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Life Arts

BOOK REVIEW: What the World Needs Now!

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(4) Be Responsible.

(5) Be in Love.

Lonergan's American Jesuit follower Robert M. Doran extensively discusses the dissolving of images that block cognition, which in effect is what Tony refers to as baggage, the kind of stuff that encumbers us and that we need to be free from in order to love. In the life of St. Ignatius Loyola, the dissolving of images that block cognition (and thereby block clear thinking) involved the famous gift of tears. People in the last century or so who have been lucky enough to have everything in their psyches cooperate with their undergoing psychoanalysis using dream analysis may have also experienced the dissolving of images that block cognition. Certain other kinds of psychotherapy that do not use dream analysis may also assist certain lucky people in dissolving images that block cognition. But Tony suggests that people can undertake working on dissolving images that block cognition through awareness.

At times, Tony's comments about awareness call to mind the practice known in Ignatian spirituality as an examen of conscience, which can be understood as an examen of consciousness. An examen is the practice of examining oneself and one's conscience and consciousness. Usually, one would undertake such a process of examining oneself in down-time when one can reflect in peace on the day's events.

However, at other times, Tony's comments about awareness call to mind the more formal practice of meditation such as Buddhist meditation -- more formal practice, that is, than the practice of reflecting on one's day in an examen would be.

But perhaps what Tony has in mind is that one might un-self-consciously move from the practice of awareness in an examen to the practice of meditation such as Buddhist meditation.

In any event, Tony is the great champion of awareness. According to him, awareness is the key to the kingdom of God that Jesus is portrayed in the gospels as proclaiming.

Even though the central thrust of Tony's book is to advocate mystic awareness ("the unaware life is not worth living"), he also advocates clear thinking. He says that "what clear thinking calls for is not intelligence -- that is easily come by -- but the courage that has successfully coped with fear and with desire, for the moment you desire something or fear something, your heart will consciously or unconsciously get in the way of your thinking" (page 141).

So to engage in clear thinking, we need "a heart that divests itself of its programming and its self-interest each time that thinking is in progress; a heart that has nothing to protect and owes nothing to ambition and therefore leaves the mind to roam unfettered, fearless and free, in search of truth; a heart that is ever ready to accept new evidence and to change its views" (page 141).

At the risk of sounding more mundane than Tony sounds in THE WAY TO LOVE is, I would suggest that the experience of the Self in mystic awareness can open the way not only to shedding cumbersome unhealthy baggage (i.e., maladaptive learning and functioning), as Tony indicates, but also to learning how to access one or more of the optimal forms of the archetypes of maturity that the Jungian theorist Robert Moore of Chicago Theological Seminary describes as the King/Queen archetypes of maturity and the masculine and the feminine Warrior, Magician, and Lover archetypes of maturity.

Using colorful terms that he himself has coined, Moore works with eight forms of maladaptive learning and functioning that Theodore Millon identifies in more abstract terminology in his book MODERN PSYCHOPATHOLOGY: A BIOSOCIAL APPROACH TO MALADAPTIVE LEARNING AND FUNCTIONING (1969, page 87):

(1) Passive-Independence (= Moore's passive "shadow" form King/Queen archetypes)

(2) Active-Independence (= Moore's active "shadow" form King/Queen archetypes)

(3) Passive-Ambivalence (= Moore's passive "shadow" Warrior archetypes)

(4) Active-Ambivalence (= Moore's active "shadow" Warrior archetypes)

(5) Passive-Detachment (= Moore's passive "shadow" Magician archetypes)

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www.d.umn.edu/~tfarrell

Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from (more...)
 
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How many among us have shed our maladaptive learni... by Thomas Farrell on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 11:35:45 AM