April 1980 talk, Serial No. 00905

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Inspire our minds, our words, our thoughts. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be always acceptable to you. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen. So last time we saw something about the concept of faith and religion. We saw how some make a clear distinction between these two. Barth, remember, who sees faith as profoundly Christian and salvific and religion as kind of the basic human infidelity to faith. You have this kind of dialectic. Then we saw the approach of St. Thomas, which also distinguishes faith from religion but sees religion as a positive virtue related to justice, related to giving God his due, so to speak. Then we saw the Rahner proposal that in each human person there's this basic exigency for the absolute


and that Christian faith fulfills this, completes this. Then we wanted to look at some challenges in the modern world to the stance of faith and religion and of the monastic life. Why deal with these challenges? Why not just ignore them if these are these infidels saying no to us, to our faith, to our religious way? Why even give them the time of day, so to speak? If the golden age of monasticism, whatever be one's judgment, if it be the 4th century in Egypt or the 12th century in whatever be our judgment, why not go directly there? Why work through these people like Freud and Marx and modern secularism, etc.? If our whole effort is to live according to an ideal which they deny, why worry about it, sort of thing? We proposed the theological argument that we have been born in this age and in this continent,


and we suggested that this is the direct will of God. Remember we said you can't blame everything on the will of God. If there was a terrible car accident down the road, we can't say, well, God willed it. No, this was probably just human negligence, for instance. But there are some things that God directly willed. God directly willed, for instance, the incarnation. God directly willed our salvation, the resurrection, etc. Well, it seems to me one must argue that God directly willed that I personally be born in that day and in that place. My parents wanted vaguely a child, but they didn't want my unique person. They didn't foresee, whether even it be a male or a female, that my unique person was born precisely then. And this, it seems to me, and to theologians, has to be traced to the direct will of God. And so for each of you, God willed you to be contemporaries, Westerners, Americans.


God wants this. So that in some sense, I think we have to come to terms with this will of God. Why does God want? Maybe I feel much more at home in the 4th century desert experience with Paphnutius or with Moses the Black or whatever. But that may be what I want, but God wants me here. Now, we are living in this amazing age where I can, in fact, be there. We have so many books and scholarly studies, etc. We can largely reconstruct, to some extent, 4th century desert or 12th century Monte Athos or the monastery of St. Bernard or whatever. So I can get there. And I might, at a certain point, feel myself more at home there than here. But it seems to me I have to get there sort of going through, coming to terms with where God will lead us to start with. So someone in Ohio might be the great expert on the 4th century in India or something. But still, I think he has to recognize that he is a modern Ohioan. And it is from that point of view that he...


So that's our basic. Is everyone at peace with this? So I think it is healthy for us, just basically spiritually, for our own human and Christian and monastic authenticity to recognize that we're 20th century Americans and that our thought, our reflex action, has been shaped and molded by certain things, certain thinkers, etc. And it's better, in a kind of a mature, direct way, to come to terms with these things for ourselves and also for any kind of contact and pastoral work we might be doing with people who come here. But basically just with ourselves, the basic principle in spiritual life, to start where you're at, to be who you are, and then move on from there as you wish. But you've got to come to terms. I am not living in a cave in the 7th century and wherever. Are we? Okay. So today we're going to try to come to terms


with one of sort of the giants of our time who had a great deal to say about religion and faith. And he's one of the kind of turning points in the modern experience. And he's inside of us, even if we don't want to admit it, and that's Sigmund Freud. And he proposes, I think, one of the most radical challenges to any form of religion and to any form of faith. And it's quite a radical challenge, and it's had quite an influence on, I think, everyone who knows anything about him, and all of us know something about him. Now, my thesis will be going through him, going through those who follow him. Finally, we come out on the positive side, so to speak, that his immediate radical norm of religion and faith will be followed by all sorts of nuance things. And finally, some of his own disciples will come out saying just the opposite of what he's saying regarding religion and faith. He'll be saying just basically


that all religion is fundamentally sick, is fundamentally neurotic. And some of the people who start out as his disciples, such as Jung and Asajori, will end up saying every expression of religion and faith is basically an expression of psychic growth and health. So the tables will be completely turned. But I don't think we have a right to get to Jung and Asajori until we've gone through the fires of Babylon, we've gone through the fires of Sigmund Freud. This is... So Freud, I think one does have to say, kind of a towering genius of the modern age. He had a tremendous influence on psychology. He is the father of psychoanalysis. But not just on that. He's had a tremendous influence on art, on painting impressionism, and surrealism and expressionism, on the novel, on films, on music, on just everything, the psychological drama,


this sort of thing. And if you just listen to young people, it's hard for them to speak half an hour without Freudian language coming through, sort of neurotic behavior or a strong superego or a defense mechanism or this sort of thing, complex. All this language, repression, fixation, all these things, and also in our own language. I think here now, before one becomes a permanent member of the community, he's invited to a dialogue with a psychologist or something. Now, this suggests that we have been... that we are no longer just ignoring this whole dimension. Sister Benedicte, in her tapes at a certain point, she says the fathers of the desert were the first psychologists. So here she's using a model that's largely created by Sigmund Freud,


and she's applying it to the fathers. We'll want to ask later in what sense. But quite clearly, if one of the functions of the monk is to have a certain custody of his own thoughts, impressions, moods, desires, inspirations, etc., to discern what is valid from what might be a little not healthy, there's a clear parallel there. So when did Freud die, more or less? Just to try to situate it. Any other guesses? Does that seem too early, too late? Too early. You said 18? Oh, no, no. Everyone's in agreement with that? No. Wouldn't you put it... Many people normally put him in the last century,


