update: tomorrow I will extend this post: the work of Schopenhauer, following Kant, has a profundity lost to modern psychology which would never credit such a figure, or even Kant. But Schopenhauer’s thesis of the Will in Nature holds the hidden clue to a real psychology, although his overall work might seem too metaphysical now. Unfortunate because his work, which seems to echo long-lost spiritual/sufi psychologies, holds the key to a psychology done right. In fact, the left would do well to balance Hegel with this (unfortunately conservative) figure whose thinking resurfaces in the student of the notorious Gurdjieff, J. G. Bennett, who adapted Schopenhauer’s thesis of the ‘Will’ to a version of the sufi psychology of Gurdjieff. His thinking was unique and he is a dangerous reactionary occultist who is very malevolent for the left, beware of such sufis and their dangerous forms of hypnosis. But his thinking on the plane of psychology is far superior to the bland idiocy of modern psychology. Bennett his follower and no reactionary created an ingenious version of that sufi psychology modernized but infested with the confusions of the enneagram, which is completely unnecessary to his basic formulation. But his basic psychology consciously or not took up the idea of the Will from Schopenhauer in a highly cogent triadic psychology of Being, Function, and Will. His overall system has problems but it is lightyears ahead of the conventional psychologies of science and the universities. Such triadic foundations for psychology have a depth totally lost to reductionism. The point is that man has a ‘will’ and a ‘soul’ and these must be somehow rescued from the religious muddle that carried them over the centuries.
I have harshly criticized Farmalant on Marxism and also in The Last Revolution suggest a way beyond that.
The issue of psychoanalysis is hardly even controversial now and I recall the immense influence it had up to the sixties of the last century. I read every book by Freud my freshman year in college and was a kind of fan, a la Norman Brown and his well-known book. But a lot of critics began to challenge his thinking and in the seventies the whole subject nosedived as its popularity waned, although as an expensive therapy it still endures. The idea that psychoanalysis could be science seems laughable now but it should be said that it generated an immense field of psychotherapy. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with the basic method: you follow the recipe and see what happens: it can be a praxis if not a science. But the silly theories of Freud get in the way. The idea of the unconscious is useful but it is really a spinoff of the once-popular and now derided but very profound Schopenhauer, still influential in Freud’s early years. The endless field of therapies is open to harsh criticism as a lucrative racket and/or deserves note as a frequently helpful process of the talking cure, etc…
There is no science of psychology, and the attempt to create a science of evolution, sociology, history, and psychology, etc, has always failed, that is science of the kind we find in physics and its immediate ‘hard sciences’. But as we ascend the scale beyond physics/thermodynamics/cosmology no science exists. Granted, you can redefine ‘science’ as an activity of some kind and research of all kinds does just that. But the presumption that scientists can really understand man is often pernicious. Look at the world of yoga, for millennia it has shown a real grasp of human psychology via meditation in a way that is lightyears beyond rat psychology or the psychology taught as science in the West. Rat psychology with the skinner box is a bad memory for me: it was a required course in college and I refused to use electric shocks on white rats so I faked the results and passed the course. So much for my career as a scientific psychologist.
Here Marxism adopted a very reductionist view of man and the result is its crippled status and the very destructive character in practice.
The issue of consciousness shows the strange boundary of basic science (e.g biochemistry) and a mystery of mysteries. It is an odd janus-faced giant question mark: again, better explored via meditation. Meditation has been trivialized in the West, but it already has its own underground so to speak as it slowly permeates the West.