Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Ritual Night Talk for March 2nd

Here is the video of yesterday's Ritual Night Talk on Psychoanalysis and Magick, probably Part One of a longer conversation. The donation link is here. The post I mention in the talk on "The End of the Unconscious Mind" is here and the article I mention discussing the various shortcomings of the Freudian model is here.

In the first half of the Twentieth Century, Freud's psychoanalytic model was considered both cutting-edge and scientific. However, the neuroscience of today has made various discoveries about the nature of memory and cognition that show the model cannot possibly be correct. Unfortunately for those of us who practice magick, during the period in which the model was considered respectable and scientific, there was a lot of effort expended on integrating psychoanalytic ideas into esotericism.

It is long past time that we as magical practitioners recognize that if we want to cultivate a scientific understanding of magick, integrating completely unscientific models like that of psychoanalysis does not help us. Instead, we need to look at the latest discoveries in neuroscience and consciousness research and adjust our models of magick accordingly.


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1 comment:

Scott Stenwick said...

As a clarification, I am not talking about all psychotherapy here. Apparently this talk came off to at least one person that way. I am specifically talking about traditional psychanalysis, not all forms of psychotherapy. Treatment modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy have been found to be more effective in experimental studies, which I believe is because they use a more accurate model of the brain's conditioning system in conjunction with psychodynamic work.

And as always, this is not intended to dissuade anyone from keeping up something that's working for them. Regardless of my assessment of the Freudian model, if you happen to be a magician working with a psychoanalytic therapist and it's working well for you, by all means keep it up. As with magick, my first rule is that if it works, it works. Magicians can certainly benefit from psychotherapy, and there is at least a bit of an "art" component to successful treatment.

On the other hand, if you are looking to start some form of psychotherapy and aren't sure what you want to do, psychoanalysis is not the system I would generally recommend, all factors being equal.