Flashcards in Mental Health Versus Mysticism And Self-Sacrifice Deck (55):
The standard of mental health- of biologically appropriate mental functioning- is the same as that of physical health:
MAN'S SURVIVAL AND WELL-BEING.
A mind is healthy to the extent that its method of functioning is such as to provide man ...?
With the control over reality that the support and furtherance of his life require.
The hallmark of this control is ...?
Self-esteem is ...?
THE CONSEQUENCE, EXPRESSION AND REWARD OF A MIND FULLY COMMITTED TO REASON.
Reason, the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses, is man's basic tool of survival.
Commitment to reason is commitment to ...?
1. To the maintenance of a FULL INTELLECTUAL FOCUS.
2. To the CONSTANT EXPANSION of one's understanding and knowledge.
3. To the principle that one's actions must be CONSISTENT WITH ONE'S CONVICTIONS.
4. That one must NEVER ATTEMPT TO FAKE REALITY or PLACE ANY CONSIDERATION ABOVE REALITY.
5. That one must NEVER PERMIT ONESELF CONTRADICTIONS.
==> One must never attempt to subvert or sabotage the proper function of consciousness.
The proper function of consciousness is:
3. CONTROL OF ACTION.
What is a healthy consciousness?
An UNOBSTRUCTED + INTEGRATED CONSCIOUSNESS.
What is an unhealthy consciousness?
==> A BLOCKED + EVADING + TORN BY CONFLICT AND DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF.
==> A consciousness DISINTEGRATED BY FEAR or IMMOBILIZED BY DEPRESSION.
==> A consciousness DISSOCIATED FROM REALITY.
In order to deal with reality successfully- to pursue and achieve the values which his life requires- man needs ...?
==> HE NEEDS TO BE CONFIDENT OF HIS EFFICACY AND WORTH.
What are the antipodes of self-esteem?
ANXIETY + GUILT.
==> INSIGNIA OF MENTAL ILLNESS.
==> DISINTEGRATORS OF THOUGHT.
==> DISTORTERS OF VALUES + PARALYZERS OF ACTION.
When a man of self-esteem chooses his values and sets his goals, when he projects the long-range purposes that will unify and guide his actions...?
It is like a bridge thrown to the future, across which his life will pass.
==> A bridge supported by the conviction that his mind is COMPETENT TO THINK, TO JUDGE, TO VALUE, and that HE is worthy of enjoying values.
This sense of control over reality is not the result of special skills, ability or knowledge.
==> It is NOT ...?
Dependent of PARTICULAR SUCCESSES or failures.
==> It reflects one FUNDAMENTAL RELATIONSHIP TO REALITY, one's conviction of FUNDAMENTAL EFFICACY and WORTHINESS.
==> It reflects the certainty that, in essence and in principle, ONE IS RIGHT FOR REALITY.
==> SELF-ESTEEM IS A METAPHYSICAL ESTIMATE.
It is THIS psychological state that traditional morality makes IMPOSSIBLE, to the extent that a man accepts it.
NEITHER mysticism NOR the creed of self-sacrifice is compatible with mental health or self-esteem.
==> These doctrines are destructive EXISTENTIALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY.
The maintenance of his life and the achievement of self-esteem require of man the fullest exercise of his reason- but morality, men are taught, rests on and requires ...?
Faith is ...?
THE COMMITMENT OF ONE'S CONSCIOUSNESS TO BELIEFS FOR WHICH ONE HAS NO SENSORY EVIDENCE OR RATIONAL PROOF.
When a man rejects reason as his standard of judgement, only one alternative standard remains to him:
A mystic is a man who ...?
Treats his feelings as TOOLS OF COGNITION.
==> FAITH IS THE EQUATION OF FEELING WITH KNOWLEDGE.
What is required to practice the "virtue" of faith?
One must be willing to:
1. Suspend one's sight and one's judgement.
2. To live with the unintelligible, with that which cannot be conceptualized or integrated into the rest of one's knowledge.
