Philosophy, Spirituality, Therapy

By Frunză, Sandu | Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

Philosophy, Spirituality, Therapy


Frunză, Sandu, Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies


1. Philosophy and the Religious and Scientific Imaginary

In my research so far, I have never encountered a rational valuation of philosophy more full of empathy and spiritual depth than in the texts written by Emmy van Deurzen. Philosophy is restored in all its transformative power in relation to communication and therapeutic dialogue. In her psychotherapeutic approach, the reality is so complex that we can only surprise it by putting into dialogue the particular perspectives that each of the fields of human creation builds upon. That is why communication proves to be an integrative coordinate that can piece together the fragments into a network that becomes consistent through the very reflective act of connectivity. This instrumentalization of knowledge in favor of understanding life and its preparation as a favorable environment for man is best realized through philosophical reflection and positioning in the horizon of the authenticity of being. It refers to all the dimensions of human existence, from the physical to the spiritual or religious one.

One of the constituent elements of the crisis, which the postmodern man repeatedly feels and discusses, is the crisis of seclusion. Under these circumstances, we must give back to the contemporary man the dimension of relationing, of a face-to-face whereness with the other. In other words, we must offer communication, on the one hand, the status of liessant for all the structures that focus on particular ways of revealing a puzzle that recognizes existence as a whole, and, on the other hand, to recognize the value of general framework of the development of philosophical construction of personal existential options. Philosophical dialogue is one of the best ways to highlight the benefits of communication and philosophy in the lives of individuals. It may lead to the discovery of a profound form (close to the religious one in its practical manifestations) of spirituality and the transmission of wisdom as a resource of everyday decision, even though the need for philosophy seems to be marginal in the era when there is a need for generalized communication.

Analyzing the current condition of philosophy, Emmy van Deurzen notes that the marginal status to which philosophy has been condemned by ecclesiastical authority in the premodern world is very similar to that which it has been voluntarily chosen by philosophy itself in relation to science once with the scientific and technological development brought into our lives by Western modernity (van Deurzen 2009, 2). Emmy van Deurzen discovers the paradoxical status of modern philosophy. Paradoxical is that, after breaking free from the subordination of theology which lasted several centuries of theological creation, along with modernity, philosophy voluntarily puts itself at the service of science.

First, philosophy seems to be at their service, and then acts as a sort of underprivileged acquaintance of sciences, especially of social sciences that are constantly expanding. Most of the disciplines that have separated from philosophy over time, or those that originated in different domains of human creation that originally belonged to the sphere of philosophical study, tend to manifest a certain discretion towards philosophers and philosophy. Philosophers have always given up a part of their concerns, without then maintaining a close contact with the specific concerns of areas that had an autonomous development, even if this autonomy did not manifest itself in the form of hostility towards philosophy. Most social sciences, though sometimes resorting to the authority of philosophical personalities that we find in textbooks or treatises of philosophy that they consider to be significant to their field of science, show some kind of detachment from philosophy, considering it to be too theoretical, and speculative to their concerns and practical purpose. Philosophy developed gradually in such a way that it gave away part of its main concerns in favor of other disciplines, or have turned them into marginal aspects of philosophical research. …

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