but it was 1939 that he died, so it's... But sometimes people think, well, it was towards the end of the last century or towards even the middle of the last century. So he is almost our contemporary. I think this is amazing, to show how his thought has just sort of exploded and just expanded to the whole of the Western world, and I think it's coming into the East also. But 1940 was a pretty good... Now, if you look in the documents of Vatican II, there's all sorts of positive references also to psychology and minor seminaries which should nurture a healthy psychology, and there's various references in various documents. The Church in the Modern World talks about scientific spirit exerts a new kind of impact on the cultural sphere and on the modes of thought. Technology is now transforming the face of the earth. Advances in biology, psychology, and the social sciences not only bring in hope of improved self-knowledge,


in conjunction with technical methods, they are also helping men to exert direct influence on the life of social groups, etc. The Church is recognizing that there is this... Of course, Freudian psychoanalysis is one thing, and all the other various schools of psychotherapy, psychology is another, etc., but I think we have to acknowledge it in a certain sense. It's involved... He is the father of this whole thing. There were things before him, but to give a coherent, organic, convincing theory and model of the human psyche, etc., and his basic categories are still found, whether it's in a Jung or an Adler. Jung, for instance, died in 61, and Asajoli... Did you meet Asajoli? No. We went and talked with him. He's a disciple both of Freud and Jung. There's a school of psychosynthesis down in San Francisco. He died in 77. I chatted with him.


So these are great giants of our time and contemporaries. So what would be a theological ground, a common ground here for dialoguing with a Freudian? Freud had a whole correspondence with a Lutheran minister, and he was very courteous and correct, and Jung invited this dialogue and it's been going ever since. But clearly we hold that the human person is the image of God, and the whole human person, not just the spiritual, but God created the whole human person. So if there is such a thing, for instance, as an unconsciousness or a kind of psychic energy, the libido, whatever we want to call it, somehow this all is image of God, and somehow God wields the redemption, the healing, the making whole of this whole human person. We sometimes focus very much on the spiritual dimension, and this is good, but we shouldn't forget that


our incarnation religion has to do with the whole human person and healing the whole human person. In Camaldoli last summer, we had a conference on therapy and theology. Therapia in Greek is a word that is used by the fathers regarding an effect of the gospel. Oh, it was called therapia and charigma. This is one of Innocenza's creations. But charigma heals, you see. This is the basic theme. Psychoanalysis wants to heal the human person. Our basic theme is the gospel also wants to heal the human person. So there's something very parallel going on here. The church is called to alleviate human anguish, suffering, and is to bring the person to the fullness of maturity, freedom, etc. Now, this is what a psychoanalyst like Freud says he wants to do also.


Freud was a tremendous humanist. I think it's hard to deny that he was tremendously sincere. He was tremendously sort of wounded by human suffering, and he didn't think that the other attempts to come to terms with this had really worked. And he had a kind of a very naive conception that psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, would bring the healing of humankind, and magic and superstitions, etc. would sort of just fade away because there would be no longer any need for these primitive attempts to heal the human person. So it would be scientific medicine and scientific psychoanalysis would finally bring the human person to a situation of happiness, joy, maturity, etc. Well, now, we're not against these things. So there is a common language there. We'll find, adding more to Freud, certain theses that the human person is much more mysterious than we might imagine, much more complicated, and also much more fragile. And you can reconcile this


with good Christian doctrine. Freud says, Freud is also against a kind of naive bourgeois optimism that that person has a lovely wife, a lovely job, a lovely house, must be terribly happy. Freud says he might have all of these things and be in terrible anguish, be in a kind of an inner hell. So Freud wants to get beyond the superficial veneer of a kind of an easy materialism and say the human person is much more fragile and much more in need of understanding and healing than we might imagine. And there are certain parallels with Christianity here. Questions, comments? Then, now many of you might know quite a bit about the Freudian model of the psyche, etc. Have any of you read Freud? Have all of you read Freud?


There's eight books in the library here either by Freud or on Freud. There's many, many on Jung and by Jung, etc. Anyway, so we'll go through some very elementary things with a certain embarrassment that some people might be much more advanced than this. But how are we built? How is our psyche constructed? This is something that also could be of a certain interest to monks. But what are the various components of our inner psychic life? This is the basic question of Freud. We might first try to assign a kind of sketch. What's a kind of a normal, common-sense model of the psyche? How am I built, sort of thing. If you go up to a Joe on the street and ask him, you know, how is your psyche built? He might think in a question circle, sort of. Can you people see that? But I think you might get something like, well, here I am, you know.


And this is me. This is my conscious life. And we monks might see different levels. There's the emotions, and the will, and the reason. And it's some higher faculty. Oh, I'm on the deepest part. You're in the highest depths of the spirit. But some deeper faculty, especially in contact with God. But this is my me, I, as opposed to another person. And it's in contact, of course, with the outer world, and with the inner world of God. And then we might admit a little strange pocket of fantasies. Sometimes we catch ourselves daydreaming, sort of thing. And then we have this strange dream world. There's certainly some sort of unconscious world there. What happens at night? Where this normal, reasonable, everyday, conscious me just sort of turns off. It's very mysterious. You start to think about it. And then in the morning, you sort of turn it on again,


or it gets turned on again. And it takes up from where we were the night before. But where did it go? You say, I went asleep. But these words just sort of more cover the mystery than explain it. But anyway, we admit this little pocket of dreams and unconsciousness. We know that there's some things that I've forgotten, that I now can't remember, that I could maybe remember tomorrow, or they might pop back. You know, I just can't get my hand on it, this sort of thing. So this might be some sort of common sense model of me. This whole big area is my conscious, daily life with the various dimensions and faculties of emotions and will and reason. And I've got pretty much control of it, just so I can control my emotions, etc. But that's me. And the dreams are interesting and sort of fun, but they don't really mean a great deal. They're just a sort of weird parenthesis in my normal,


