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Dr. Rudolf Lothar Hänsel is a teacher (retired headmaster), doctor of education (Dr. paed.) and graduate psychologist (Dipl.-Psych. with specialisation in clinical, educational, media and individual psychology). He taught and trained professionals for many decades. As a retiree, he worked 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. His motto in life (after Albert Camus): Give when you can. And not to hate, if that is possible.
He is a regular contributor to Global Research.
(2) Feuerbach, Ludwig (1994). The essence of Christianity. Stuttgart
(3) Baumgarten, Franziska (1949). The German Psychologists and the Events of the Times. Zürich
Featured image: BAZA Productions, courtesy of ShutterStock.
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Dr. Rudolf Hänsel, Global Research, 2022