What a magnificent universe we are a part of! What a fantastic earth we live on! And what amazingly unique brains and nervous systems we humans are in possession of! Can our emotions and psychology match this excellence?
Our psychology is both the problem and the solution
Very often I feel that it’s our psychology, in our battle of both physically and social survival, that is the biggest obstacle in the world today. That this very often misunderstood competitive and violent self-preservation, blocks the expression of our real potential as human beings! It makes envy, hostility hate and war, more prominent than cooperation, compassion and care for others. We’ll come to that. But first, I want you to join me for three minutes with the American composer Aron Coplands salute to the common man and woman on Earth:
Listen to Aron Coplands fantastic 3.min 27 seconds hommage for you and me, in the Universe.
There is a Third Way to deal With human nature.
I believe however, both from my science and work with people and psychological issues, that there is a third path between negative skepticism as “misanthropy”, and positive naivety as “philanthropy”. I will call it “psychanthropy”, referring to a conscious awareness of our psychological potential and responsability as human beings.
This potential for sure, can express itself both in a positive and a negative direction. (In media and the News, we mainly get the negative version of man, ignoring the fact that kindness is a motivational factor for millions of people. In some religious sects, however, we only seem to hear of our capacity for love and beneficial deeds. That is, if we give our heart to Christ, ignoring the fact that even then , our psychological universe can make our actions lethal.)
Especially the capacity to achieve a deeper conscious awareness of the consequences of our mindset and actions, give us an obligation to put our best foot forward, instead of kicking others legs to make them stumble and fall.
Only this way we will be able to both evolve the best in us as human beings, and at the same time relate consciously and actively to what makes us indifferent, destructive and hostile towards each other.
How big is Your Universe, and where do you place yourself in it?
You and I and all the others out there – even the earth and the solar system that we are a part, are quite small compared to the vast universe we have above and below us, even sideways and in all directions.
Psychologically, we need not, however, experience it so. From the position of Our own Self in the Universe, we can just as easily experience ourselves as the very center of it, as the rest of the universe just revolves around us.
How we experience ourselves situated in the world and the universe, however, seems clearly related to how our consciousness and self-awareness has evolved.
Both you and I, and the others have probably early in childhood developed some form of a self. Within this self development, there has also followed a corresponding sense of self, and an experience of identity, relatively separate from others.
From being part of the mother’s body, and her psychology and consciousness, we have gradually through both her and our father’s help, developed into what we now perceive as ourselves.
Through constant or successive support and encounters with our caretakers and the surroundings, we have gradually gained awareness of ourselves and others – and by this developed some sort of self-awareness. In most respects, this is both healthy and appropriate. In a social perspective, it seems absolutely necessary.
Where does Your Self start, and where does it stop?
Nevertheless, I will argue that the marked distinction between you, me and the others – animals, plants and trees, – soil, water and air, – these distinctions are somewhat artificial.
To think so is not new! In Buddhism the idea that everything in this universe is connected with everything else, has been the mindset for thousands of years. Which means that both micro and macro levels, are considered truly related, although this is not necessarily visible to us in our everyday life.
From Buddhism also comes the notion of the individual as the “little self,” while the material basis of our existence, The Nature, Earth and Universe have been perceived as “The Great Self“.
“We are one, and connected to all other living creatures and matter.”
Also here in the West, parts of physics anticipated in the late 50’ies and early 60’s, a scientific shift towards the perception of reality as closely connected and interrelated. Physicist Niels Bohr and his quantum mechanics took on a scientific basis distance from the notion of the universe as clearly divided, with distinctions between local and distant, you and me, spirit and matter.
However, it took about 47 years of lengthy discussions between him and Albert Einstein, and an additional 26 years before Bohr’s assumptions could finally be recognized experimentally. (Bells “Aspect experiment”, Paris 1981) The consequences that follows these findings, seems to me denied by most hard-core scientists even today.
The basic idea that all living creatures and matter, are deeply connected, received in Norway, Europe and the United States, its characteristic expression in the environmental philosophy “Deep Ecology”. This movement was initiated by the philosopher Arne Naess* in the 1970s. The term; “Everything is interconnected,” summarizes the basic principle of this movement.
* (Arne Naess jr. , his nephew and mountaineer, married US artist Diana Ross) .
Family and relational psychology.
Also parts of academic psychology, especially the relational psychodynamic family and self psychology starts with the assumption that humans are strongly connected and linked to each other, at a deeper unconscious level. Particularly does this apply within the same family, between relatives and between couples. This special topic will be elaborated later under a specific webpage menu.
Psychological Universe and developmental issues, climate change, and globalization.
In our time of crisis, the Website “Psychological Universe” is particularly concerned with human developmental issues, climate change, and increasing globalization and rearmament. This battle can not be won through a tug war between right-wing and leftist.
A fight about causes, methods and solutions between conservatives and socialists pulling on each side of a rope, will only give either side a temporary victory. Most likely the rope will break, – the rope, here signifying human life on earth.
Contribution from each side seem therefore necessary. The new international green movements also seem to base their methods and activities on this philosophy,
– Conservative right-wing minded contribution:
We need the conservative mind’s contribution, to help taking care of and conserve the different forms of human thinking and acting that preserves and even improves life on earth.
– Radical left-wing minded contribution:
We need the radical mind’s contribution to “eradicate” and remove the different forms of human thinking and acting that inhibit and prevents human and animal survival on earth!
– Neutral scientific contribution:
In addition,- psychologists, sociologists and biologists must help us define what the average human being need to feel safe, and reasonably happy and well taken care of in life. That is: When is enough enough, and more and more,- only less?
Defining ourselves and our mission in the world
How can we define ourselves and our mission in the world, so that we both evolve the best in us as human beings, and at the same time relate consciously and actively to what makes us indifferent, destructive and hostile towards each other. Only this way we can live up to the commitments it entails being on top of the hierarchy of consciousness in the animal kingdom.
At the top of the neuropsychological hierarchy.
Here at the top, we are not like Shakespeare’s Hamlet with a skull in hand. We are actually standing here with a living brain that can accommodate more possible connections between brain neurons and group of brain cells, than there are stars in the universe!
I think it is our task in the world, to use this potential for what it’s actually worth!