Why We Need Psycho-technologies Of Self-transformation

We are squeezed on all sides by Total Work. That is, with the following: (a) with the Doer in the mode of the Worker; (b) thus also with the rise of Humanism; (c) with the loss of the cosmos and the birth of the disenchanted, mechanized universe (or multiverse); (d) with the death of God and, as a corollary, with the possibility of transcendence; (e) in brief, with the demise of any synoptic vision that would hold together coherently Man, God, and Cosmos (the last a reference to Raimon Panikkar, The Rhythm of Being).

We’re can take two possible approaches, therefore. The first is to engage in political and economic discussions not the least because of the deleterious consequences of climate change as well as other existential threats. The second is to open up the question of spirituality. I suggest that the latter comes before the former.

Why? To argue, as some secularists do, that ours is chiefly a politico-economic crisis is to continue to presume that Humanism is the right default position. I don’t think it is. Rather, I think that Humanism reigns just when (a) the cosmos collapses and (b) divinity flees. Only then is Man left alone, and only then does Man take himself to be the center and source.

Hence, I assert that ours is really a metaphysico-spiritual crisis before it is a politico-economic one. This puts me more in the camp with new organizations like the Monastic Academy and with thinkers like Gurdjieff and Eckhart Tolle. All these argue, in different ways to be sure, that we need to beget (so to speak) new kinds of human beings, for only new kinds of human beings–enlightened ones perhaps–would be able to transform their ways of being and acting in the world such that, for instance, the world did not stand ‘over and against us as resource’ (Heidegger) but rather the world just was intuitively, directed understood as cosmos, i.e., that in which, through which, and as which they lived.

My main conclusion: we need psycho-technologies of self-transformation.