Author: Torsten Oettinger
2023-01-07, 8th Edition


Psychotherapy Metapsychotherapy Psychiatry Psychology Philosophy Linguistics Religion


In this part METAPSYCHOTHERAPY, basic assumptions (such as philosophies resp. worldviews and religions), which are the foundations of current psychological and psychiatric theories, are critically examined as to their psychological and psychotherapeutic relevance and functionality. In addition, I develop a specific theory and psychotherapy which also include subjective and spiritual factors. Thus, the theory and therapy of mental disorders are substantially expanded, for although different ideologies and worldviews are of great importance to the psyche and psychological theory formation, this is hardly reflected from the academic side.

A somewhat mocking remark
One might ask the polemical question whether our psychology and psychiatry themselves do not suffer from poor health. They seem to be affected by disorders which could be called “scientitis” or “dogmatitis”, since they are too focused on science. In scientific writings, reference is made very rarely to philosophical or even religious insights. According to the ‘malicious’ words of Karl Kraus: “Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself as therapy”  we psychiatrists should ask ourselves in which way our theories might be wrong or even ‘in ill health’ – resp. we have reduced “the diseases of the mind to mindless diseases” (Basaglia).

What is Metapsychotherapy?

                                                            The spirit is stronger than matter.
                                                            Belief is stronger than knowledge.
                                                            The Self is stronger than the Ego alone.
                                                             God is stronger than human and death.1My ideas of what God is do not necessarily correspond to those of the mainstream churches, so I write often God¹

Metapsychotherapy means a level above psychotherapy, a level from where psychotherapy can be reflected upon and defined.2For reasons of simplicity, I will at times speak of meta-therapy rather than meta-psychotherapy. See later also about `Primary Psychotherapy´.
All the insights of humans that are helpful to the psyche, and which are communicated by diverse worldviews (Weltanschauungen)3`Worldview (Weltanschauung)´ is the general term here which includes mindset, religion, ideology, conception of the world, philosophy, attitude, outlook on life, etc. These concepts may be either defined or are private and undefined. By way of variation, at times, I use the one term, and, at other times, a different name.
 – As described in the section Metapsychology, worldviews are a matter of faith.
 and sciences, are relevant to meta-psychotherapy. One may also say that all generally-valid  solutions (`meta-solutions´) for the fundamental (psychical) problems of humanity (`meta-problems´) are also relevant to meta-psychotherapy. Very short: Metapsychotherapy is a therapy of everything sick psychical Relevant. Meta-psychotherapy not only offers meta-solutions themselves but also facilitates the development of optimal solutions within psychotherapy as a whole.
This chapter is based on the following hypotheses:
     1. The worldviews essentially determine the human´s psyche and behavior.
     2. The different worldviews also determine the different psychotherapeutic directions and the respective therapists significantly. That is, behind every psychotherapy is a determining worldview, and the worldview of each psychotherapist will substantially determine his therapy.

This raises the question of the advantages and disadvantages of the worldviews on which the various psychotherapies are based. That I will discuss, too. 4How is it possible for a psychotherapist, who is trained in rational thinking, to understand irrational ways of thinking as are so frequently found amongst those suffering from psychological illnesses? By the example of Freud, Balthasar Staehelin wrote the following: “It was perhaps Freud’s apparent compulsion to be a servant of such scientific bias and exclusivity which drove him to make possible his greatest mistake: He was no longer able to listen to a patient impartially but only heard that which was spoken as a confirmation of his philosophical convictions concerning the nature of humankind.“ (p. 22)
In this study, I limit myself to describing the most important worldviews from those I believe are relevant to our theme.5This is not, of course, to diminish the significance of the other subjects mentioned above; however, to discuss even a majority of them would be to go beyond the scope of this study.

Billions of people around the world have one faith or another and, for this reason, I believe that a reflection upon the potential benefits, or possible damage, to our psyche, caused by these worldviews, will be helpful. Within the framework of this study, and taking into consideration the magnitude of these topics, as well as my own limited knowledge, my explanations are only brief and subjective but they shall inspire the reader to a constructive discussion. Surprisingly, one finds in the literature only a small number of publications on this topic. The reason for this may well be the current dominance of so-called evidence-based therapies, since they correspond with the zeitgeist of science. They are, however, not undisputed. 6See also the criticism voiced by G. Vinnai: “The Exile of Criticism from Science: Psychology in the Universities”, 2013.  J. Wiltschko is one of those who delivers harsh criticism. Under the headline “What is evidence-based psychotherapy?“ he explains: 7Johannes Wiltschko: “Eine Metapsychotherapie als Kontrapunkt zum gegenwärtigen Trend.” (Meta-psychotherapy as a counterpoint to the current trend) In: . However, I can only agree with some of the conclusions which J. Wiltschko draws from this criticism.  “Very important components of psychotherapy are lost in RCTs [randomised controlled trials] and considered to be mere accumulations of confounding variables which need to be controlled, ideally, by manualization …” And further: “The demand for evidence-based methods is the contemporary end-product of a process which is inspired by developments within the whole of society.“8ebd. This, however, is predominately caused by a materialistic view, which is little suited to psychological issues, as has previously been emphasized. As therapists, we find ourselves in danger of placing the “letter” above the spirit – as did the Pharisees in the Old Testament – although the letter alone kills and the spirit sets us free. 9 2 Cor 3:6. Jesus had many critical words to say about such a Pharisaic spirit. I hope that, in a few years, we psychotherapists will not need to comply with hundreds of regulations, as the Pharisees did in their day. 101.) In my opinion, the legal system in Germany is undergoing a similar development, in which, for reasons of the absolutization of random paragraphs, some victims seem to receive less protection than the offenders.
2.) The controlled economy in socialist states is a good example of the consistent implementation of regulations based upon ideologies , which have driven out a great deal of good will.

There is a danger that therapies will predominately concerned with the observation of the relevant regulations, which would have similar consequences as a ‘work-to-rule’.
Under the headline “Evidenzbasiert trösten?” (Evidence-based Emotional Support?), Dunja Voos wrote: “Many patients suffering from mental illnesses are looking for consolation, support, meaning in life, a trusting relationship and a feeling of emotional security … A child who cries and feels sad, is comforted by mother and father … The parents comfort the child – not because they are following evidence-based methods but because they follow their feelings.“ 11Dunja Voos 2013. One could also say, parents do this out of love (but love cannot be “evidence-based”.) A therapy that does not fulfill these needs seems to be, in my opinion, comfortless in the true sense of the word.
This also applies to S. Freud, when he declares: ”… and I bow to their reproach that I can offer them [ the patients] no consolation: for at bottom that is what they are all demanding – the wildest revolutionaries no less passionately than the most virtuous believers.” 12Freud, Sigmund, in: Das Unbehagen in der Kultur (Civilization And Its Discontents), 1930.
I believe that the guidelines of evidence-based medicine are very valuable, provided that they are only applied to subject matters which are appropriate for scientific analysis.13By itself, the term `Evidenz´ in German means `unmittelbare Einsichtigkeit’ (immediate intelligibility (Duden). However, the term Evidenz is often used erroneously to represent the English word `evidence´, which stands for proof or attestation. “Therefore, the German translation ‘evidenzbasierte Medizin” is not a correct rendition of the English expression ‘evidence-based medicine’ ….”. (emphasis added). 11/2013. This is only partially applicable to psychiatry. Officially, the recommendations of evidence-based medicine are only meant to serve as guidance. However, the question arises as to who would dare diverge from the opinions of experts, especially as in the case of failure, legal consequences might ensue should the guidelines not be observed. My main criticism is that these guidelines do not include other perspectives and are therefore biased.
Since imbalances do not remain without consequences and every extreme promotes its opposite, it is to be expected that a type of psychotherapy that has a one-sided focus on scientific aspects will advance the current, uncontrolled psycho-boom. Thus, according to the magazine `Focus´, about 10,000 healers and about 500,000 Reiki-masters are, at present, offering their spiritual assistance to the German public.14Focus-Magazin No. 30/2011 p. 73.

But what are the hallmarks of good meta-psychotherapy?