3. To induce a trancelike illusion of understanding.
4. To repress one's critical faculty and hold it as one's guilt.
5. To drown any questions that rise in protest.
6. To strangle any trust of reason convulsively seeking to assert its proper function as the protector of one's life and cognitive integrity
Remember that all of man's knowledge and all his concepts have hierarchical structure.
1. The foundation and starting point of man's thinking are his SENSORY PERCEPTIONS.
2. On this base, man forms his FIRST CONCEPTS, then goes on building the edifice of his knowledge by IDENTIFYING AND INTEGRATING new concepts on a wider and wider scale.
If man's thinking is to be valid, this process must be guided by ...?
Logic ==> "The art of noncontradictory identification".
==> And any new concept man forms must be integrated WITHOUT CONTRADICTION into the hierarchical structure of his knowledge.
To intoduce into one's consciousness any idea that cannot be so integrated, an idea not derived from reality, not validated by a process of reason, not subject to rational examination or judgement-and worse:
An idea that clashes with the rest of one's concepts and understanding of reality- is to ...?
Sabotage the INTEGRATIVE function of consciousness, to undercut the rest of one's convictions and kill one's capacity to be certain of ANYTHING.
"The alleged shortcut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short circuit destroying the mind".
There is no greater self-delusion than to imagine that one can ...?
Render unto reason that which is reason's and unto faith that which is faith's.
==> Faith CANNOT BE CIRCUMSCRIBED OR DELIMITED.
==> TO SURRENDER ONE'S CONSCIOUSNESS BY AN INCH IS TO SURRENDER ONE'S CONSCIOUSNESS IN TOTAL.
==> Either reason is an absolute to a mind or it is not- and if it is not, there is NO PLACE TO DRAW THE LIDE, no principle by which to draw it, no barrier faith cannot cross, no part of one's life faith cannot invade.
==> ONE REMAINS RATIONAL UNTIL AND UNLESS ONE'S FEELINGS DECREE OTHERWISE.
Faith is a MALIGNANCY that no system can tolerate with impunity;
And the man who succumbs to it, will call it in precisely those issues where he needs his reason most.
==> When one turns from reason to faith, when one rejects the absolutism of reality, one undercuts the absolutism of consciousness-
==> And one's mind becomes an organ one cannot trust any longer.
==> It becomes what the mystics claim it to be: A TOOL OF DISTORTION.
Man's need of self-esteem entails the need for a sense of control over reality.
NO CONTROL IS POSSIBLE in a universe which, by one's own concession:
1. Contains the supernatural, the miraculous and the causeless.
2. A universe in which one is at the mercy of ghosts and demons, in which one must deal, not with the unknown, but with the UNKNOWABLE.
==> No control is possible if man proposes, but a ghost disposes.
==> No control is possible if the universe is a haunted house.
His life and self-esteem require that the object and concern of man's consciousness be reality and this earth.
But morality, men are taught, consists of ...?
Scorning this earth and the world available to sensory perception...
==> and of contemplating, instead, a "different" and "higher" reality, a realm inaccessible o reason and incommunicable in language, but attainable by revelation, by special dialectical processes, by that superior state of intellectual lucidity known to Zen-Buddhist as "No-mind", or by death.
There is only one reality- the reality knowable to ...?
And if man does NOT choose to perceive it, there is nothing else for him to perceive.
==> If it is not of this world that he is conscious, then he is not conscious AT ALL.
The sole result of the mystic projection of "another" reality, is that ...?
IT INCAPACITATES man psychologically for this one.
It was not by contemplating the transcendental, the ineffable, the undefinable-
It was NOT BY CONTEMPLATING THE NON EXISTENT, that man ...?
Lifted himself from the cave and transformed the material world to make a human existence possible on earth.
If it is a virtue to renounce one's mind, but a sin to use it; if it is a virtue to approximate the mental state of a schizophrenic, but a sin to be in intellectual focus; if it is a virtue to denounce this earth, but a sin to make it livable; if it is a virtue to mortify the flesh, but a sin to work and act; if it is a virtue to despise life, but a sing to sustain and enjoy it, then ...?
