Friday, November 30, 2007

Escape from Consciousness Island

Used to be there were two possibilities: either you were telling the truth, or you were lying. But Freud introduced a third option: you think you’re telling the truth, but you’re not. You’re just not conscious of it.

Norberto Keppe has a deeper thought: you actually are conscious of your lie, but you’ve hidden that consciousness from view.

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head, Escape From Consciousness Island.

Well, when you start to enter a discussion on the aspect of consciousness, you start to enter a pretty cerebral, theoretical world. I don’t want to go there. But I do want to till the field somewhat because there is a point of view about consciousness that’s not well spread yet through academic and lay circles in human society.

Norberto Keppe, the creator of Analytical Trilogy, is proposing something quite revolutionary: the essence of man is consciousness. Plato and the early Greeks talked about this actually, about how we are born with universal knowledge and ideas. This seems to have been borne out by recent research out of Yale University showing that very young babies have the concept of good and bad in them before they’ve had a chance to learn it. Check out the study conducted by Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center published in the Nature journal in November, 2007.

Socrates worked almost exclusively with this by engaging in dialogues with fellow citizens. He based himself on certain moral principles that could be seen as universal truths, and so any diversion from these in practice or thinking would demonstrate inconsistency or even sickness. Jesus’ teachings, of course, are our best examples of this. He was always exhorting us to look to the truth within for our guidance.

Aristotle started the deterioration from this superior idea by suggesting that knowledge came only from the senses, from experience, and this opened the door to thinkers like Descartes to further deteriorate our philosophy of life by suggesting that universal values were relative.

Keppe is returning us to the superior view in his assertion that we are conscious, we have knowledge. Keppe writes that the universals are concepts from God’s mind implanted in our structure. But being a psychoanalyst, he has noticed that we have attitudes of denying what we know. And he’s explored how and why we do that extensively in his vast and important work, which is also what we explore every week in this program.

All of Keppe’s fascinating perspectives will be applied to an analysis of many areas of human endeavor in our 19th International Congress of Analytical Trilogy, July 4-6, 2008 here in Brazil. Critique and solutions through the eyes of psycho-socio pathology. Write me at for more information.

Today, Cesar Soos joins me again to look at our human pathological tendency to escape from consciousness, which Keppe asserts is our only sickness.

Click here to listen to this episode.

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sense07 said...

So much of 'consciousness' talk is relevant also to agnostics and atheists who are floundering between 'idealism' and 'realism' - not wanting 'dualism' but not wanting either to discard the idea of transcending the often narrow and arrogant 'scientific humanism' championed by Dawkins et al... So my question & comment is: why is it necessary to speak of 'God' - particularly with a 'mind' as if 'he' too is somehow a person? Whatever ineffable energy, force, nature, cosmic One-ness there might be, we have to see it in relation to all that is valid & workable in science - including 'Nature' as in the theory of 'natural selection' & more recent nano-technological factors which agnostic scientists not only accept theoretically but apply & work with - to develop successful technologies, advances in medicine, space exploration..
The point is, why alienate this audience by reverting to a God model that is an instant turn-off in today's intellectual and philosophical climate (more so in UK admittedly, than in the US)... It is not as though Keppe has to 'dumb down' in order to include these consciousnesses, so why presuppose the anthropomorphic God model? If this model is essential to Keppe's theories, maybe we can have reference to justification for this model in his many works...?

Richard Lloyd Jones said...

Thanks again for another comment on the Blog, Sonja. Thought provoking comment at that.

Well, we can, of course, speak about reality/fantasy, good/evil etc. without mentioning God as the infinite power and source of energy and cause of all dependent and contingent things. But there’s an inherent problem if we do that: the very first cause of human pathology is exactly the denial of God.

As Kraepelin, the first of the great German psychiatrists, discovered, megalomania is one of the primary contributors to mental sickness. Freud and Klein also noticed this, and also that envy played a huge role in the way people related to the world. Freud, though, being an atheist, got stuck at the more superficial Oedipus Complex and other various sexual theories, which in Keppe’s view are completely secondary. I would submit to you that it was precisely Freud’s atheism that prevented him from going deeper and so, in the end, not getting to the point at all.

For his part, Keppe has completed the understanding of psycho-socio-pathology for all who have the openness to see, and he confirms that the cause of our personal and social problems is exactly our theomania (he considers megalomania in a bigger way than the early Germans), which is our desire to be God. Added to our envy of God and our narcissism, it’s a potent pathological stew we must understand much better if we’re to resolve our human/social problems. We each one of us think we’re the gods of our own little worlds, with our own ideas, our own truths, our own laws, isolated from the BIG plan and organization.

So, sure, we could deal with human pathology just halfway but this would not address the complete problem and there is no time anymore for half measures. If we human beings don’t get to the root cause of our difficulties soon, all the well meaning saving of nature and species will amount to nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

I acknowledge that the issue of God has never been seen from the perspective that Keppe is bringing to us today – a God very different from a religious one, by the way, but a very useful perspective if we're to understand the root causes of our human sickness, and of course, get to the bottom of our destruction and inverted social structures.