The absolute Perspective

A good meta-psychotherapy should facilitate a free choice amongst the diverse psychotherapies, dependent upon the respective person and problem, and allow – or even promote – new, alternative methods.
Arguably, every school of psychotherapy will pronounce important truths; however, without considering meta-therapeutic insights, it will soon reach its respective limits. Good meta-therapy however, will yet provide support where concrete psycho-therapeutic measures fail. The larger perspective of meta-therapy is able to establish correct connections and relations, and to avoid superficial therapies that are not sustainable. If the conceptual framework is kept rather small and limited in scope, then good solutions may be impeded. This is also true if the solution is solely framed around that which one can scientifically verify. In such a case, we are merely installing a closed box, in which we are trapped and cannot find solutions because the system is not open to a wider perspective.15One can also speak of a fundamental perspective. (→ fundamental)
In this respect, I refer again to the theorem on undecidability by K. Gödel.
|Thus, for example, some therapy strategies appear to resemble illness-extermination-programs promoted by the pharmaceutical industry.
For me, meta-therapy is the following: Treating people from a higher point/ from above/ from the highest meta-level with respect for the dignity of man. According to Spinoza and others,16See L. Wittgenstein, Viktor Frankl and C.G. Jung, who refer to this expression, albeit with different emphases. Quote taken from: Similar F. Nietzsche: The philosopher should stand “on the widely spread wings of all time”. (About the pathos of the truth). it is a perspective  with relation to the eternal (“sub specie aeternitatis”). 
I am convinced that, from this perspective, decisions are often made differently; moreover, that decision-making is at its best, wherever the absolute ”point of reference” chosen is the right one. First, I would like to term it, in a rather general sense: +A, or “love”. But a discussion of different potential points of reference will be undertaken in the following paragraphs.
    In meta-therapy, the most relevant questions are the following:
What is the strongest definition of a person? What is our ultimate concern? Which worldview communicates most of love? What absolute point of reference/(system of reference)17Is this an analogy to the inertial frame of reference in physics? communicates this the best? In other words: What is the positive Absolute (+A)? Which points of reference make our lives too difficult or make us ill? Which points of reference lead to either no solution or merely a second-rate one?
    In the following chapters, we will investigate these questions. Once more, I would like to emphasize that the answers to these inquiries are credible at best but not provable.18As explained above, even the provable needs to be believed.

Fundamental Problems

Fundamental problems within meta-psychology can be sketched out in the following words:19See also parallels within existential philosophy. Regarding the latter, it is important to generate an ‘interpretation of mankind as existence in the sense of an ultimate, irreducible being ….´ (Brockhaus, keyword `Existenzphilosophie´).
Though we want the Absolute – we can, however, remain caught up in that which is Relative. We desire a state in which we, and our world, are entirely positive; however, we witness both: wonderfulness and faults. We long for our salvation and yet we are unredeemed; we wish for immortality and yet we are mortal; we yearn for unlimited lust and yet – we only experience it in part and only at certain times; we pine for the sense that we are loved for our own sake but, very often, we are only loved for our achievements; we crave for freedom and omnipotence and yet, we often feel trapped and powerless; we are eager for companionship and peace but ultimately, we remain alone or ill at ease, etc.  From a Christian perspective, one might say: We have lost paradise and now live in this conflicting world. But I believe, all of these problems mentioned, which are deeply, existentially felt by the individual, are already, in principle (rather than in totality) solved in relation to the  +Absolute  (which is God¹/ love). But the positive strange Absolutes (+sA) are more attractive and they seemingly satisfy our desires more easily than the +A. On the other side, their price is too high because the actual I-Self is to sacrify for them. It is paradoxical, therefore, that a person considers that which is adverse to be advantageous, and that which is advantageous to be adverse.
Question: can all relative problems be traced back to fundamental problems – that is, to inversion sequences? I think so. [See also term fundamental].

Basic problems systematically presented:
    • Problems of dimensions:
– The person between the actual +A and ‒A (the absolute, existential essence of a problem).
– The problems between these actual A and the sA/It.
– The problems between diverse sA/It.
– The problems within diverse sA/It.
Here, one can – following the concept of the `7 synonyms of the Absolute´ – make further distinctions:
Existential problems relating to: identity (a2); reality (a3); unity; integrity (a4); unconditionality (a5); priorities (a6); and autonomy (a7).
    • Problems within the fields of differentiation:
The 4 main aspects of differentiation entail the following fundamental problems:
1. Existential problems relating to being (being or non-being or `contra´-being ).
2. Existential problems relating to life (life or death or `living contra´, such as `destrudo´).
3. Existential qualitative problems (good /bad, evil/ false; or positive/ negative/ 0).
4. Existential problems relating to being either a subject or an object (e.g. offender/ victim; person/ thing).
With regard to the `23 individual aspects´, there are problems corresponding to the respective subject matter. The question which is perpetually at the fore relates to whether the problem has relative or absolute significance for the affected person (or whether it has the same significance as one of the 7 synonymous conceptual pairs).

In the following, I will reflect general upon the theory of solutions. Subsequently, I will discuss the various potential solutions put forward by the most common worldviews, as well as the consequences which follow from these that are relevant for psychotherapy.


                       “Every change begins with the spirit by which it is borne.” Jochen Pohl

• I ultimately (!) assume that the positive Absolute ( A) can solve (redeem) everything (except −A).
• This absolute solution comprehends all Relative solutions but is not implicitly in need of them.
• Relative solutions are first-rate solutions if they are embedded in  A. Solutions proceeding from a strange Absolute are second-rate solutions.
• Problems which are taken to be relative can, at times, be solved within the same (relative) system, whilst problems which are taken to be absolute, can only be solved by  A. 
In other words: relative problems can be solved relatively well using relative means, whilst problems of the absolute sphere cannot be solved using relative means.

Example of a problem in society: All of us would like to receive the best medical care. However, our health care is embedded within a greater issue: What can the state afford without neglecting other important fields of action? The problems of the individual state, in turn, are embedded within those of the international community; and these, in turn, are embedded within the problems of humankind in general. This means that, in order to avoid implementing overly-expensive solutions or solutions which are established at the expense of other spheres of action, the most important solution of the first order will be to gain an overview of the big picture, a meta-position, and then to find relative solutions. Thus, it becomes also clear that it is not simply the healing of one or another illness that is at stake.

It is surprising to note that, on the one side most experts, from Friedrich Nietzsche to Paul Watzlawick, amongst others, appreciate the importance of meta-positions resp. premises for solutions, but on the side of the psychiatric and psycho-therapeutic investigation, such premises have been attributed little importance.

Friedrich Nietzsche: said, “He who has a why to life can bear almost any how.”
Paul Watzlawick claimed that, psychologically speaking, a person could not survive in a world that was not meaningful to him or her. In addition, he said that the “loss or absence of a meaning in life was perhaps the most common denominator in all forms of emotional distress….” 20Own translation of: Menschliche Kommunikation Bern 2000, cit. by Beatrix Gotthold and Christian Thies in: “Denn jeder sucht ein All” Reclam, Leipzig, 2003 p.85 ff.

In a systematized form, I present the following differentiation:


First-Rate Solutions

 Redemption is free of cost,
 Solutions must be acquired.
 Redeemed you will find the best solutions.

Synonym: Solutions of the first order.

I differentiate between:

One first-rate, absolute solution = unconditional, absolute solution = redemption. It is a spiritual/ love solution. It is not a total solution, but a fundamental one. (→ fundamental.)

It has two parts:
a) Redemption by + A (God¹).
This solution comprehends and integrates all other solutions, even those which are second-rate. It also resolves all dilemmas and paradoxes.
b) A person´s +A choice = in principle, P wants what is good (`fundamental virtue´)
21See also: `The absolute attitude´ ,`Absolute and relative will´   
Otherwise, people only can find relative solutions. I.e. no one can redeem himself or others. (But he does not have to do it, too).

Many first-rate, relative solutions = relative solutions that are integrated into  A .
First-rate, relative solutions can also have physical ways of implementation; they, nevertheless, build upon  A.
Relative problems can be solved with  A or in a superordinate, relative system.

Hallmarks of first-rate solutions (solutions of the first order) include the following:
– Freedom: I do not have to solve the problem – just as I do not have to do necessarily anything else!
– The solution is not achieved at the expense of others.
– First-rate solutions are better and more effective than second-rate solutions.
Why is this so? It is because they do not require as much effort in their implementation; they are more harmonious and credible. Although these solutions, coming from an absolute level, fail to not automatically generate a total solution but rather generate a basic one, they will still serve to thwart the development of mental illnesses that concern the absolute sphere of a person, the Self. This, in turn, suggests that only in due to faith in a positive Absolute – which I, personally, call God¹, all earthly problems get mere relative meaning; and furthermore, a person in their existential (spiritual) foundation can not be destroyed. Also, the + A not only provides redemption but simultaneously offers an optimal basis for special, relative solutions.
Second-rate solutions by strange, positive Absolutes, however, are, at best, suboptimal, and at worst, predominately negative; either way, they are less advantageous than the +A.
Relative solutions are often inadequate since they lack a superordinate meta-level.
Analogically, Bertrand Russel and Alfred Whitehead, in their theory of types, claim: ‘That which affects the entirety of a class (set), cannot itself be part of this class.’ K. Gödel’s incompleteness theorem makes similar assertions: 1. There are always unprovable statements in nearly contradiction-free systems; 2. Nearly contradiction-free systems can not prove their own freedom from contradiction. 22E.g. N.I. Kondakow: Wörterbuch der Logik; deb Verlag, Westberlin, 1978. Keyword `Gödel´.

In addition, some keywords:
Redemption is more important than solutions. Redeemed one finds the best solutions. If no solution is possible, the more important and simpler redemption is still possible: earthly lack of freedom is compensated by spiritual freedom, earthly contradictions are dissolved by spiritual redemption, etc. Paul Watzlawick argues similarly, “He locates many disturbances of everyday human communication (especially as regards couples) on the relationship level and sees meta-communication as a solution to dissolve them.” 23[ , 4/2014.]
Or Socrates: Keep in mind that this earthly life is not the last one and that it does not matter how much you achieve here, then you will not be manic in happiness and will not be depressed in misery. [In reference to Socrates: “Always keep in mind that everything is transient, then you will not be too happy in happy times and not too sad in sad times.”]
For what else reason could people experience liberation despite existential threat-situations?

Later, when I juxtapose Causal and symptomatic Therapies, it will become clear that this constitutes a somewhat different perspective; and one which corresponds with the previous. Already at this point, I would like to say that a symptomatic therapy can clearly also be a first-rate therapy – in this case however, it would only be a relative one.


Second-Rate Solutions

The foundation of second-rate solutions is a strange Absolute (sA).These second-rate solutions are in no way poor solutions; however, by comparison with first-rate solutions, they are, as their name says, second-rate. The more that the strange Absolute, from which the second-rate solution comes, corresponds with the actual Absolute, the better the secondary solution will be and vice versa. Thus, second-rate solutions range from the suboptimal to nearly unresolved. One might also say that second-rate solutions are neither entirely correct nor entirely wrong. However, in terms of their positive effects, even the best +sA remains a long way behind those of the +A since the above-mentioned existential, fundamental problems persist.
Second-rate solutions (answers) are either “absolutistic”, relativistic or negativistic.
If the solution is absolutistic, predominately hyper-effects emerge;
through relativistic solutions, mainly strange or false effects arise and
through nihilistic solutions, primarily a loss of first-rate reality occurs.
Thus, second-rate solutions have hyper/ strange/ or deficient effects; e.g., they have hyper/strange /deficient effects concerning absoluteness, identity, actuality, unity, safety, freedom, and the other aspects. Advantages and Disadvantages

One advantage of second-rate solutions is the possibility of developing hyper-effects, e.g. `ecstasy´, euphoria, high, etc.
A “disadvantage” of first-rate solutions is the lack of development of those hyper-effects.

More on Solutions

If we once more proceed on the assumption of an inversion, the situation can be described as follows:
Relative entities invade the absolute sphere to become strange-Absolute and strange Self. As mentioned above, the +Absolute is the redeeming – however, the Relative as a dependent entity is, in itself, relatively unsolved. If relative entities now invade the absolute sphere of a person and substitute the Absolute, at this central point, an unresolved complex (= `It´) will develop. This will affect those involved until it is resolved or at least relativized. If the person depends upon a +Absolute position, from an actual Self, then the complex is resolved or at least relativized, and thus defused. In this way, the +Absolute is not a total solution but certainly a solver and liberator in principle. Should a relative problem, in this case, remain unresolved, it may have some negative effects but it does not determine our being. We stand above it. If a problem remains in the absolute sphere as sA however, it cannot be conclusively solved without the aid of the +Absolute. It can only be ostensibly or relative well solved; for instance, it can be repressed. The effects of these unresolved complexes depend upon their nature. These are discussed in the chapter concerning the effects of the strange-Selves/ It.
As indicated above, mental illnesses are considered to be an essential consequence of the effects of these unresolved problems.
Meta-solution = redemption; this is the state of already being redeemed, now and forever, in principle (not totally), should one so desire – not only when one has fulfilled this or that precondition but quite simply, by allowing oneself to be loved “from above”. Thereby, the person is relieved from burdens in an optimal way, since potential demands made upon the individual can no longer take center stage.
Redemption is more important than solution and through redemption, solutions are much more likely to occur.
[Example: Solution of the `tragedy commons´ problem. See unabbreviated version.]

Further Keywords Relating to Solutions- Life is more important than the functional.
– Material/ organic disorders are most easily remedied by material means which rest upon +A; mental or emotional disturbances are most easily remedied by spiritual, mental or emotional means which rest upon +A.
– Do not adjust the patient to the method of therapy but rather adjust the method of therapy to suit the patient – this notwithstanding, the desires of the patient should not be the supreme authority.
– The existential question: “Am I already or do I still need to become?” Answer: “You are, now also try to become!”
– The key to open closed doors of the second-rate worlds, is seldom a key of the second order, which thus originates from WPI² itself but is rather a key of the first order; quasi a meta-key, a spiritual key, which, ultimately, cannot be found in knowledge (for knowledge is relative) but found instead in faith, which has access to that which is the Absolute. This is not a devaluation of knowledge but a question of priorities.24Albeit only in a limited way, the “W²-methods” can indeed serve to solve W²-problems if the solution is found in the W²-hierarchy above the W²-problem.
Hierarchies of problems and hierarchies of solutions: see unabridged German version.

There is more on Causal and symptomatic Therapies in the section relating to psychotherapy.

Comparison with Solutions of Other Authors

• P. Watzlawick et al. distinguish between the following solutions:25Watzlawick, P., J.H. Weakland, R. Fisch: Lösungen. Verlag Hans Huber Bern-Stuttgart-Wien, 1974.
– Solutions of the first order:
“Here the non-functioning system is left to itself; For solving the problem, only system-internal means are taken into consideration … Thus, in first-order solutions, only individual problematic elements are `repaired ‘or postponed … But from the outside, it has not led to a solution of the actual problem, but only one problem shift or deterioration of the initial situation brought about. Thus, first-order solutions are only applicable for a short time … “.
Commentary: These solutions of the first order resemble, in essence, those which I have termed second-rate solutions.
– Solutions of the second order:
“… to durably eradicate a problem, it is therefore advisable to seek a second-order solution. In this case, the ‘sick system´ is no longer left to its own devices but, from the outside, one can also intervene … in the functioning of the system. Contrary to first-order solutions, relations between the elements can thus be assessed and analyzed more objectively. The remedying of the problem requires the re-organization of the entire system …”.
Commentary: I have termed the solutions of the second order, as they are referred to here, first-rate solutions. The authors also point out that they attempt to resolve unresolved problems from the vantage point of a meta-level, however, they do not refer to a (positive) Absolute.
• Parallels to Psychoanalysis:  I believe that the essential therapeutic effects of psycho-analysis lie in the fact that the individual is made aware of “complexes” which, whilst embarrassing to the affected person and which have therefore been repressed, are now be respected as a part of human existence – in this way, the affected person feels accepted, with all their faults. In his practice, the psychoanalyst thus assumes a loving meta-position; although, in theory, S. Freud advocates a different position. He claims that “the intention that man should be happy is not in the plan of Creation.” Amongst the options to protect a person from suffering, he lists, deadening of drives, drive-controlling sublimation (which is only achievable for a few). The aims into which a drive may be converted through sublimation are: art (as “mild narcosis”); religion (as “collective delusion”) and finally, in its “weakest” form, love: “We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love…”.261. S. Freud 1930: Das Unbehagen in der Kultur; GW XIV, p. 441. 2. The previous recital of Freud´s defense mechanisms originates from a citation which I cannot locate at present. In my opinion, this is only true in regards to second-rate love, the `libido´; and not in regards to first-rate love, which, by way of contrast, is the strongest force that there is to counter suffering. The possibility of protection through a superordinate positive entity, through a `positive meta-position´, as Freud himself practiced, remains unmentioned.

What is Best for the Psyche?

“What love and spirit give cannot be extorted.”
  F. Hölderlin

I believe that we, as human, require both – scientifically-sound help and the support which comes from faith. Even if this were to be granted however, the challenges of the therapeutic situation would yet remain. Even if one assumes that all those who help only want what is best for their clients, the question arises as to what precisely is “the best“.
     • Is that which is subjectively felt to be best also that which is objectively the best?
Is the best thing the satisfaction of the patients’ subjective needs? This will be wrong in such cases as when: the satisfaction of the patient’s needs causes them harm; or when their needs and the satisfaction of their needs are artificial, manipulated or ones which are not actual needs, the satisfaction of which will not benefit the patient in the long-term. However, the achievement of satisfaction for actual needs is sometimes connected with negative emotions or even suffering, and therefore frequently causes Resistance.
     • It is similar to the frequently given advice, that the affected should be good to themselves. However, the good in the long-term may be an attempt to meet the challenges of reasonable conflicts and crises, even though they are often connected with suffering.
     • It is similar to the frequently given advice, that the affected should be good to themselves. However, the good in the long-term may be an attempt to meet the challenges of reasonable conflicts and crises, even though they are often connected with suffering.
     • Also, the therapeutic aim to remedy the symptoms or even to get health, as described in detail in a different section, is not unequivocally positive: The elimination of a symptom, albeit helpful in an acute situation, might conceal its causes and thus induce more permanent disorders, which may not find expression as an illness, and might not even manifest exclusively in the affected if the alleviation of symptoms come at the expense of other people or of other spheres of life. (I am thinking of a 39-year old patient with Ca, who was told by those who were following the guidelines that she needed to attend biannual check-ups for 10 years, since statistically, this offered the greatest chances for recovery. My question is this: Even if she lives for a few more years, will the lady truly benefit from this treatment, when she has to undergo 20 follow-up examinations, which, for her, are usually accompanied by weeks of immense fear?).
     • Prolongation of life at any cost? Is a long life truly the very best thing? In some instances, it can be terrible. It seems particularly questionable to force terminally ill people to live on against their repeatedly stated will.

For example: Tony Nicklinson lived for 7 years with Locked-in-Syndrom. He felt condemned to a life which he perceived to be “uncomfortable, undignified and degrading”. In vain, he filed lawsuits at all official channels to be given the right to commit assisted suicide. Similarly, the British Diane Pretty, the Italian Eluana Englaro, who had been in a vigilant coma in a care home for 17 years following an accident etc.. I am well aware of the difficulties associated with such decisions, particularly in view of the background of euthanasia, however, I believe that the dogmatization of an orientation which, in itself, is correct and humane, that: `Every earthly life must be maintained and prolonged at any cost´ may become inhumane at a certain point. In this way, it seems also absurd to hear in the news that “doctors are fighting for the life of the erstwhile prime minister of Israel, Scharon, who has been in a coma for seven years (!)“, given that his condition has now (2014) deteriorated.

     • Is reason the very best thing? Is it not tedious, and even impossible, to remain nothing other than reasonable?
     • Serenity? Would it not be better for us were we allowed to, at times, not be serene, and would these instances not occur time and time again? Are we not serene to a higher degree if we are allowed also to not be serene?
     • Authenticity? Are we not authentic to a higher degree if we remain true to ourselves, even when we are not authentic?
     • Success? Are we not condemned to be successful if we are not allowed to be unsuccessful?
     • Mindfulness? Is it not to be taken into consideration that excessive mindfulness can lead to carelessness?
     • Objectivity? Is not our objectivity at its highest level when it encompasses subjectivity?

This list is by no means exhausted and could be continued indefinitely. In the best-case scenario, these aims are only suboptimal, since they are all associated with preconditions which we can only ever fulfill occasionally and partially.
The question remains as to what is the best thing for a person, for their soul. One might also ask:

What is the Positive Absolute, the +A?

How should the best spirit, the best attitude of mind (in philosophy, religion etc.) be developed? In short: What should a positive Absolute (+A) look like? This is a matter of belief. I personally believe:
First, the +A should be absolutely positive: almighty, eternal, absolutely good, so that you can entrust yourself to it completely.
The +A should be affectionate and should not make love dependent on any preconditions.
The +A should love each person for their own sake, (whilst not necessarily loving all their actions).
The + A should be free – and not ask a price like ideologies and some worldviews.
The +A should grant every person implicit dignity, value and the right to self-determination.
The +A should be, at the same time, both optimistic and realistic.
The +A should elevate people and not dominate them.
The + A should be always self-consistent.
The +A should be accessible to all without any preconditions – this means that it should not only be accessible to the intelligent, the strong and the good but also to the simple, the weak and the evil; perhaps even more so since they are more in need of it.
The +A should allow every person the option to deselect every Absolute, therefore even the deselection of God himself, and thus, in this free attitude toward Absolutes, allow the respective person himself to occupy an absolute position.
The +A should be stronger than the people themselves.
The +A should assist people in their hour of need, without depriving them of the right to make a decision, nor taking away their responsibility.
The +A should forgive everything if the relevant person so wishes.
The +A should give people orientation but not direct them.
The +A should provide people with meaning which cannot be lost.
The +A should not be manipulable but sovereign.
The +A should relativize all earthly problems and thereby facilitate their solution.
The +A should give people hope in every circumstance, thus also beyond death, without referring to the fulfillment of their hopes solely to the afterlife.
The +A should be able to empathize with people and comfort them, just as an ideal mother comforts her child.
The +A should give people, first and foremost, freedom and joy, relieving the pressures which weigh upon them, without taking every burden away, in case such an action causes them to weaken.
The +A should make the core of every person, the Self, unassailable and indestructible, by making this Self independent of anything that is destructible in itself.
The nature of the +A should be such that anyone, at any time, is able to find themselves again within the Absolute.
The +A should be good for all people.
The +A is “what holds the world together at the core” (Goethe, Dr. Faust, chapter 4). the +A should be affectionate and should not make love dependent on any preconditions.
The +A should love each person for their own sake, (whilst not necessarily loving all their actions).
The +A should grant every person implicit dignity, value and the right to self-determination.
The +A should be, at the same time, both optimistic and realistic.
The +A should elevate people and not dominate them.
The + A should be always self-consistent.
The +A should be accessible to all without any preconditions – this means that it should not only be accessible to the intelligent, the strong and the good but also to the simple, the weak and the evil; perhaps even more so since they are more in need of it.
The +A should allow every person the option to deselect every Absolute, therefore even the deselection of God himself, and thus, in this free attitude toward Absolutes, allow the respective person himself to occupy an absolute position .
The +A should be stronger than people themselves.
The +A should assist people in their hour of need, without depriving them of the right to make a decision, nor taking away their responsibility.
The +A should forgive everything if the relevant person so wishes.
The +A should give people orientation but not direct them.
The +A should provide people with meaning which cannot be lost.
The +A should not be manipulable but sovereign.
The +A should relativize all earthly problems and thereby facilitate their solution.
The +A should be able to turn all distress, so that we did not need anything else.
The +A should give people hope in every circumstance, thus also beyond death, without referring to the fulfillment of their hopes solely to the afterlife.
The +A should be able to empathize with people and comfort them, just as an ideal mother comforts her child.
The +A should give people, first and foremost, freedom and joy, relieving the pressures which weigh upon them, without taking every burden away, in case such an action causes them to weaken.
The +A should make the core of every person, the Self, unassailable and indestructible, by making this Self independent of anything that is destructible in itself.
The nature of the +A should be such that anyone, at any time, is able to find themselves again within the Absolute.
The +A should be good for all people.
The +A is “what holds the world together at the core” (Goethe, Dr. Faust, chapter 4).
The best thing for our psyche, the +A, is, I believe, love (or else if one is religious: God¹).27This is my personal view of the positive Absolute, of God, which does not necessarily agree with some other Christian conceptions. See `Christian one-sidednesses and misinterpretations´. See also the passage on love in 1 Cor 13. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.] I am deeply convinced that the strongest healing force is love/ God¹- even if it seems “watered down” or hidden behind other names such as respect, sympathy, unconditional acceptance and appreciation, etc. or within various religions, ideologies or therapeutic methods.
Since love/ God¹ possesses the most diverse aspects, every one of these aspects will have a positive effect; on the other hand, its power is lessened if only one of its aspects or attributes is made absolute.