rational life. And a great deal of our thinking, of our dealing with people, presupposes that they're built like that, too. And our judgments about people, are they responsible, are they not responsible, are they good people, are they not good people, are based upon this kind of working model. Maybe also our spiritual life, distinguishing different levels and the authenticity of an attraction, of grace, or of a vocation, etc. Who am I, sort of thing. We have to start, I think they presuppose that kind of model or something like it. Now, Freud had to build his model sort of just from nothing. There was very little work being done before him, of some. But, so he had to kind of create out of nothing, his models. And so there's a kind of progression in his thought. There's an early Freud,


and a later Freud. This is often very important when dealing with people. You sometimes have to distinguish, are you talking about the early Freud, or the middle Freud, or the later Freud? Or the early Marx, or the later Marx? This is decisive in Europe, for instance. Or even the early Augustine, or the later Augustine. So, we do want to nuance this a little. Now, Freud said, keep this in mind. I mean, this is too big. We'll move it over to the left. So here we've got my conscious self, and the direct, serene contact with the world. I know what the world is really about. I see it, I feel it, I touch it. Common sense, judgment, you know? Just so I don't get the emotions too out of control. He says, there is indeed this conscious level, obviously. There's a level where I am aware of me. I'm aware now that I'm standing here, the table's there, and you're here, and sort of thing. So there is the consciousness. What is present,


and what I identify as me. Just that he makes this much, much smaller, so to speak. Sort of the tip of the iceberg, the consciousness. This is his first model. Then there's what he calls, in some of his writings, the pre-consciousness. That is that area of me that is not immediately now aware, open to, present to, my consciousness. But I can dredge it up with a certain effort. If someone asks me, when were you born? That, right now, wasn't present to me, the date. But I can pull it out, the month and the date. Or someone asks, who were some of your friends in elementary school? Sort of thing. Or, who was the president before Carter? Sort of thing. That's not now present to you. But with a certain effort, you can pull it out. That's what he calls the pre-conscious. It's immediately on the threshold, so to speak. And that's sort of the rest


of the iceberg. And clearly, it's much bigger than my immediate consciousness. What normally we would call my memory. That's immense. And it influences me, clearly, in ways I'm not always aware of. All the things I remember about Kamaldi, or about nuns, or about whatever it be. That's influencing now, if I'm doing something even vaguely related to this. Now, this is the real Freudian breakthrough. He says there's a third dimension, which he calls the unconsciousness, which you can, for visual purposes, imagine this as a huge ocean, immense, in which this little iceberg is floating. The unconsciousness, which is not available to my consciousness, even with all sorts of efforts. But it is there, and it's tremendously influential on me. Think of the tremendous currents


of this immense ocean on this little iceberg. It'll push it hither and thither, etc. And maybe melt parts of it, and build other parts, whatever, according to the temperatures, etc. So, consciousness, preconsciousness, and unconsciousness, and this immense unconsciousness inside of each one of us, which is that whole area of everything I've ever experienced. It's still there, though I can't get out of it. My grandmother, in her very last years, suddenly German verbs started popping into her head. She had studied German in high school about, hmm, maybe 60 years earlier. And then she had quite promptly forgotten and never used German, never liked German. And curiously, in her very last years, these German verbs came. Now, they had always been in there, floating around in that ocean, but never present, either to her consciousness, and unfortunately in exams, etc.,


were to her preconsciousness. But there, and this sort of thing, everything that happened to us as we were babies, sort of thing, we had our eyes open, we were listening, it's in us, it's impressed in us, but we're not aware. That time that Mommy fought terribly with Daddy, and I started screaming, or the time, all these things are there in me, and are influencing me, though I'm not aware of it. Now, sometimes I can manage this, and there's no problem. Sometimes, it gets very weird, and I realize there's strange pressures going on inside. I don't know what happened to me, we say sometimes. We recognize that there's these strange forces, or he really was off. What is it? I'm in his head, sort of thing. Other forces inside of him, about which he was not aware, took over at a certain point. And this, and Freud is largely interested in this


unconsciousness. This is the thing that's so good about this. We normally, in our day-to-day life, focus on the consciousness, and you should have done this, and chant practice would be at this hour, and this is the way Augustine conceived of prayer, etc. Now, the thing with Freud is he's very interested in this unconsciousness, what he insists is this immense ocean inside each one of us. And we can get to this only very indirectly, only in weird ways, like through our dreams, through so-called Freudian slips, this sort of thing. One of the monks at Incarnation, he works at the hospital, and he's a psychiatric nurse, very professional. He has this boss, who's apparently a pretty tremendous woman, fierce. And she is called Eichhold, or something, Mrs. Eichhold. And he's continually wanting to call her


Mrs. Eichmann, who is the narcissist. He has to watch himself very carefully, because this slip wants him. So there are these Freudian slips that sometimes come out, and according to Freud, indicate, because sometimes on our conscious level we're very happy and very at peace, and at our unconscious level, we're extremely unhappy and extremely agitated sort of thing. So he wants to get beyond, what can sometimes be the best, which is an interesting thing also for monks, if the basic function of the monk is to get beyond appearance to who am I really, we want to do it at other levels, but we're also not uninterested perhaps in this sort of thing. Not uninterested. So someone comes here beating on the door, I've got to become a hermit, I've got to, because he was divinely revealed to me, etc. We immediately, as modern human beings, are a little suspicious of this. You know, it seems to be too, as we say, compulsive.