NO SELF-ESTEEM or control or efficacy are possible to man.
==> NOTHING IS POSSIBLE TO HIM, but the guilt and terror of a wretch caught in a nightmare universe.
==> A universe created by some metaphysical sadist who has cast man into a maze where the door marked "virtue" leads to SELF-DESTRUCTION and the door marked "efficacy" leads to SELF-DAMNATION.
His life and self-esteem require that man take pride in his power to think, pride in his power to live, BUT MORALITY, MEN ARE TAUGHT, ...?
HOLDS PRIDE, AND SPECIFICALLY INTELLECTUAL PRIDE, AS THE GRAVEST OF SINS.
==> Virtue begins, men are taught, with HUMILITY:
==> With the recognition of the helplessness, the smallness, the impotence of one's mind.
Is man omniscient?- demand the mystics.
Is he infallible? Then how dare he challenge the word of God, or of God's representatives, and set himself up as the judge of-anything?
Intellectual pride is not-as the mystics preposterously imply it to be-a pretence at omniscience or infallibility.
==> On the contrary, PRECISELY BECAUSE MAN MUST STRUGGLE FOR KNOWLEDGE, precisely because the pursuit of knowledge requires an EFFORT, the men who assume this responsibility properly feel pride.
Sometimes, colloquially, pride is taken to mean a pretense at accomplishments one has not in fact achieved.
But the braggart, the boaster, the man who affects virtues he does not possess, is NOT PROUD.
==> He has merely chosen the most humiliating way to reveal his humility.
Pride is ...?
One's response to one's power to achieve values.
==> The pleasure one takes in one's own efficacy.
==> And it is this that the mystics hold as evil.
But if doubt, not confidence, is man's proper moral state; if self-distrust, not self-reliance, is the proof of virtue; if fear, not self-esteem, is the mark of perfection; if guilt, not pride, is his goal, then ...?
MENTAL ILLNESS IS THE MORAL IDEAL.
==> The neurotics and psychotics are the highest exponents of morality, and the thinkers, the achievers, ARE THE SINNERS, those who are too corrupt and too arrogant to seek virtue and psychological well-being through the belief that they are UNFIT TO EXIST.
Humility is, of necessity, ...?
The basic VIRTUE OF A MYSTICAL MORALITY.
==> IT IS THE ONLY VIRTUE POSSIBLE TO MEN WHO HAVE RENOUNCED THE MIND.
Pride has to be earned.
It is the REWARD OF EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT.
==> But to gain the virtue of humility, one HAS ONLY TO ABSTAIN FROM THINKING-nothing else is demanded-and one will feel humble quickly enough.
His life and self-esteem require of man loyalty to his values, loyalty to his mind and its judgments, loyalty to his life.
But the essence of morality, men are taught, ...?
Consists of SELF-SACRIFICE.
==> The sacrifice of one's mind to some higher authority, and the sacrifice of one's values to whoever may claim to require it.
It is not necessary, in this contexts, to analyze the almost COUNTLESS EVILS, entailed by the precept of self-sacrifice.
Its irrationality and destructiveness have been thoroughly exposed in Atlas Shrugged.
But there are 2 aspects of the issue that are especially pertinent to the subject of mental health.
The first is ...?
THE FACT THAT SELF-SACRIFICE MEANS-AND CAN ONLY MEAN-MIND-SACRIFICE.
A sacrifice, it is necessary to remember, means the surrender of a higher value in favor of a lower value or of a nonvalue.
If one gives up that which one does not value in order to obtain that which one does value-or if one gives up a lesser value in order to obtain a greater one-this is NOT A SACRIFICE, BUT A ...?
Remember further that all of man's values exist in a hierarchy.
He values some things more than others; and, to the extent that he is RATIONAL, the hierarchical order of his values is RATIONAL.
==> He values things in proportion to their importance in serving his life and well-being.
==> That which is inimical to his life and well-being, that which is inimical to his nature and needs as a living being, HE DISVALUES.
