Friday, September 28, 2007

Returning to Paradise

Its tantalizing memory of a lost golden age of uninterrupted peace and happiness infuses the oral and written traditions of all peoples on Earth. Poets, mystics and monks have labored to keep the spark alive inside the human soul. When we think with these heads, the idea that we're evolving becomes patently ridiculous.

In fact, we were born into, but rejected, paradise. Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, we'll look at an intriguing concept that's been much considered in human historical thought, but completely ridiculed and discounted in our strictly materialistic modern view: the idea that we've fallen from a paradisal state. In this view, we're not evolving from the cosmic mud but spinning away from beauty and perfection.

You know, most of us have no idea about how the thoughts of historical figures affect our way of seeing the world today. Most of us are under the impression that our thought has evolved rather naturally and that our philosophies of life and perceptions of the world are more or less arrived at through experience and natural development.

This is very naive. Thought has always been influenced. For example, back in the 4th and 5th centuries, St. Augustine was enormously influential. He followed Plato's philosophy of the world of universal ideas and infused knowledge. Human beings were born with something for Augustine - not empty vessels who are filled by experience and interaction with society.

In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas began to lead the thinking away from Plato's universalism by reintroducing Aristotle's orientation: we are products of our experience, of our senses. The impact of this change in thinking was immense. Science began to orient itself more to materialistic evidence than to theological, universal concepts. We experienced a continuing erosion of the influence of theological and even philosophical wisdom in our worldview. To the point where we can say quite unequivocally that we have no philosophers anymore. Now we favor only what we can see or measure. In this modern world, all is relative. The universal questions - good and evil, from where do we come, what is the purpose of life - are seldom considered. Today, you go to university to get trained for a job - not to think about how to develop the human spirit.

Well, all of this is the reason I named this Podcast, Thinking with Somebody Else's Head. Because I wanted to explore the way we saw the world and how this always came from other people's heads. And if those heads made fundamental mistakes, then structuring a world view based on their ideas would be fraught with inconsistencies at best, and downright lunacy at worst.

Norberto Keppe's work gives us a road map to follow based on solid principles of goodness, truth and beauty. Universal reality.

Today, Dr. Claudia Pacheco joins me to look at an idea that's existed as long as human beings have existed: that we are golden creatures that once inhabited a golden age, but fell from it.

Click here to listen to this episode.


Friday, September 21, 2007

The Universe of the Spirits

I remember my college roommate couldn't sleep for a week after watching The Exorcist. We all have friends who messed around with ouija boards, don't we? My neighbour used to receive visits from recently departed loved ones in her dreams.

There is a wealth of theological knowledge on the presence and influence of spirits in our day-to-day lives. But sadly, it's been eliminated. Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, we'll begin to open the doors again to the universe of the spirits. This preceless knowledge has been totally excluded from our modern, so-called rational world.

Norberto Keppe, in exploring the deep psychopathology of human beings, saw very early on in his work that human difficulties were much more spiritual than organic, much more related to the questions of who we are, where we came from, and where we were going than they were to the out-of-whack chemicals in our brains.

But Keppe went a step further even by seeing that the finality of our envy and inversion would be our enormous rejection of reality and God. So he has always kept an ear tuned to the importance of theology in considering the human psyche. His recent book, The Universe of the Spirits, is currently being translated into English, and is a must read for a world totally cut off from this spiritual wisdom and desperately in need of connecting to it again.

I've invited my good friend, Cesar Soos, in again to consider this topic with me. Cesar has been researching the metaphysical and spiritual world for many years now, and has a fantastic perspective on Keppe's wonderful book.

Click here to listen to this episode.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Correcting Psychology

It was Freud who first opened to us the rich and complex world of the human psyche. There've been many additions since - some of it useful, like Jung's association of ideas, some of it next to useless, like Skinner's insistence that we can be programmed like pigeons.

Now through the work of Norberto Keppe, there's a lot of light illuminating the murky corners of the human mind.

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, we're going to correct psychology.

Recently, I had a Podcast listener asking me about doing Trilogical analysis by phone. He said he'd been looking around in his home town for something to help him analyze some long-standing issues in his life, but "just never found one that was so in tune with what you're saying in your Podcast."

That's not an uncommon response to Keppe's work.

When I first came to Brazil, I was struck by the depth and optimism of Analytical Trilogy. Different from most psychological schools of thought that try to have you understand your problems by looking at the impact of significant events in your past, or exploring the elaborate coping strategies that you erect to get what is missing in your life, Analytical Trilogy cuts to the core problem: how we reject or deny or even destroy our essential nature, throwing the blame on these other things.

There is a strong philosophical base to Trilogy that allows a Trilogical analyst - and there are a number of them down here in Brazil - to reach the core of the problem.

The first thing to say about all this is that all sickness, all neurosis, all anxiety, is evidence of something we are doing against life. It could be an attitude, a lifestyle, a way of seeing the world. But something is out of whack in our approach to life. This is more profound than it may appear at first glance, because it supposes that reality is healthy, good, beautiful ... by itself. And it is this dialectic between reality and our rejection or denial of it that is at the basis of Keppean analysis.

I've asked Alex Frascari to join me again to explore this fascinating topic. And I'll start with a quote from Keppe's book, From Freud to Frankl: Integral Psychoanalysis:

"Up to now, all processes of psychotherapy have not been psychological. Psychoanalysis itself, whether orthodox or not, is more than anything else a biological, organic treatment, not to mention other techniques such as Rogerian and Transactional Analysis, psychodrama and behaviorism, which are sociotherapeutic."

Let's see how Keppe addresses this.

Click here to listen to this program.