There's forces at work at this human person that are not just divine grace and free will. I've got to, sort of thing. I can't make it in the world, or whatever it be, but we're now more and more aware of these other forces, and simply the rational, simply the spiritual, simply the supernatural. Questions, comments. So this was his first model. Then he builds up his famous second model, which is an entirely different dimension of the human psyche. It doesn't deny this, always presupposes this, but sort of shifts into a different dimension. And very quickly, it's the super-ego, the ego, and the ego. With all sorts of other elements and nuances, etc. Now, all of these are largely unconscious.


It's just that the ego has an area of preconsciousness and an area of consciousness. But there's also dimensions, unconscious dimensions of the ego. So that's how this plugs into this. So if you'll think of the consciousness sort of here, gazing out at the outer world, sort of thing, and preconsciousness here, and all the rest of this, unconscious. Now, what is this id, ego, and super-ego? He says, interestingly enough, that this develops with our own development as babies. So it's tied into our moving forward from our first months into our first years. He says, what is the id? Take a newly born baby, and you've got pure id. It's the level of pure automatic reflexes, pure impulse, pure instincts, instincts, drives, needs. The little, maybe just born baby,


feels some sort of fear, just screams, that's all. Doesn't worry what Emily Post or Amy Vanderbilt says about screaming in front of others. Just screams, not worried about these other things. Or wants nourishment immediately, goes towards it. Doesn't say, well, I just ate half an hour ago, and I'm putting on weight or something. There's this immediacy to it. Has to urinate, no problems. There's total immediacy. And we say, it's a lovely baby, and it's growing. So we use the id there. Freud is extremely attentive to these little, we would never say, it's a lovely young man, or it's a lovely woman. But we would say, it's a lovely, lovely baby. And we don't immediately attack the little baby who screams the first days, because that's just where the little baby is at.


It's immediate, spontaneous, drives emotions, with very basic needs of warmth and nourishment, sort of thing. According to these psychoanalysts, you get into theories here that can be discussed, but the immediately born baby does not distinguish itself as over against the world. It's just one big reality, whether the mother's breast or the white or the, it's all that. Then as time goes on, from, the weeks go on, from the first month to the fifth, the ego develops. That immediacy is no longer there. The baby starts screaming, shh, daddy's trying to sleep, sort of thing. And the baby learns that she can get more attention and affection if she shuts up a little. And if she knocks down the milk, mother gets angry, sort of thing. She starts mediating


between her immediate impulses and this outer world of mommy and daddy to try to get more in control of the thing. Freud has an interesting theory that the ego develops largely because of frustrations, largely because immediate needs are not immediately answered. If everything were immediately answered, according to orthodox Freudian theory, the ego would not develop. The baby would remain at this kind of animal, it's just a pure animal. And this is interesting also, theologically, sometimes, the whole thing of the heart knocks, sort of. But it's through having to come to terms with a context that doesn't always say yes, yes, it doesn't always satisfy, it doesn't always look the other way when the baby slobbers and things, that slowly that it becomes Martha


or becomes Gabriel or something, and more and more distinguished from that other baby there to just immediately born babies are not basically that different, except maybe the hounds, etc. But the psychological makeup is not immediately evident. But it's as the months pass, here this is certainly Gabriel, who's quite different from Martha. Martha is that personality. This comes slowly. So the ego starts mediating between all these drives, urges, that come from the unconsciousness, and this outer world, and starts distinguishing. Then, as you go on into the fifth and sixth year, something very complicated happens, and the superego develops. Now this is Freudian theory we're getting into now. It's contested by other psychoanalysts, but it is Freudian theory,


and we have to go through it to get to his theory about religion. All this will, wills, and have something to do with religion in the end. So, the kid, let's say, let's deal with a male boy, five years old. He loves his mommy, he loves his daddy. This love of mommy has a strange sexual component. This is part of the Freudian theory, because all attraction, all libido, all psychic energy has for Freud, this specifically sexual character, this is very contested by others, Adler and Jung, etc. But for Freud, this is it. So, the child, about five years old, really holds on to mommy's apron, sometimes we say mommy's boy sort of thing, and starts, at the unconscious level, being a little irritated that daddy is always around, because daddy is now seen as a rival to this special attachment to mommy.


And for the little girl baby, it works the other way. The girl is normally attracted to the parent of the opposite sex, and it's the parent of the same sex who's seen as a rival. Now, at a certain point, the child goes through what is called the Oedipus development of actually, at the unconscious level, even feeling a kind of aggression and hatred towards one's father, the male, and wanting to possess, love, the mother. It's such a weird... This is the Oedipus complex. Freud took this, remember, from the play, the Greek tragedy by Sophocles, where Oedipus actually, actually, without having it, kills his own father and marries his mother. And the thing is, this is grotesque, this is the worst thing that could happen to anyone, it's horrendous. Now, Freud says, why does this,


if we think about it really, and sort of apply it to ourselves, why does it fill us with such loathing? Because on the unconscious level, each of us has been Oedipus. Each of us has, at the age of five or six years, tried to eliminate daddy and possess mommy. That's the Oedipus crisis. And how do we get through this crisis? We come to the realization that I can't really eliminate daddy. He's too big, he's too strong. So there's a strange mechanism of identifying with daddy. If I can't eliminate him, I'll become him. I'll become the young man that he is. And I interiorize my father. This is all on the unconscious level. And also his values, also his do's and don'ts, also his whole moral thing, also his religious views. So here we're getting very closely,


he's a very, very devout, very strict Catholic. This will get inside of me, and this becomes my superego. Not just this, it comes from all sorts of other authority figures, also from the mother, also from the institution, if there's sisters around teaching me, that'll get into my superego. Priests saying, don't do this, et cetera. To a five-year-old boy, that's dirty. That's all there. And I may not remember it years after, but on the unconscious level, my superego will be telling me that's dirty. Don't, sort of thing. So, after six years old, if I pass successfully through this Oedipus complex, I interiorize my father, or my mother, on the other hand. And if that gets mixed up, then you get psychological sicknesses, obviously, sexual identity, et cetera. And then my psychic structure is, in some sense, complete. And here again, note that,


