Part Three: Speculations – 02: The Problem with Psychology and Religion

While Western psychology and world religions possess true and valuable knowledge, neither is capable of liberating us from The Human Predicament. They’re like doctors working to end a plague, but who have mistaken the virus for the patient.


From The Basic Structure of Everything:

The attention-generated self is not our true selves. It is a product of the unnatural redirection of attention. We – the real “us” that is our undivided whole physimaginalYouWorldThingness experience – did not cause that redirection of attention, at least not initially. It was imposed upon us from without, by other people, family, teachers, clergy, media, culture, etc. At a certain point we adopted their habit of redirecting attention and began to identify our attention-generated self as the “real me.” We focused all of our attention on it and devoted the bulk of our energy to its maintenance and growth. That habit of redirecting attention split us into three parts and allowed the veils of Imagination and Manifestation to form. This is The Human Predicament.

Similarly, from FREE YOUR MIND:

What we label “personality,” that unique, ever-changing, chance constellation of memes and memeplexes inhabiting each of our brains and calling itself “I,” is the parasite. When we serve its scatological cravings – wallowing in self-pity, being petty or bored, wasting time, chasing empty pleasures, ferociously defending our right to behaviors or beliefs we know to be destructive to ourselves or to others, taking things personally, holding grudges, etc. – we are not being “authentic,” “true to ourselves,” “genuine” or “free.” We are collaborating in our own enslavement. We are aiding and abetting in the theft of the very psychic energy which, in our own hands, would set us truly free, exchanging everything that is genuinely unique and original in ourselves, along with our unimaginable individual and collective potential as human beings, for the spiritual equivalent of a few dollars’ worth of glass beads and trinkets.


The problem with psychology is that its raison d’être (literally “reason to be”) is to make personalities happy. To help personalities cope with life. To heal personalities injured by trauma. To free personalities plagued by neuroses.

But, paradoxically, personality/the attention-generated self, is the source of of all such difficulties.

One cannot transcend The Human Predicament by making personality happy. Not because happiness is a bad thing. But because unhappiness is a consequence of being divided against YouWorldThingness/essence. And the attention-generated self is what divides us.

Psychology treats the virus, mistaking it for the patient.


Religions, on the other hand, for the most part understand The Human Predicament.

Consider Jesus’ words in John 12:24:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

The corn of wheat is the attention-generated self, obsessively focused on its own concerns, sealed away behind the veils of Imagination and The World. It will cease to exists at physical death, and nothing can change that.

The Basic Structure of Everything tells us:

With the bulk of our attention directed toward our attention-generated self, we live a severely limited experience. Objectively, we remain undivided whole physimaginal human experience whirlpools of YouWorldThingness. But once we reach this sorry, attention-trained state, we are capable of experiencing almost nothing of our human fullness.

To love the life of personality is to lose it, that is, to “live a severely limited experience” and dissipate at death.

While “hateth” might be strong language, the fact is reclaiming attention kills personality while we’re still alive. Its death is the only path to YouWorldThingness. Only YouWorldThingness has any hope of immortality.

The core symbol of Christianity – a limited human God who must die for death to be overcome – couldn’t be more clear.

Eastern religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) have always taught that the price of enlightenment is ego-death.

“Life eternal” only becomes possible when we willingly – and successfully – conspire to murder our own personalities – or, more accurately (and gently), to engineer their dissipation through neglect.

I feel confident that at least some religious practitioners in a monastic setting do indeed awaken YouWorldThingness/essence and achieve immortality. But workaday religious believers praying in the pew or lighting incense on the altar, not so much.

Most (maybe all) everyday religious practitioners, in every religion around the world, ask of religion the very same benefits the nonreligious seek from psychology – that religion might help personalities cope with life, heal personalities injured by sin, tragedy, sorrow, and pain, and free personalities plagued by fear of self, others, and the world. They ask religion, as others do of psychology, to bring their personalities joy – to make the attention-generated self happy.

While Religions at their esoteric core understand The Human Predicament, the vast majority of exoteric religious practitioners relate to religion as a palliative for personality. Just like psychology.

One cannot transcend The Human Predicament by making personality happy. Not because happiness is a bad thing. But because unhappiness is a consequence of being divided against YouWorldThingness/essence.

And the attention-generated self is what divides us.

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