Is all of human civilization built upon a foundation of psychosis?

(The following is taken from one of the footnotes in the “full version” of my essay “Against the Lie.”)

If there is one thing I hope to convey to the reader, it is the extreme importance to society of the subject matter of schizophrenia itself, especially as it pertains to religion, so that readers who share an anti-esotericist perspective can research it more than I have been able to do.  I would also like to emphasize that the problems and traits associated with schizophrenia cannot be conceptually limited to those persons who have been officially diagnosed as “schizophrenic.”  The striking similarity between religious esotericist modes of communication and schizophrenic modes of communication simply cannot be written off as trivial.  And esotericist modes of communication underlie all of the world’s traditional religions—which in turn underlie all of human civilization.  That means that if esotericist religion is a problem that all human beings have in common, then so too is schizophrenia.  Nobody can live in human society without having been psychologically harmed by such a state of affairs.  As such, I do not think it would go too far to say that all of human civilization as we know it is at least somewhat “schizophrenogenic,” i.e., schizophrenia-producing.

Related to this, consider what the authors of the medical journal article “The Role of Psychotic Disorders in Religious History Considered” write in their conclusion:

We suggest that some of civilization’s most significant religious figures may have had psychotic symptoms that contributed inspiration for their revelations.  It is hoped that this analysis will engender scholarly dialogue about the rational limits of human experience and serve to educate the general public, persons living with mental illness, and healthcare providers about the possibility that persons with primary and mood disorder-associated psychotic-spectrum disorders have had a monumental influence on civilization.

(Evan D. Murray, Miles G. Cunningham, and Bruce H. Price, The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 24:4, Fall 2012, p. 424.)

However, I wish to note that my own view is that it is the authors of the ancient esoteric writings who should be considered to have been at least somewhat psychotic, and to have been the persons who received the “revelations,” rather than the characters that they wrote about (such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus).

I also wish to note that my opposition to esoteric religion is not based on my necessarily having made any determination that the esotericist authors of the sacred scriptures of the world’s traditional religions somehow crossed “the rational limits of human experience”; nor any determination that we ought to extend what we conceive those limits to be.  My opposition is instead based on the fact that those authors failed to communicate their experiences and revelations—whatever they were—in a way that was unambiguous and that would not be likely to mislead or unnecessarily confuse the general readership of their writings; and my opposition to esoteric religion is also based on my belief that by effectively requiring people to immerse themselves in writings of that kind—as the world’s traditional religions all do—those religions tend to promote the development of psychosis in society.

The Crucifixion understood as equivalent to the fall of Babel/Babylon; both events being understood to signify the end of religious esotericism (i.e., cryptic “prophecy”)

At one point in Romans 3:1-8, the apostle Paul quotes Psalm 51:4.  Both Paul’s quotation of Psalm 51:4 in Romans 3:4 and the Greek Septuagint version of Psalm 51:4 contain the same Greek word nikaō, which means “to prevail, to overcome, to conquer, to be victorious.”  Where the Septuagint version of Psalm 51:4 uses the Greek word nikaō, the Hebrew Masoretic version of Psalm 51:4 uses the Hebrew word zakah, which means “to be pure, to be clean, to be clear.”  A comparison of these two versions of Psalm 51:4 at least suggests the possibility that the idea of “prevailing, overcoming, conquering, being victorious” (Greek nikaō) which is spoken of in Romans 3:4 was understood by the Jewish translators of the Septuagint to be, in its essence, equivalent to the idea of “being made pure, being made clean, being made clear” (Hebrew zakah).  Such an hypothesis tends to be confirmed when we consider the use of that same Greek word nikaō in passages such as Revelation 21:6-7, which speaks of “the water of life” as being awarded to those who have “prevailed” or “overcome”—especially when that passage is read in conjunction with Revelation 22:1, which emphasizes the “clarity” of this same “water of life.”

Such an equivalence between the idea of “overcoming” or “prevailing,” and “being made pure” or “being made clear,” would also tend to reinforce the hypothesis that I offered in a previous post that the purified “spirit of Jesus”—that is to say, purified by having passed through the experience of the Crucifixion and the inevitably succeeding Resurrection—may have been regarded by the authors of the New Testament as something that would ultimately come to replace the “unclean spirit” or “impure spirit.”  (Consider Romans 6:3-5.  Is it merely coincidental that Jesus’s death and rebirth would be compared by Paul to being symbolically cleansed by the baptismal waters?)  This would indicate that the figure of “Jesus”—which I believe should be regarded, at least in part, as an archetype representing all of the schizophrenic “prophets” at once—was understood to “prevail” (think: “be made pure, be made clean, be made clear”) at the symbolic moment of his “death” on the Cross.  And I think that it was Jesus’s speech or language that was, more than anything, understood by the authors of the New Testament to have been made “pure” or “clean” or “clear” at that symbolic moment—that is, from the perspective of those listening to him—when he finally gave the “great shout” or “loud cry” that he had been holding back prior to that.  (Cf. Matthew 10:27.)

I think the belief of the authors of the New Testament was that non-schizophrenics would acquire the ability to speak in “schizophrenese” to some extent, even at the same time as their doing that would provide the schizophrenic “prophets” with a greater feeling of safety, giving them the freedom to speak less schizophrenically themselves.  I think the hope or expectation of the authors was that the two groups would “meet each other half-way,” so to speak—and doing this is what would accomplish the “fulfilling” (or “completing,” or “finishing,” or “perfecting,” or “bringing to an end”: Greek teleō or teleioō) of “prophecy.”

Continue reading “The Crucifixion understood as equivalent to the fall of Babel/Babylon; both events being understood to signify the end of religious esotericism (i.e., cryptic “prophecy”)”

Non-esoteric religious communities as a solution to the intrinsic defects of the nuclear family

I believe that there are certain fundamental and intrinsic defects in the institution of the nuclear family that give rise to child abuse and mistreatment; but I also believe that the institution of the “non-esoteric religious community” or “practical philosophical community” would be able to help address and overcome those intrinsic defects.  And, importantly, it would do so by complementing the nuclear family, rather than destroying or replacing it, or swallowing it up.

Let me say at the outset that, as a general matter, I do not want the state to be involved in trying to solve the sorts of family problems that I will be discussing (although I do think there may be a role for the state, at least for the time being, when child abuse takes less subtle forms of physical and sexual abuse, making it necessary for the child to be removed from the home).  I also do not want to see any “Brave New World” scenario come about in which parents no longer play a central role in the upbringing of their children, and in which this job is given over to some irresponsible bureaucratic “collective.”

However, I believe that hysterical fear about the emergence of any such “Brave New World” scenario has actually been whipped up for the purpose of distracting people’s attention away from the fact that the nuclear family—when left on its own—is far from ideal.  I do not believe that people should be content to assume that so long as parents are just “left alone to raise their children” without any outside interference from anyone, then everything will be all right—as many now believe, since “everyone knows” (because it’s said so very often) that parents love their children ever so much and would do anything for them.

So I realize that I’m going to meet with a lot of resistance when I offer the suggestion that the nuclear family—considered by itself, in a socially isolated state—is really not such a great thing after all.  In fact, I restate my belief that considered by itself it is a fundamentally dysfunctional and intrinsically defective institution that cannot be relied upon to attend to the needs of children.  And that is the reason why I believe it is absolutely essential that voluntary, non-esoteric religious communities be brought into existence in order to complement and give support to nuclear families, and help to compensate for their inherent weaknesses and limitations.

Continue reading “Non-esoteric religious communities as a solution to the intrinsic defects of the nuclear family”