Conversely, one of the characteristics of mental illness is a ...?
DISTORTED VALUE STRUCTURE.
==> The neurotic does not value things according to their objective merit, in relation to his nature and needs.
==> He frequently values the very things that will lead him to self-destruction.
==> Judged by objective standards, he is engaged in a chronic process of SELF-SACRIFICE.
Do mystics declare that all they demand of man is that he sacrifice his HAPPINESS?
To sacrifice one's happiness is to ...?
Sacrifice one's desires.
==> To sacrifice one's desires is to sacrifice one's values.
==> To sacrifice one's values is to sacrifice one's judgement.
==> To sacrifice one's judgement is to sacrifice one's mind.
AND IT IS NOTHING LESS THAN THIS THAT THE CREED OF SELF-SACRIFICE AIMS AT AND DEMANDS.
The root of selfishness is man's right-and need- to ...?
ACT ON HIS OWN JUDGEMENT.
==> If his judgement is to be an object of sacrifice-what sort of efficacy, control, freedom from conflict, or serenity of spirit will be possible to man?
The 2nd aspect that is pertinent here, involved not only the creed of self-sacrifice but ...?
ALL THE FOREGOING TENENTS OF TRADITIONAL MORALITY.
An irrational morality, a morality set in opposition to man's nature, to the facts of reality and to the requirements of man's survival, ...?
Necessarily forces men to accep the belief that there is an INEVITABLE CLASH BETWEEN THE MORAL AND THE PRACTICAL.
==> That they must choose EITHER TO BE VIRTUOUS OR TO BE HAPPY.
==> To be idealistic OR to be successful.
BUT THEY CANNOT BE BOTH.
This view establishes a ...?
DISASTROUS CONFLICT on the deepest level of man's being.
==> A lethal dichotomy that tears man apart.
==> It forces him to choose between making himself ABLE TO LIVE and making himself WORTHY OF LIVING.
==> YET SELF-ESTEEM AND MENTAL HEALTH REQUIRE THAT HE ACHIEVE BOTH.
If man holds life on earth as the good, if he judges his values by the standard of that which is proper to existence of a rational being, then there is ...?
NO CLASH BETWEEN THE REQUIREMENTS OF SURVIVAL AND OF MORALITY.
==> HE ACHIEVES THE SECOND BY ACHIEVING THE FIRST.
But there is a clash, if ...?
Man holds the renunciation of this earth as the good, the renunciation of life, of mind, of happiness, of self.
==> Under the ANTI-LIFE MORALITY, man makes himself worthy of living to the extent that he makes himself UNABLE TO LIVE.
==> And to the extent that he makes himself able to live, he makes himself UNWORTHY OF LIVING.
The answer given by many defenders of traditional morality is:
"Oh, but people don't have to go to extremes!"-...?
"We don't expect people to be FULLY MORAL. We expect them to smuggle SOME self-respect into their lives. We recognize that people have to live after all."
The defense, then, of this code of morality is ...?
That few people will be suicidal enough to attempt to practice it CONSISTENTLY.
==> HYPOCRISY is to be man's protector against his professed moral convictions.
==> What does THAT do to his self-esteem?
==> And what of the victims who are INSUFFICIENTLY HYPOCRITICAL?
What of the child who withdraws in terror into an autistic universe because ...?
He cannot cope with the ravings of parents who tell him that he is guilty by nature, that his body is evil, that thinking is sinful, that question-asking is blasphemous, that doubting is depravity, and that he must obey the orders of a supernatural ghost because, if he doesn't, he will burn forever in hell?
Or the daughter who collapses in guilt over ...?
The sin of not wanting to devote her life to caring for the ailing father who has given her cause to feel only hatred?
Or the adolescent who flees into homosexuality because ...?
He has been taught that sex is evil and that women are to be worshiped, but not desired?
Or the businessman who suffers from an anxiety attack because, ...?
After years of being urged to be thrifty and industrious, he has finally committed the sin of succeding, and is now told that it shall be easier for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven?