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The psychological Imposture, psychoanalysis

The psychological Imposture

What we term "psychological imposture" is the tendency to reduce everything to psychological factors and to call in question not only what is intellectual or spiritual -- the first being related to truth and the second to life in and by truth -- but also the human spirit as such, and therewith its capacity of adequation and, still more evidently, its inward illimitation and transcendence. The same belittling and truly subversive tendency rages in all the domains that 'scientism' claims to embrace, but its most acute expression is beyond all doubt to be found in psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is at once an endpoint and a cause, as is always the case with profane ideologies, like materialism and evolutionism, of which it is really a logical and fatal ramification and a natural ally. (Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism, p. 195 Chapter: The psychological Imposture).

In a quite general way, that which calls for suspicion and for implacable vigilance is the reducing of the spiritual to the psychic, a practice which by now has become a commonplace to the point of characterizing Western interpretations of the traditional doctrines. This so-called 'psychology of spirituality' or this 'psychoanalysis of the sacred' is the breach through which the mortal poison of modern relativism infiltrates into the still living Oriental traditions. According to Jung the figurative emergence of certain contents of the 'collective unconscious' is accompanied empirically, as its psychic complement, by a noumenal sensation of eternity and infinitude. This is the way to ruin insidiously all transcendence and all intellection, for, according to this theory, it is the collective unconscious, or subconscious, which is at the origin of 'individuated' consciousness, human intelligence having two components, namely the reflection of the subconscious on the one hand and the experience of the external world on the other ; but since experience is not in itself intelligence, on this showing intelligence will have the subconscious for its substance, so that one has to try and define the subconscious on the basis of its own ramification. This is the classical contradiction of all subjectivist and relativist philosophy. [The Essentials Writings of Frithjof Schuon, p. 219]

If everything that can rightfully be described as human rests on merely psychological causes, one can, and indeed must, explain everything through psychology -- whence the "psychology of religion" and the professedly psychological criticism of sacred texts ; in all cases of this kind, one is dealing with speculations in the void due to the absence of the indispensable objective data -- data which are beyond the reach of those methods of investigation now declared to be normal, and which are arbitrarily extended to cover every conceivable kind of knowledge. (Logic and Transcendence, p. 10).


Psychoanalysis first of all eliminates those transcendent factors that make the essence of man and then replaces the complexes of inferiority or frustration by complexes of complacency and egotism ; it allows one to sin calmly and with assurance, and to damn oneself with serenity.... In fact, the mental attitude created and disseminated by psychoanalysis consists in refusing to engage in a logical or intellectual dialogue alone worthy of human beings, and in answering questions obliquely by means of insolent conjectures... (Logic and Transcendence, p. 11)..

If the Freudian psychology declares that rationality is but a hypocritical cloak for a repressed animality, this statement, evidently of a rational nature, falls under the same reproach ; Freudianism, were it right, would itself be nothing else but a symbolistic denaturing of psychophysical instincts. Doubtless the psychoanalysts will say that, in their case, reasoning is not function of repressions, which they do not care to admit ; but it is difficult to see, first on what grounds this exception would be admissible in terms of their own doctrine, and second, why this law of exception would apply only in their favor and not in favor of those spiritual doctrines which they reject with such animus and with a monstrous lack of any sense of proportion. In any case, nothing can be more absurd than for a man to make himself the accuser, not of some psychological accident or other, but of man as such : whence comes this demigod who accuses, and from where does he obtain this faculty for accusation? If the accuser himself is right, this must mean that man is not bad after all and that he is capable of objectivity. Otherwise we would have to admit that the champions of psychoanalysis are Divine beings unpredictably fallen from heaven, a somewhat unlikely proposition, to say the least. (Logic and Transcendence, p. 10-11).

Psychoanalysis has succeeded in perverting intelligence by giving rise to a "psychoanalytical complex" that corrupts all and sundry. If it be possible to deny the absolute in many different ways, psychological and existential relativism Denies it within intelligence itself: the latter is practically set up as a god, but at the price of all that constitutes its intrinsic nature, its value, and its effectiveness ; intelligence becomes "adult" through its own destruction. (Logic and Transcendence, p. 14-15).

As to individual prayer, grounds for its existence are incontestably to be found in our nature, since individuals do in fact differ from one another and have different destinies and desires. The aim of this prayer is not only to obtain particular favors, but also the purification of the soul : it loosens psychological knots or, in other words, dissolves subconscious coagulations and drains away many secret poisons ; it eternalizes before God the difficulties, failures and distortions of the soul, always supposing the prayer to be humble and genuine, and this externalization -- carried out in relation to the Absolute -- has the virtue of reestablishing equilibrium and restoring peace, in a word, of opening us to grace. (1)

(1) The Christian sacrament of confession is founded on these data, and is an addition balanced by the action of a special celestial grace (absolution). Psychoanalysis offers an analogous process, but one satanic in form, for it replaces the supernatural by the infra-natural : in the place of God, it puts nature with all its blind, dark and inhuman aspects. For psychoanalysts evil is not what is contrary to God and to the final ends of man, but what troubles the soul, however beneficial the cause of disquiet may be ; further, the equilibrium resulting from psychoanalysis is basically of an animal order, and this is entirely contrary to the requirements of our immortality. In man, his disequilibria can and must be resolved with a view to a higher equilibrium, conformable to a spiritual hierarchy of values, and not in some quasi-vegetative state of bliss; a human evil cannot be cured apart from God. (Stations of Wisdom, p. 125-126).

The mentality of today seeks in fact to reduce everything to categories connected with time ... and this is entirely in conformity with modern relativism, and with a psychologist or biologist that destroys essential values. In order to "situate" the doctrine of a scholastic, for example, or even of a Prophet, a "psychoanalysis" is prepared -- it is needless to emphasize the monstrous impudence implicit in such an attitude -- and with wholly mechanical and perfectly unreal logic the "influences" to which this doctrine has been subject are laid bare. There is no hesitation in attributing to saints, in the course of this process, all kinds of artificial and even fraudulent, conduct ; but it is obviously forgotten, with satanic inconsequence, to apply the same principle to oneself, and to explain one's own supposedly "objective" position by psychoanalytical considerations ; sages are treated as being sick men and one takes oneself for a god. [Light on the Ancient Worlds, p. 32].

... the rationalists and the fideists are not the only adversaries of the Sophia Perennis: another component -- somewhat unexpected -- is what we could term "realizationism" or "ecstatism": namely the mystical prejudice -- rather widespread in India -- which has it that only "realization" or "states" count in spirituality. The partisans of this opinion oppose "concrete realization" to "vain thought" and they too easily imagine that with ecstasy all is won; they forget that without the doctrines -- beginning with the Vedanta! -- they would not even exist; and it also happens that they forget that a subjective realization -- founded on the idea of the immanent "Self" -- greatly has need of the objective element that is the Grace of the personal God, without forgetting the concurrence of Tradition.

We must mention here the existence of false masters who, as inheritors of occultism and inspired by "realizationism" and psychoanalysis, contrive to invent implausible infirmities in order to invent extravagant remedies. What is surprising logically is that they always find dupes, even among the so-called "intellectuals"; the explanation for this is that these novelties come to fill a void that never should have been produced. In all these "methods", the point of departure is a false image of man; the goal of the training being the development -- patterned after the "clairvoyance" of certain occultists -- of "latent powers" or of an "expanded" or "liberated" personality. And since such an ideal does not exist -- more especially as the premise is imaginary -- the result of the adventure can only be a perversion; this is the price of a supersaturated rationalism -- blown up to its extreme limit -- namely an agnosticism devoid of all imagination. (The transfiguration of Man, p. 9)

  1. Gnosis and gnosticism, theosophy and theosophism
  2. Modern Vedantism
  3. Psychic powers, miracles, ecstasy, apparitions, visions
  4. Neo-yogism, "realizationism"
  5. Occultism, spiritism, fetishism, paganism and decadent traditions
  6. The psychological Imposture, psychoanalysis
  7. Modernist Zenism