unless I go through this Oedipus complex, I won't be psychically complete, according to Freudian theory. So, unless I get to the point, actually, of wanting to unconsciously hate and kill my father, and, in some sense, possess, erotically, my mother, unless I do this, I won't be a mature person. So, here's a Freudian theory that our life is really zigzags. Just normal, good Irish Catholic morality doesn't enter here. You know, it's very naughty to want to kill your father, sort of thing. Freud would say, this doesn't enter. It's all on the unconscious level. It's all on this very tortured development of human purity. So, at that point, the psyche is complete. Now, what does the ego have to do when the seven-year-old boy, what's happening? He's sitting there at a table, and his little nasty sister, who is two years older than him,


she just wants to pull a trick on him. Suddenly, under the table, she stomps his foot, sort of thing. And... So, he immediately has this reality experience of pain and the id. He immediately springs up anger at that lousy sister. You know, I'll kill her, sort of thing. And then maybe, immediately, his superego is saying to him what his father always said. You be polite to your sister. Don't you even raise your voice to her. And at table, you know, we observe Emily closer. So, he just buttons his lip. So, his ego has to mediate these three forces. This sharp pain that's coming in through his foot, his id, which is furious, and hurt, and all this. And his superego is saying... So, he's got to handle all this. Maybe he says to himself, well, I'm not going to do anything now, but when I get her alone, I'll plug up, you know. His ego, then, is working out, trying to come up with some sort of tactic


that can handle all these forces and come up with something that saves his own self-esteem and his own identity and deals successfully. Or maybe he'll say, as a pious Christian, I accept this, and I'll turn the other cheek. Or maybe he immediately shouts out. And then the father says, might side with him, might side... All sorts of things can happen here. But the function of the ego is to basically mediate these three dimensions. The outside objective world, the superego that's saying, don't, do, good, bad, dirty, and the id that's, I just simply want to kill that person or possess that person, or whatever. You know, a young man's walking down the street and sees a very attractive girl. Immediately, his id might want to just possess her, and his superego says, no, no, you know, sort of thing. And so, he might end up going over and introducing himself


in very chintilly. What he's doing is mediating all these forces and trying to find an acceptable way, a socially acceptable way of dealing with them all, of integrating them all, of coming to terms with them all. So anything we do, any activity, any period of silence, any choice we make, according to Freud, and I think, in other terms, any psychologist would be basically trying to come to terms with these various forces. So someone comes to the hermitage and wants to become a hermit. Now, all these forces are somehow at work, and the subtle thing is to discern how they're at work, or I feel a tremendous attraction to more asceticism. I can handle one meal a day for all of Lent. I'm sure of it. Well, now I have to ask, how much of this is my superego that's telling me, unconsciously, you've been bad, you've got to punish yourself,


sort of thing, or how much of it, who knows what, is a desire to emerge or whatever? But this sort of discernment would have to be also perhaps applied by the monk. Okay, so we'll move on and try to get some other little details of this and very quickly see how this plugs into religion this morning. So, this id is a kind of a pressure cooker. There's all this psychic energy down there, and I've got to handle it. We sometimes say of a person, he's got lots of energy, he's got lots of energy, but he's got to do something with it. Now, according to Freudian theory, which has been taken over by Jung and others, you can do several things with it. You can give immediate expression to it. And this can be dangerous. Someone just gets furious and really clubs another person.


That's one way, just giving direct expression to a desire. In college, I had a roommate who at a certain point just punched another, and everyone was horrified, because in this college you don't punch other people. You can really tear them to pieces verbally, but you never physically punch another. He had given direct expression to his... So, you can do it that way, or you can what's called sublimate it. You can, that is, not give it the direct expression that it wants, but sort of deflect it in another direction that is socially acceptable. My brother, when he was young, he had all sorts of angry, nervous energy, and he had a punching bag out in his garage, and he'd go out for hours clubbing this. Now, this was socially acceptable, and, you know, he would build up his male identity and sort of things, and the family could deal with this. You know, brother is out there punching the bag. What is this sublimation


of getting all this energy in another unsocially acceptable area? Now, according to Freud, when Michelangelo gets up there and paints for years and years assisting, this is also sublimation. He's got all this nervous energy, and he's giving it a creative expression, and everything in civilization is fruit of sublimation. That is, not giving direct expression, but indirect, nuanced, transformed expression of this basic energy that's really quite violent, that wants to possess or destroy sort of thing. So, one way of handling psychic energy is give a direct expression, and that can be very dangerous. Another is sublimating. There's all sorts of variations of this. Compensations. A kid who has a terrible day at school,


and then he goes out and buys a huge banana split, or this sort of thing. He gives himself something positive to compensate for something negative. There's all sorts of ways you can do with this. You can deal with this. But somehow, you've got to deal with all this pressure building up here, and that usually the superego is trying to keep down. This is saying kill, kill, kill, and the superego is saying naughty, naughty sort of thing. And your ego has to deal with these wild poles quite different inside of you. Now, we often hear, or sometimes hear, nervous breakdown. He's just gone psychotic. What happens at that point? According to this theory, then, at a certain point, the ego just can't take it. It can't mediate all these forces, and just sort of collapses. And the person might start screaming and breaking windows, and then you've got to put him in the straitjacket,


and he's no longer himself, we'll say. At that point, this pressure has built up too much, and it just explodes. And he's no longer a rational being. He's out of control, and he's no longer responsible for what he does. What has happened there? Now, Freud can explain what has happened there just a minute, and you and others will take this over. But basically, his ego just can no longer deal with it. Then, neurosis is a less serious situation. In neurosis, the ego can still cope, but the ego has been seriously, let's say, or has been significantly wounded by something like this, some explosion from the end, or just sort of worn down by an excessively rigorous superego, say. So the ego is wounded. It's not a whole, healthy ego


that can deal rationally with all these forces, but sort of neurotic defense mechanisms. Someone will have a twitch, or someone will be afraid to go into a dark room, or will always have to have a cat nearby, or can't see a cat. All these strange things. Normally, the person can cope, can deal, but there are certain areas where we just realize the person's really quite strange. That's neurotic behavior, the wounded ego that isn't fully in control, but still is in contact with reality. In the total breakdown, there's no contact. There's no person there left in the psychological sense. Is this... One last, or a couple last, one mechanism when the ego just can't deal, say, a terrible experience, the ego can repress. Just push it down


out of consciousness immediately into that mysterious area of the unconsciousness. Now, when we were little children, according to, I think, Orville, the psychologist, said, unfortunately, we did a lot of repression. There were a lot of experiences which were just too heavy. And so, you push it down. Now, the problem is you push it into this pressure cooker. I was talking to a woman two weeks ago, and she'd gone through years and years of marriage, and according to her, a very aggressive husband. Do this, don't do that, the meal is a lousy serving. She's okay, fine, and she took it for years and years, and she took it, and at a certain point, she became aware that underneath was tremendous tension, tremendous anger. She just bottled up too much. She never responded, I think you're being a little too aggressive. She never dealt, but she just sort of passively pushed it away, sort of thing,


through submitting. Well, at a certain point, she did have to come to terms with all of this was still in her and hadn't been dealt with, perhaps, in a way, this sort of thing. So repression, this is one mechanism, it's very evil. Another, and it's not good, I think all psychologists are, so the whole thing, for instance, the sexual dimension of a person, how does a celibate deal with this? One way is to repress, and I think all will say this ain't good, you've got to deal with it somehow other, sublimation. Put it in context, see it in the whole. There's various ways of dealing with it, but the repressing way is not the best, according to most, if it's too violent, at least, others say they're always the same. But how do they show it? Like with a horror movie, how can you do anything about that? Well, they're very strong, they're strong kids. If you have a strong, some just eyes open.


But that seems like, for many, the only alternative is repression. Right, right. Whatever you do with it, Kennedy, a chap, a critic, if I remember, says there's a certain point where he just blinked out, he doesn't know what he did. Now whether that's true or not, it's feasible psychologically. At a certain point, he just couldn't deal with the situation of a girl drowned with his responsibility, et cetera. So that can happen, and we do a great deal of repression. We can't take a great deal. And especially in our early years, we suffer all sorts of humiliations, because we just don't know how to lay beds and things and doing things we shouldn't do. So there's a lot of repressed energy in us. Now the good news is we can then sublimate, we can get this out in creative ways. The thing is to get it out in something, in a way that really fulfills us, and not just pretend it is, sort of thing. Another mechanism


that's very important is the transfer mechanism, or the projecting mechanism. We saw that at the moment of the interiorization. The boy sort of projects himself into the father, or sort of transfers the father into himself, sort of thing. Freud found through therapy, dealing with people at a long point, at a certain point, that patient no longer, on the unconscious level, was thinking of him as Sigmund Freud, but maybe as the father, or maybe the mama. But there was a strange transfer of the identity of someone in my early years onto that person. This happens in therapy. It's essential for therapy, according to this theory. At a certain point, my therapist becomes daddy, or becomes my older brother, or something like that. And so I have a very close friend. Sometimes I may even slip, and instead of calling him Joe, I might call him Irv. Irv is the name


of my older brother. That can happen. Suddenly I'm aware, through this sort of slip, I've transferred onto him the identity of my father. He's become a father figure for me, or an older brother figure. This can also happen in the monastic life. The abbot can be a father figure. The master can be an older brother figure. This can be positive or negative, but it's good to know it's happening. What is that monastic equivalent of abbot? They were very plugged in to psychoanalysis, etc. And the abbot was a real father, and he sort of guided you and also psychoanalyzed you, and all sorts of things. But it's a very easy, and the pope comes out on the balcony, and it's just frenzy. Well, I think, according to some Christian, there is a father figure thing happening, and there's nothing wrong with it. It's good to know what's happening, though. The ayatollah, the power he has


over the Muslims of Iran, sort of thing. How do you explain it? So there is this mechanism. So this is a journey, a very quick journey into Freud. Now, what does all of this have to do with religion? I don't know if we should take a break and then come back to that or go into discussion on this. What does Freud say about it? He was so naive and he wasn't doing anything. He said, just creatively, to use that energy in some serious way. Right. If you were doing something, whatever it be, that somehow it just satisfies you, and others say yes, others recognize it as socially useful, then it's happening. Then automatically you're sublimating. If you make a bowl,


a pot, and you just feel good having made it, and people say, lovely, lovely pot, then it's happening. If you do things like shoplift, there you're doing something to get some of this energy and aggressivity out, but it ain't socially acceptable. Then society has to come in and say naughty, naughty sort of thing. You have to find an outlet that your immediate society says yes to. Here you get into the whole thing of relativities. One society will say yes to a thing, and another society will say no to a thing sort of thing. If you, in your immediate society, are doing something that just makes you feel good, you feel satisfied having done it, and your society recognizes this as a service, it can be preaching with us, or commitment to prayer and silence, all this, all this is sublimation. Jung has a great deal of this,


on this, and also, especially Asajoli, that I think is a very important thing for monks to know about. Not just repress, and not just, you know, Where does this energy come from? It seems to be more negative than purest energy. Where does this come from? In the unconscious? In our unconscious, there's just this pressure, this energy. Is it only part of the unconscious? Or is it, to him, part of his? How much of it in the unconscious has to do with the unconscious? Well, it is kind of, you might imagine it is kind of the electrical power of the unconsciousness. Then you have memories in the unconsciousness, you have instincts in the unconsciousness. This is the basic current that moves it all. As I understand it. There are two things that you mentioned that I wanted to talk about.


One is, the thing that you mentioned repressing experiences about futures and functions and things like that. That is a question of self-creating energy. How does the connection between the experience of self and self energy and self-consciousness have a place in the unconscious? How does the experience of energy have a place in the idea that you have? As I understand it, someone has a just a basic unhappy experience and he represses it. This augments the nervous angry tension inside of him. Now, he doesn't have to directly sublimate that experience. All he has to do is sublimate this quantum of nervous angry energy that has somehow been augmented by adding to it this hurt frustrating experience. I think one could


think of all sorts of people like Beethoven, for instance, who had very unhappy lives and just kept producing sometimes angry music, sometimes incredibly serene music, etc. It's interesting that artists are often rather unhappy people, rather neurotic sort of thing, but they are there's this they've got to write, they've got to get it out, it just sort of explodes this creativity and they feel much better after it's out. There's this interesting thing and sometimes exhausting. So, this is a sort of It takes a lot of room and a lot of work. Well, a Freudian view, yes. Jung will will dispute Freud's thesis that all of this psychic energy is sexual. He'll say it's just energy and it can go the sexual direction, it can go the creative, but it's


kind of a primordial élan vital. I think then you've got a romantic just as there's power dynamis, force in God, so there's force in us. You can take many directions, but to give it creative expression, I think you can come to terms with this in Christian, I think in spiritual language. At first, you experience something that's too horrible to face and it keeps living in your mind but you stop yourself from experiencing it or going completely again. What does Freud say is the second thing that helps you if you're not supposed to be present but it's too horrible and it keeps playing in your memory and you don't want to experience it again, what are you supposed to do about it? I think one can you're already largely coming to terms with it just by being able to talk about it like this. At least the people I've heard speak say once you can say


I'm terribly angry or I'm terribly hurt or once put that I in, you're starting to deal with it. It's no longer just anger that's like a huge wave just but I am angry I am hurt this is the beginning of and then I can't deal with it. Fine, you're already dealing with it by acknowledging so you put it in parenthesis a while and then you realize that you're wounded and you need so you give yourself creative outlets I think or compensations I think this would be important. Passagioli has all sorts of tactics in his book you might go into your room and just pound on the bed this is very good or tear up paper right but in solitude you can and there is the therapy of the primal scream and all this for instance males can never weep in our culture in Italian culture if the father weeps


at the marriage of his daughter that's fine but that would be terrible for us so you've got to repress that sort of thing well they say it's better to weep sort of thing it's better sometimes to be angry now here you get into the monastic ideal of apatheia etc how to relate these how to really live a mature apatheia that isn't just all sorts of repression to the point that then there's an explosion and you go right to the opposite extreme I was wondering if there is a Freud kind of determinism or free will that gets all of these elements he said they're unconscious so I guess in a question you have no control you have very little control I think this is a basic problem with Christians with the Freudian theory he does have a kind of basic optimism you can bring it into your conscious rational life you can deal with it the whole


tactic of therapy is to get into the unconscious discover that block that frustration of the earlier and then when the person is able to bring it out and deal with it and then the person so and this is somewhat parallel with a kind of atomist concept of human person it's the reason it has to say yes or no and come to terms and sort of things but I think there is a very very diminished free will and this is a problem and someone like Asajjoli very much stresses our responsibility the power of the human conscious will if I can just activate it exercise it the whole of monastic asceticism for Asajjoli is one example of activating my will if it's done well to the point that so Asajjoli for instance is very much closer to us his books on


psychosynthesis are sort of books on asceticism and meditation basically it's very close to the monastic and when we went to talk to him he said your monastic life is already psychosynthesis sort of thing when you have something like a balanced life of work and prayer when you're trying to be present to yourself a recollected not just scattered hither and yon when you're trying to deal with your emotions and not just be victims of them aware of your own fragility oh this is his very healthy therapy according to him and as you're aware of the deeper levels and the more intuitional levels that are directly in contact with the divinity this is the fullness of psychological growth for him as we'll see this isn't at all the case for Freud but with Asa Jolly I think there's quite a convergence hmm parallel area


parallel parallel parallel the question is in 7th in second house in second moon in seventh house in question section of second I think Fromm had a series of debates, but it was interesting to me to tell the story. They're kind of empirical in the way that certain problems arise in weapons dialogue and what they say in the psychonauts. Suzuki's reaction was that it would be a kind of dialogue, and I think he'd rather that Fromm were not in the scene, and he was trying to communicate to Fromm what he was having. It is not specific to the scene, it's in a particular area,


so he wouldn't appreciate it necessarily when he tried to find a common ground. I've never seen him in this role, and I don't think he was going to be able to do it, but he was also going to be a true part of the government perspective, to further the system, and something comes along in the last few years, that you were worried with the feeling that you brought with the movies, that you suggested, that you were ready to arrest yourself if you wanted to say, I am angry. So if you can push that one further, I think some psychonauts would do that. I am a person, or I am a container. It has its anger in it. It's an ability to identify with the anger. It's something inside. I am a person who feels, or has its anger inside, and that brings it back to me.


It's a very nasty thought. To not identify with the compulsions of the mind. Questioner 2 Sure. You have to say, I am angry, and then you have to say, I am not my anger. And then you have to ask, who is this I here? At what level of profundity of my... It might be a rather superficial I that is angry. There can be a deeper point in our spirit that is not angry. Questioner 2 I think these people, like I would say, it's sort of objective, ontologically. There's one level of you, which is the more superficial ego, and there's a deeper level that's a more profound, and perhaps more continually in contact with God sort of thing.


