Tag Archives: Richard Dawkins

Spiritual But Not Religious in 2012 – XVI

The irrelevance of much criticism of SBNR can be gauged by looking at the many psychologies of the 20th century — those of Jung, Maslow, Rogers, Erickson, Assagioli, Grof and so forth — which are relevant to it. They operated as reconciliations of left and right brain in an instinctive truthfulness that embodies both. They focused on lifting patients out of their bizarrely neurotic social environments, making space in people for themselves, sometimes then transforming the environments too.

They continue to be of huge importance to wide swathes of the public even as they are usually accorded very little status in the teaching of psychology itself, which is currently showing signs of an ideocracy greater even than the one it promulgated in the mid-20th century.

Carl Jung is both “passé” and also probably more popular than ever, with new neurological rigour on his side. Milton Erickson conferences attract thousands of practitioners and his methods have cured hundreds of thousands — yet his name appears in no mainstream psychology text’s index, to my knowledge.

Information becomes available. There appears to be no stopping the wave(s). It’s quite clear that with some of the above names — Carl Rogers for instance — no transpersonal reason exists to bar them from the academy, whereas every evidential reason exists to admit them. They are barred because what they say “should not be said”. But this bar somehow doesn’t really hold them.

There has rarely been truly strong “official” support for SBNR but nothing has stopped its growth.


Addendum — Quiz Answer!

Full marks to mirjhar! And anyone else who guessed the speaker was indeed Richard Dawkins. I deployed that quote simply to show that the man is thinking mythically; as Clare said, “emphasising the majesty” of what he was saying. Mythic thinking and imaging concerns the big questions and stories that touch meaningful places within us. In this case, as so often, Dawkins’ point of view is very close to the Christian one (he’s not far off Ecclesiastes, “a time to be born and a time to die” etc.) Not all scientists are so unaware of their mythicising — Einstein springs to mind — but whether they are aware or not, they all do it. Human beings must.



Much ado about this quote:

Richard Dawkins: The thing that really baffles me about consciousness is that I can kind of see that one could program a computer to behave exactly as though it were conscious, to pass the Turing Test, and actually fool people into thinking that it was conscious, but I still have trouble believing it actually would be. And yet I think I have to be committed to the view that it would be.

… but the real parse of it is not forthcoming. This is a declaration of faith, by a man whose faith is immense. He would be tempted by thoughts from the devil to renounce that faith — thoughts that a computer doing an impression of a human being is very unlikely to be “more conscious” than one doing something else, perhaps, or is not “alive” in any case, in the sense an animal is, etc. — but his faith would triumph.


Having said I was writing less I appear to be writing more. This is the first “squib” — they will be mostly short like this and won’t interrupt regular Saturday broadcasting. Either they’ll take off or else… or else they won’t, you know.