We need to detach ourselves from the illusory promises of psychological therapy and turn our attention to making the world a more comfortable place for people to live in
Therapeutic psychology may just prove to be the great red herring of the 20th century, a masterstroke of ideology which has managed to obscure from our view the full significance for our emotional suffering of the workings of material reality. Instead of seeing with absolute clarity that what makes people happy or sad, triumphant or despairing, lucid or confused, is a function of what happens to them in the real, material world which lies beyond their skin, our view has become clouded by a haze congealing all too easily into a mirage of personal responsibility and control. We are deceived into believing that mastery of our fate follows from the deployment of our psychological resources as private individuals.
[…] A psychological analysis of personal distress must, in my view, diagnose not individuals, but their environments. What we need is […] the patient laying-bare of the social and material structures through which oppressive power is transmitted and which ends up impinging on the individual’s body as the sensation of pain. What we then do about these structures is not a matter for psychology, but inescapably, for politics.
[…] There is in fact no form of psychological distress not best understood as damage done to people by the world they inhabit, past and present. We will make no impact on distress by holding ourselves responsible for it and/or trying to tinker with the psychological processes through which the world is experienced. We need to detach ourselves from the illusory promises of psychological therapy and turn our attention to making the world a more comfortable place for people to live in. It is hard to judge how much longer the hotchpotch of ‘postmodern’ make- believe and crude business pragmatism, which constitute present-day culture, can maintain their symbiotic relationship with the ideology of psychotherapy. The sooner reality intrudes, the better.
Yet, certainly, the wise learn many things from their enemies; for caution preserves all things. From a friend you could not learn this, but your foe immediately obliges you to learn it. For example, the states have learned from enemies, and not from friends, to build lofty walls, and to possess ships of war. And this lesson preserves children, house, and possessions.
The present theory then must be considered to be a suggested program or framework for future research and must stand ...
It’s saying no.
That’s your first hint that something’s alive. It says no. That’s how you know a baby is starting to turn into a person. They run around saying no all day, throwing their aliveness at everything to see what it’ll stick to. You can’t say no if you don’t have desires and opinions and wants of your own. You wouldn’t even want to.
No is the heart of thinking.