I think during our day we have all sorts of ups and downs, and we're moody and happy, but we know that there's a basic commitment, usually, to Christ, whatever be the ups and downs. There's a deeper level. So the I am angry, that level of me that's angry, is really angry. It's good to face up to that, but it's also good to realize that's not my ultimate I sort of thing. This is Asa Jolly's stress, and I think the mystics would be in agreement with this. The deepest point of the spirit is what we think. Questioner 2 In his spiritual experience, he says that you can use anger. I mean, oh yeah, that anger will die out. Why is that? I'm not getting myself to work at all. So I guess it's a measurement of the opposite of anger.


It's not the exact word. It's not the exact word. But I have a disuse. I have a disuse. The anger I disuse will automatically die out. Questioner 3 Good. I might just tie this into some relations with the whole theme of God and religion and monastic now, and then we can think of in the interval, and then at 4.30 take this up again, and see his direct attack on religion and the response.


But one question, for instance, what is the relation of the superego and Christian conscience? The superego often says naughty, naughty, and don't, and dirty, etc. Now, the Christian conscience also says good and bad. What is the relation of these two? According to, I think, all of psychoanalytic theory, the superego can be sick. If my father was not a terribly healthy, well-balanced, I can get some strange things in my superego, and it might be an extremely fierce superego that doesn't permit anything. This wife who was always submissive and always bottled it in sort of thing. Now, sometimes we just automatically identify the voice of conscience with the superego. So this suggests an important distinction here. One analyst told me that most therapy


is deflating of over-blown-up superegos. It's a no, no, naughty, you're evil, and you're bad sort of thing. Just getting the superego into more manageable, reasonable dimensions is the whole essence of a great deal of therapy. Now, does this mean reducing Christian conscience? So we get into the thing here of making a clear distinction, maybe, between superego, which is on the irrational, unconscious level, and authentic Christian conscience, which should be illumined by Christ and conscious and reasonable, et cetera. Here you get into the whole problem of scrupulosity, which isn't perhaps the problem it once was. But people who are sure that they're mortal sinners and they go and they confess, and the second they're out of the confession, they think of, well, maybe I didn't say that sin, or I didn't really get across to the person, the gravity, or this sort of thing. So that's a helpful thing.


Another is, again, much of our whole religious or lack of religious identity comes from our father, according to this theory, or from our mother. Now, this is interesting to reflect back upon. What did I get from my father in the way of religion? It may just be a point of departure to come to a different position, the whole experience of conversion or whatever. But it's interesting. One of the members of the Word of the Holy Cross, he studied psychotherapy. He went through therapy. You have to, that is, to evaluate the system. And for him, it was fascinating how his experience of his father had conditioned his understanding of God. He said his one clear image of his father, often we deal not in ideas, but in images, was this sort of timid, angry man who would come home and put himself down in the chair, barricade himself behind the newspaper, which is sort of protection.


Sort of, don't bother me, was the message he was getting across. And this father, this priest, recognizes that this is also his image of God, a very remote, a very angry God. Sort of, don't bother me, God. So what he had to do, having worked through these categories, was try to come again to a mature, free, revelation, illumined concept of God, having worked through all the way we can be conditioned of our experience of God through. So often people say, I don't believe in God anymore. The key issue is what God? What image of God have they got? One of our people at Berkeley were doing sort of Sunday school work, and they asked the children, what does God want most of you? And the child, I think they put up their hand and said, what? And he said, suffering. And he said, what's the next thing after this


that God wants most for you? And that child said, that we be neat and tidy. So here's a concept of God who wants us to suffer and wants us to be neat and tidy. Now wherever this came from, it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So this suggests, you see, we can work through our image of God, our experience of God, our experience of Christian conscience of right and wrong, et cetera, with more space, so to speak, this sort of thing. So that's just some mother church, holy mother church. Some people get very nervous if you suggest that the church is changing at all. And they like the image of the protective sort of maternal womb sort of thing. What is our image of the church? What is our image of our mother? There's obviously some tie-in there. And is it a fully? It's beautiful to love our mother.


It's beautiful to love mother church. But is there some kind of infantile regression going on there? These are some of the questions we can ask ourselves. And what positive can come out of here to help us be more fully, serenely, maturely people of faith and prayer, et cetera? So you might try to imagine Freud starting here. And remember that he was always an atheist. It's not that having done this and done psychoanalysis, then he becomes an atheist. As an adolescent, he was already an atheist. And then working through this, he works out a theory to defend his atheism. If you were an atheist and working with these categories, how could you really blast religion sort of thing? You might just sort of play with this as a kind of an exercise during the break. And then at 4.30, we'll see his attack. I hope no one will lose their faith after this.


And then we'll see some answers. And then we'll go into people who start out, basically, from this commitment. And like Jung, as I say, can arrive at quite different positions on religion and prayer and all this sort of thing. Right. As I remember, no. Right. Marx was from a, and this, both cases are extremely interesting. And we'll see this is important for Freud. He's very interested in Moses, for instance. One of his key later works is Moses and monotheism. But he keeps coming back to his Jewish heritage and to these sort of figures in his own unconsciousness and trying to deal with them in terms of his atheistic commitment. Some see in Kuhn. Hans Kuhn just wrote a book on Freud and religion.


Some see in him also White of the Dominican who wrote a book. We have this in the library here. Victor White, God and the Unconscious, an encounter between psychology and religion. He feels that there was a kind of this yearning for faith in Freud. And Freud does say some very modest things about his theory, that it's only a theory and that the believer can use all of this on the other side and so forth. But there is this Semitic background that's very interesting. Good.