Ultimacy and Triviality in Psychotherapy

Ultimacy and Triviality in Psychotherapy

Ultimacy and Triviality in Psychotherapy

Ultimacy and Triviality in Psychotherapy

Synopsis

Keen, a professor and practicing psychotherapist, addresses the essential distinction between the truly serious questions involved in human life and the superficial aspects so generally engaging people's concern-and often professional treatment-which he terms, triviality. He considers how contemporary practice of psychotherapy often fails to admit to the critical difference, fails to recognize it in practice, and subsequently treats patients for irrelevancies while neglecting core, essential issues.

Excerpt

The inspiration for this book was not mine alone. I continue to see thoughtful assessments of modern science and its failure to solve human problems. My most recent sighting is Thomas Merton (1964):

Neither the ancient wisdoms nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. . . . Wisdom without science is unable to penetrate the full sapiential meaning of the created and material cosmos. Science without wisdom leaves man [sic] enslaved to a world of unrelated objects in which there is no way of discovering (or creating) order and deep significance in man's own pointless existence. The vocation of modern man was to bring about their union in preparation for a new age. The marriage was wrecked on the rocks of the white man's dualism and of the inertia, the incomprehension, of ancient and primitive societies. (p. 70)

It is important here to be clear who the villain is. It is not some reified abstraction called "science" or some amorphous group of "scientists" but rather humanity's modern arrogance, combined with the dogmatisms of the past, that have blended into a malevolent toxicity. This outcome, which is the center of modernity, does not continue unprotested. I mention Ghandi here as one of a number of influential (and an even larger number of uninfluential) protesters. Unfortunately, Ghandi and his fellow travelers have been relegated by the authorities of modernity to a respectful marginality.

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