In the following, I sketchily try to examine the most important worldviews (weltanschauungen) to see how far they correspond to this ideal of a + A. I will only investigate mainstream worldviews of humanity, with which the belief systems of individuals will agree more or less. In addition, it is to be noted that any assessment of them is, of course, subjective and, at best, credible.


Critical Survey


Definition: “The word worldview means the entirety of all views of an individual or a group of individuals concerning the world; the latter’s inherent condition and qualities, its origin, its destination, meaning, value etc. and the position of humanity within it. Different to insights, worldviews do not contain reasonable elements such as interpretations, ideals and categorical beliefs about a way of life; perhaps even metaphysical and religious views.” 28Peter Möller in: 3/2014.
Why should we not analyze the most diverse belief systems concerning their effects on the psyche -particularly in this chapter, and discuss the ways in which if at all, they might qualify as a foundation for psychotherapies? The rather unfavorable worldviews, the ideologies, I discussed in the part `Metapsychiatry’.
In the following review, I will address some of the essentially humane concepts that are the foundations for various types of psychotherapies; although they are rarely considered as such.
An exception is John R. Peteet; Quote: “Therapists’ virtues are vitally important in psychotherapy … Among the individual and cultural factors that shape a therapist’s virtues are spiritual traditions … Arguably these include for Jews, communal responsibility and critical thought; for Christians, love and grace; for Muslims, reverence and obedience; for Buddhists, equanimity and compassion; for Hindus, appreciation of Dharma and Karma; and for secularists, respect for scientific evidence and intelligibility. These have differing implications for treatment …”. These should be discussed here. 29J.R. Peteet: `What is the Place of Clinicians’ Religious or Spiritual Commitments inPsychotherapy? A Virtues-Based Perspective´ New York 2013., Underlined by me. Similarly, Fritz Mauthner claims that “the worldview of a person depends on the general and temporary condition of their soul.“ Quoted in Peter Möller, in: -3/2014, – whereby the reverse is also true.

Here, I will address only the most well-known, quasi-official worldviews which are representative of countless individual worldviews. For me, the most important criterion for this analysis is the question regarding the degree to which these correspond to the positive Absolute named above; in other words, the level of love that they communicate. As a therapist, it is also important however, to understand the patient from the perspective of his worldview.
The worldviews compete with one another; The various world religions claim to have the right answers to the existential questions of humankind.
Of course, it is possible to say: Let everyone seek heaven in their own fashion; why should I question the faith of another person? Surely, it would be wrong to challenge the freedom of belief. On the other hand, one could answer: Why should I not respect the faith of my fellows while, at the same time, advocate a different standpoint? Why should I not seek out, together with my fellows, believable answers to the questions relating to what is best for people?

The following assessments of the diverse worldviews have been undertaken, first and foremost, about their effect on the psyche. These are only statements in note form which represent my personal opinion and do not claim to present a complete picture.

As sources for the subsequent statements, I predominately refer to the following literature (unless otherwise stated):
Brockhaus Enzyklopädie; Schischkoff: Philosophisches Wörterbuch; Lexikon der Evangelischen Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen;30 2/2016.
Evangelischer Erwachsenen Katechismus; E. Kellerhals: Der Islam; K. Jaspers: Die großen Philosophen; Wikipedia; Koran; Bible.311. Precise bibliographical references: see bibliography.
          2. Literal quotations are denoted by quotation marks and the source is cited separately.

Anthropocentric/ Theocentric Worldviews

In this respect, I distinguish between anthropocentric, theocentric and christocentric worldviews.

Materialism, Idealism, Esoterism and most of the other Ideologies, in part BuddhismIslam
in part Judaism
AdvantagesDisadvantages/ RisksAdvantagesDisadvantages/ Risks
The person is at the center.Lack of spirituality
abs. love/ God is missing.
Conception of the world is too narrow.
God is in the center.  Man becomes too unimportant.
  Too little right of self-determination
The person is free and mature.A person is considered to be either too big (“superman”) or too small.The individual feels safe.  Man becomes too dependent, too small.
The person has ultimate responsibility.
The person strives, struggles and performs. Belief in progress.
Excessive demands!
A person has to perform well / redeem himself.  Their deeds decide on their fate.
→ Pressure to progress, to be successful.
God has ultimate responsibility.
God does what is most important.
  God is too arbitrary, man at his mercy.
  Man leaves God the existential but he has to believe in God.
A person is not loved for their own sake. Only in one’s own religion would there be salvation and other views would be excluded (exclusivism).
Disadvantages both: Person has to fulfill certain conditions

”In connection with religion, anthropocentrism can be defined as the standpoint that it is neither God, nor gods, who are the spiritual center of the world (as in theocentrism) but the human person.”32 3/2014.
KW “Man is the measure of all things.“ (Protagoras).
   Main criticisms:
A person needs to meet certain requirements.
A person carries sole responsibility and is, as such, overwhelmed.
One encounters an overemphasis on the adult-l or on certain achievements of humanity.
Immanent faith in the progress of humanity (progressivism).

 “The term theocentrism … denotes a worldview that is marked by religion; that regards God, or one or several gods, to be the center of our existence in the world … a person’s way of living and thinking is guided by religion. The opposite of theocentrism is anthropo-centrism … “. 33ttps:// 3/2014.
Criticism: See table above and the section entitled ‘religions’.

Christianity is christocentric and thereby theocentric and anthropocentric, since Jesus Christ, who is simultaneously divine and human, is at its center. Thus, anthropocentrism and theocentrism are not opposites within Christianity; rather, they are inextricably linked with one another.”34 3/2014.|


Philosophies have the same problem as religions: They deal with that which cannot be proven.
Similar to religions, they also look at the big picture. “While scientific insights focus on the relevant subject matters for investigation … philosophy addresses the whole of our being concerning the human person as a human person; it addresses the truth, which, wherever it shines forth, touches us more deeply than any scientific insight … It is not this or that causal relationship which is investigated but rather, it is the meaning which is attributed to the entirety of the matter.” In contrast to theology, the “wisdom of God”, one could consider philosophy as being the “wisdom of the world”.35Schischkoff, keyword: Philosophie.|

[For an outline of ideologies in the history of thought, and relationships between philosophy, religion and the sciences, see the unabridged German version.]


Materialism is “a philosophic system which – in contrast to idealism – assumes matter to be the ultimate reality, determining all other phenomena.“ 36 ,2014.
I shall only comment on some of the main aspects of philosophical materialism. 
 Generally speaking, materialism is atheistic. Naturalism, empiricism and positivism are closely related to materialism.37Following Schischkoff KW Materialismus. 
These are the philosophical foundations for the most common psychotherapies of today.

Criticism of Materialism

               “Behold! I show you the last man. What is love? What is creation? What is longing? …
                thus asks the last man … The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man,
                who makes everything small.” F. Nietzsche (`Thus spoke Zarathustra´).

It seems, to me, that the basic assumptions underlying today’s psychology and psychiatry are still the same atheistic-materialistic premises of Marx and Lenin.
Quotation of Lenin: “You cannot argue about the soul without having explained psychical processes in particular: here, progress must consist precisely in abandoning general theories and philosophical discourses about the nature of the soul, and in being able to put the study of the facts about particular psychical processes on a scientific footing … materialist dialectics … reflects the most general laws of the development of the objective world and human thought.“ 38 , 2019
Regardless of whether Lenin, Marx or their successors admit this or not, they themselves only assume basic assumptions that can only be believed. Even if they make these theses absolute, they rarely let their own apriori be criticized. Regarding this point, H. Hempelmann writes: “The position of naturalistic reductionism is itself metaphysical, that is, contradictory, that is,  self-annulling.”39 2013.
To that Peter Möller: “The primacy of the spirit convinces me more than the primacy of matter. Creative intelligence, creativity and imagination cannot be explained with the primacy of matter and consciousness as a mere mirror image”40Peter Möller in: 2/2015.
I think, God is not in opposition to matter but to its primacy. Even Jesus used saliva and sand (thus matter) to heal a blind person. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]

See also the problem of the `Qualia´ – the subjective content of the experience of a mental state.

Materialists leave the people in this world completely alone. A loving, overriding force, like God¹, is missing. The sky is empty or a mirror in which man only sees himself. But what happens if we do not know how to proceed? Then the man is left to himself and overtaxed after a certain point. Life as a materialist or atheist seems to me too exhausting,41This statement expresses what happens in general; in individual cases, there are those who make their  life all too easy for themselves, at the expense of others. with too little credibility, neither sufficiently meaningful nor satisfying. It seems to be too one-sided, short-sighted, hyperrealistic/ unrealistic, sterile and soul-less.42Matthias Krieg: “The materialist is short-sighted by nature.” (Verbal message).
For a materialist, dreams, love, hope, solace, grace, salvation, spirituality, eternity, paradise, soul, God etc., in themselves, are of little consequence, since they appear to be immaterial and cannot be proven.43Predominately, materialism overall has the characteristics of a second-rate reality with its advantages and disadvantages. (See also the Summary table) The materialist resembles F. Nietzsche’s ‘last man’ mentioned above. Psychotherapy, on this basis, has then similar tendencies.
Even if materialists do not intend it to be so, their frame of mind, as it is with all ideologues, is susceptible to totalitarian views and systems. They themselves then become, to varying degrees, more totalitarian, more marginalizing, etc., according to the case in hand.
The material endowment of a person, their functionality, their usefulness and their efficiency quickly become the main criteria for their evaluation. This is a phenomenon that affects not only psychology but the whole of society, to which we are all exposed. Performance is to be even more enhanced, the economy is to grow even further. Growth for the sake of growth is, however, “the ideology of a cancer cell” (Edward Abbey). Is this not similar to the attitude of `knowledge at any cost´?

Criticism of Materialist Science and Psychology in Particular

A. Einstein: „It is the theory which decides what we can observe.”

A pure materialist academic psychology reduces the person to that which can be proven, to that which is, ultimately, matter, and thereby overlooks that which is life in its truest sense. 44Whilst idealists sit, rather, in ivory towers and might thus also allow life to pass by.
About this,

Mephisto says in Goethe’s Faust:

“By that, I know the learned lord you are!
What you don’t touch, is lying leagues afar,
What you don’t grasp, is wholly lost to you,
What you don’t reckon, think you, can’t be true,
What you don’t weigh, it has no weight, alas!
What you don’t mint yourself is counterfeit.“ 45Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust II, Vers 4917 ff.

This type of psychology not only despiritualizes, exanimates and objectifies the person but even robs them of the right to their implicit dignity, implicit right of self-determination and freedom. 46From my viewpoint, this is ludicrous, since, contrary to all experience, such a “scientist” will consider himself to have proven that a person has no free will. (It is, of course, clear that a person’s actions are not exclusively independent). Benjamin Libet: Haben wir einen freien Willen? in: Geyer: Hirnforschung und Willensfreiheit, 2004, p. 268-290.
If psychology regards all that is human as a mere reaction or product etc, then it also denies our primary responsibility and the uniqueness of every individual.
Such scientists will, I believe, have little understanding of the subjective and even the chaotic traits of mental illnesses. Rather, they will tend to think in dualistic or digital ways and, as a result, fail to recognize the shades of meaning in the words uttered – or if they do, will aim to further digitize these shades of meaning. As I understand S. Freud’s utterance (which I believe to be correct) that: The laws of logic … do not hold for processes in the id,47like: it means that, with science, one will struggle to gain access to the unconscious.
Another weak point of materialist science is its closed system of thinking. Man is seen in the limits of input-output and not as one, at least in the Absolute, free. Thus, “pure science” will not be able to transgress a limitation that distinguishes the provable and predictable from the unprovable and unpredictable, which is the unique, too. However, these are the innermost beliefs and feelings of a person, that distinguish them from machines and things. One might otherwise think: It is not me, as a person, who is ill, nor is it my soul which is suffering but rather, my synapses are affected or my metabolism is suffering – but thus, only half of the truth is grasped and options for therapy are lost- the latter coming predominately in the form of psychotropic drugs, which correct the relevant dysfunction.
In other words: Materialism and science, per se, when applied exclusively, neither include comfort nor love, and are, by themselves, weak foundations for psychotherapy. Whether science can be undertaken in an unbiased, presuppositionless way, is also questionable. Of course, such issues are already visible when, for example, building the nuclear bomb. What good will all our knowledge, all our growth, the best inventions and the greatest progress do if they are not embedded within a +A (+meta-level); considered in isolation, these could all be used for evil too.|

Quotations on this Topic in the following, I will cite some quotations that criticize materialism.

      • Erwin Schrödinger: In the world of science “there are no sensory qualities …” Of particular poignance in Schrödinger’s view is “the utter silence of our entire scientific research regarding our questions about the meaning and purpose of the undertakings … The personal God cannot be found in an image of the world which has only become accessible at the cost of all personal references being excluded. We know: Whenever God is experienced, this is a moment which is just as real as an unmediated sensory perception or as one’s own personality.”48 Erwin Schrödinger: Auszüge aus „Das arithmetische Paradoxon – Die Einheit des Bewusstseins”. Quotations from Einstein and Schrödinger took from:, 2015.
      •  Bernd Senf sharply judges: “Science, which originally opposed ecclesiastical dogmatism, has long since developed into a new system of belief preached by new scribes and readjusted by the public.” ( Similar to Wolfgang Pauli: “Today we are at a point where the rationalistic attitude has passed its peak and is perceived as too narrow.” 49Wolfgang Pauli:  Physik und Transzendenz, Hans-Peter Dürr (Hrsg.), Bern u. a.: Scherz, 1986, p.  205.
      • ”Science offers access to matter; religion and philosophy, however, offer access to the mind and spirit.” “The movers and shakers (of today) not only bitumize their external environment but also the souls around them.”50 Evangelischer Erwachsenenkatechismus, Gütersloher Verlagshaus 6. edition 2000, p 60 und p. 13 (no further reference source).
      • Richard Lewontin: The self-limitation of science to empiricism, which is predominant today, shows that there is “a prior commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world. On the contrary, it is that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.“ 51, 2019.
      • Arthur Eddington: “Almost all the great classical philosophers – certainly Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Locke and Berkeley – they all argued that the ultimate reality, often hidden under the appearances of the material world or time and space, is mind or spirit.” Concerning the inherent bias of scientificity, he told a parable of a fisher who would only accept the fish he caught in his net as being fish. 52Quotating Arthur Eddington, from John Lennox: Hat die Wissenschaft Gott begraben? R. Brockhaus; 2. ed. Wuppertal 2002, p. 44.
      • Gerhard Grössing: One is often “confronted with Albert Einstein’s statement that the setting of principles (axioms), which are intended to link up the elements of experience in a meaningful way, will not be accomplished through a logical method but only through an ‘intuitive (psychological) connection’, whereby he meant that the `free creation of the human mind´ is an indispensable part of theory construction.”53 Gerhard Grössing: Die Information der Physik: Subjektal und objektal. In: p 6, 10/2013.
      • Heinzpeter Hempelmann: “The acquisition of scientific knowledge is based upon the reduction of a comprehensive desire for knowledge to a simple, limited question … However, the success of the same will be purchased at the price of relinquishing the quest for knowledge of the whole.“ 54Heinzpeter Hempelmann: Eine kritische Analyse der Reichweite und grenzenwissenschaftlicher Aussagen am Beispiel der Neurowissenschaften. In:
      • Noam Chomsky: “It is quite possible … that we will always learn more about human life and personality from novels than from scientific psychology.“55 Chomsky, Noam: Language and Problems of Knowledge: The Managua Lectures, Lecture 5, 1988, p. 159.
      • The Noncognitivism argued against the absolutization of knowledge: e.g. F. Bacon (“knowledge is power”), as did Lenin,  S. Freud (“Our God, Logos”), Maturana (“to live is to know”) and through Cognitivism, (albeit, in my opinion, too one-sidedly), according to which the sphere of the subjective is not accessible to any scientific knowledge, since that which is subjective, the psyche, is beyond the two criteria of truth accepted by empirical science: logical and mathematical proof and testing through observation or experiment.56 Aus: 2/ 2014. (Emphasis mine).
More precisely, one might need to say: The field of the subjective, such as the psyche, can only be ascertained through the methods of empirical science, and only relatively well.
• F. Nietzsche: “`Reason´ is the cause of our falsification of the testimony of the senses.“ 57“Twilight of the Idols”, Part 2, Section 36.
• More recent discussions are presented by Rupert Sheldrake in his book: ‘The Science Delusion”.
In this respect, I would like to briefly touch upon realism and functionalism, since they have quite important roles to play in materialist philosophy and respective psychotherapies.


“The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge or understanding through thought, experience and the senses, of a reality which exists independent of consciousness.” 58Taken from:
As explained in detail in the section `Metapsychiatry´, I believe that our world supports itself as first and second-rate realities; as do we as people. Only a first-rate reality can be unambiguous; the second-rate, however, can only exist as relatively unambiguous realities or even ambiguous realities. The term `realism´ however, cannot distinguish between these two spheres of reality; and misunderstandings ensue if this is attempted. So what does the phrase: “I am a realist” mean? Most likely, it means that “For me, the reality is the defining authority.” The reality, however, is not unambiguous. Similarly questionable is the statement: “I am realistic.” Would it not have been realistic for those in the Third Reich to greet people with `Heil Hitler´? A “realist” will tend to portray reality either hyper-realistically by ignoring its fuzziness and contradictions, or by presenting it all too vaguely.
Materialistic psychotherapies generally define the `adaptation to reality´ as the objective of the therapy. For a criticism of this, see the chapter: Psychotherapy.


Definitions: “Function: Variable factor which is dependent upon another for its value.” 59Großes Fremdwörterbuch KW `Funktion´.
Functionalism considers in particular the conscious mind to be a function of the sense organs.60According to Schischkoff, KW `Funktion´. `Functionalism states that mental states are functional states; A functional state is defined by responding to a specific input with a specific output.´61  12/ 2013. Generally speaking, materialists are also functionalists. Therefore, similar to psychotherapists of this provenance, materialists tend to form an opinion of a person according to their functionality, or even to make this the primary aim of their therapy. However, a person is not primarily a functionary. According to Schischkoff, a functionary is a person “whose occupation consists of performing functions, i.e. of `functioning´.” “As a personality type, a functionary is considered to be excessively compliant and risk-averse with a propensity for routine.“ 62Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon. Schischkoff quotes Alfred Weber, who refers to the functionary as the “fourth man”; a specialist, whose ambition drives him to “identify with his functions, even if he has been forced upon by foreign will. As a consequence, the personality is split into a functionary’s character and a … residual person, with the functionary’s character being capable of performing extremely inhumane actions. Thus, Weber explains the potential for totalitarian governance.”63  Schischkoff, KW: Funktionär; s. Bibliography . I believe that if we do not consider life, with its dysfunctionalities, to be more important than functionality, we will not only hinder our lives but functionality itself, since the functionalist will react in either hyper-functional or, more frequently, non-functional and dysfunctional ways.
Entire societies may perish as a result of the prioritization of functionality and efficiency. In the same way, we will harm our patients in the long term if we believe that it is necessary to urge them towards embracing functionality as a priority. It is with dread that I think of the possibility of a future in which we merely function but no longer live our lives; merely adapting to reality rather than shaping it.


Academic Language and Academic Activities

“… I believe that everything, even the best, becomes one-sided if the opposition is lacking.”
Eugen Bleuler to S. Freud

The ordinary people will hardly understand theology, psychology and psychiatry. This can be compared to the sentiments of a participant of a psychological or theological discussion about the human being, who has the sense that “These people are speaking also about me as a human being and yet I cannot understand them.” But in matters of theology, psychology and psychiatry, we do not discuss specific issues such as in debates about astrophysics but matters which affect us all. However, these kinds of discussions are often held in attitudes that are closed to the general public, in particular to those affected.
Certainly, certain technical terms are necessary, but many are avoidable, and the connection to the grassroots, to the people, would not be lost if one “looked the people in the mouth” more often, as Luther did, or followed Einstein’s advice: “Wise is he who says hard things simply.”  Or as Manfred Bleuler aptly said to students: “Psychiatry is simple and human in its essence. With a healthy mind, a little experience of life, and a warm heart, its fundamentals are easy to grasp. Everything that seems complicated to you in psychiatry is not so important, and often it is merely expressed in an exaggeratedly complicated way.”
Many of the published papers in this field are biased, as evidenced by the following statistic: Though 99% of all studies with positive results for antidepressants are published, this is only the case for studies with a negative result in 26%.
The important issue here, however, is not only to establish one’s independence of the industry or other interest groups; what is at stake, rather, is the internal independence of the individual doctor or psychotherapist. Whoever wishes to have a career in today’s world needs to publish a large number of papers. Thus, at one time, innumerable articles describing the effects of psychotropic drugs were published but, a few years later, it is amazing to read that a team of researchers could not tell the difference between the effects of placebos and antidepressants in terms of mild to moderate depression.”64Both bibliographical references in H. Schauenburg, Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 2009.

Concerning the academic activities undertaken within psychological departments, see G. Vinnai’s criticism in: “Die Austreibung der Kritik aus der Wissenschaft: Psychologie im Universitätsbetrieb” (The Expulsion of Criticism from Science: Psychology in University Departments) – also for `Fragen an die Neuropsychologie´(Questions for Neuropsychology), see the unabridged German version, and in section Neuroscience in psychotherapy. 


There is not one philosophy of idealism but many diverse trends that have this in common: the “perspective that considers objective reality as being determined by idea, spirit and reason, and even regards matter as an outward form of the spirit.“ 65According to Schischkoff, KW Idealismus (Idealism) .
At present, idealist positions only feature marginally within the sciences. Therefore, idealism as an opposite standpoint to materialism shall only be mentioned briefly here. Esotericism and spiritualist currents settle here. Idealist and humanist trends are commonly (→) anthropocentric and imply (→) Belief in progress. (For more details, see the relevant section.)

Materialism and Idealism

• Juxtaposition in key words

Materialism versus idealism
          positive: more concrete, `real´, provable and demonstrable, clearer, more down to earth
           negative: too nearsighted, flat, sterile, too-heavy resp. lack of advantages of idealism.
Idealism versus materialism
          positive: more far-sighted, more imaginative, more soulful, more intuitive
          negative: more abstract, world-fugitive, aloof 66E.g. → Concrete Examples (Hölderlin, Nietzsche…  or lack of advantages of materialism.

While the human being in the “flatland of materialism” (Franz Werfel) has no height,
the idealist tends to lose his grip on the ground.

• Materialism ↔ Idealism
They are in opposition. But they are only opponents at first glance, they are also conditional on each other. In the history of ideas one often finds how both worldviews alternate.
See also → Interplay of opposing sA as ideologies in part II Metapsychiatry.


I will examine two overlapping definitions as a basis for this section 67This section discusses the so-called idealist humanism. With regard to `materialist humanism‘, the points made in the section on `Materialism’ are also valid here.
• Humanism “points to … an ideal image of a person, who can freely develop their personality based on an all-rounded theoretical and moral education.” 68, 2013. (2016 editon is no longer available).
“Humanism … is a well-reflected anthropocentrism‎, which starts from our human consciousness and focuses on the appreciation of the human person …” 69According to Schischkoff, KW ` Humanismus‘ (Humanism). 
Anthropocentric Worldview can be considered to be a connecting element of old and new approaches [of humanism].“ 70Wikipedia KW Humanismus, 1/2016. See also `Humanismus´

Forms of Humanism

Goethe´s Humanism
A. Keyserling characterizes Goethe’s humanism as follows: “It is not the work nor the fruit but rather, the process of bringing fruit that is how the entelechy develops … The development of the personality through objectification and shaping of the original disposition was Goethe’s way of life … The famous novel, Faust, comes to an end with the words `Whoever strives with all his might, that man we can redeem´.” 71Taken from: Arnold Keyserling, in: 3/2016.
Goethe has, according to W. Leppmann, the “educational ideal of an autonomous person who completes himself or herself.”72 Wolfgang Leppmann: Goethe und die Deutschen – Vom Nachruhm eines Dichters. W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1962, p 193. C.G. Jung expressed a similar viewpoint with regard to `individuation´.73 See also my criticism of the absolutization of individuation and maturation, loc. cit. → Individuation

Immanuel Kant explains the categorical imperative as an ethical behavior that one must “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” Is Kant’s categorical imperative a misguided absolutization of duty and reason? Indeed, I think so.
Here are several typical quotes. Kant: “Duty! Thou sublime and great name which … demands submission …” 74Friedrich Kirchner in: 3/2016.
Kant calls for “a religion of reason, the principles of which are based purely upon reason …” For Kant, God himself is a necessary `postulate´ of practical reason, however, this statement does not involve belief in the ‘objective reality’ of the same … `The true, sole religion contains nothing but laws … on whose unconditional necessity we can become conscious and which we therefore recognize as revealed through pure reason (not empirically).“ 75Wikipedia 2/2014.

Present-Day Example Rudolf Kuhr: “Humanism … is a means and an end in itself, and urges a person to work upon themselves like no other orientation. Therefore, since this is arduous, most people, thus far, have chosen a religion that promises them salvation through an external agent, as does Christianity … (It) misleads a person to deal with their inner conflicts outside of their own person. Thus, they ask God for help (God is with us!), rather than solving their own conflicts with the aid of psychology … The human person is the problem of other human persons and the world – and also the solution.”76 Rudolf Kuhr: Warum ich kein Christ bin; In: 2/2014. Critical question: If Mr Kuhr had a daughter who was terminally ill – would he say the same thing to her? I sincerely hope not.

Criticism of Humanism

This is understood to be the criticism of the anthropocentric, secular humanism, which is, as such, the foundation of the predominant psychotherapies.
Such humanists have substituted God¹ with a super-ego (+sA “Humanum”), which is less loving than the +A (God¹); indeed, one which will even, on certain occasions, deal mercilessly with people.
If humanity is the final instance, what is with my inhumanity, which also exists?
If human reason is the final instance, what shall I say about my irrationalities? Could they be integrated, or do they need to be repressed, dissociated or even opposed? Secular humanism demands too much of a person, since it must label that which is inhumane and evil as taboo, must dissociate from it and oppose it. Since the inhumane and evil is inherent in human beings, however, and can only be partially but not principally “conquered”, an unsolvable conflict arises within us, which may have potentially bad effects if we take humanism too seriously.
The philosopher John Gray criticizes this form of humanism, believing the fundamental conviction of humanists, the history of humankind as a history of progress, to be a superstitious belief. “Humanists say: Whilst the goal might be presently unattainable, we can nevertheless head towards it. These are siren songs … Every perceived progress is ambivalent. One can accumulate knowledge but not ethical improvements … The increase in knowledge increases a person’s power, for better or for worse … Self-determined life is a modern fetish. Whoever means to change the world through will-power, comes dangerously close to terrorism in the name of reason or of the common good, as shown by the Jacobites during the French Revolution or the Bolsheviks under Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin …“77 The magazine “Der Spiegel” in conversation with John Gray: DER SPIEGEL, taken from 9/2010
In my opinion, we are not to `bid farewell to humanism´, as recommended by John Gray’s book of the similar title but to take our leave of its absolutization, which is however only possible if that which is inhumane, aggressive, evil, egotistical or any other negative aspect of a person (of which we all bear within ourselves) is not made out to be a mortal sin, nor considered to be unpardonable, and thus made into the fundamental cause of an illness. This is only possible however if one embeds the humanist ideology into a larger, more comprehensive structure, which is able to integrate and compensate for these negative qualities of humankind, without applauding them as being good. This more comprehensive structure could most readily be called love. Then, however, one now encounters the problem that human love will be absolutized and overextends the human being and may then harm people. If we had previously postulated the necessity to be humane and progressive, we are now condemned to be full of love and forgiveness. In my opinion, without an authority which transcends the human person, thus without a transcendent, loving authority, which I have also termed +A (God¹), every other mindset becomes an absolutized ideology and therefore, at best, suboptimal.

Humanism and Christianity

Relevant for both are the following values: Human dignity and the fundamental rights of all humans; equality before the law, protection from despotism, freedom of religion and conscience – these are values that are anchored in the Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.
However: “For many centuries, the Christian churches were guided less by the belief in human dignity but more by sin … Only the baptized, dogmatically orthodox Christian was deemed to be worthy to be granted dignity. But heresy, unbelief or heathenism was deemed to invite any kind of persecution, torture and inhumane treatment. It was only the Renaissance, humanism and the Reformation which brought human dignity back to the fore … This fostered the modern idea of the human rights: Every person is worth more than their achievements. Whilst he may himself violate his dignity, no state or church power may deny him of this. It must always be understood that there is a difference between a person and their actions.”78 Evangelischer Erwachsenenkatechismus s. Bibliography p  368/ 371.
So what is the difference between humanism and Christianity? Humanism is anthropocentric. The Christian message is, at the same time, anthropocentric and theocentric. Whilst love and humanism are very important amongst us humans, they are yet imperfect and require the love of God¹ in our midst. According to humanism as an ideology, the divine humanism is irrelevant. Humanism must make do with the human humanism, for which the humane becomes the last authority, although it is problematic in itself. “The Christian message not only contains the divine challenge to love our neighbour, … but, above all, the assurance of unconditional divine love and forgiveness … The Christian faith relativizes moral conduct. This means that God¹, the gospel, is stronger than the law; grace is stronger than our sin; and we are liberated from the compulsion to be good. And yet, though the radical commandment of love will still ensure that one can never be satisfied with one’s achievements, it does not signify that the value of a person is dependent upon that which they have accomplished for society [dependent upon a person’s humane attitude].”79 Evangelischer Erwachsenen Katechismus, Gütersloh, 6. edition 2000. p. 381 [Addition by the author].
“Karl Barth said that, first and foremost, one would have to speak of God’s humanism: of God’s love for people … Secular humanisms are, effectively, dispensable. They are merely `abstract programs´ in the face of the assurance that all human beings are children of God, as it is proclaimed in the Gospels.”80 Wikipedia:  2/ 2014. However, I in no way believe secular humanisms to be dispensable. Nor I do consider them to be as dangerous as the following quotation expresses “Humanity without divinity turns into bestiality“. 81Quotation by F. Schleiermacher or Grillparzer. (This means that being human without dependence upon God, will lead to the human person becoming an animal). The French Revolution may serve as an example of this. This would seem to mean that an absolutized humanism, which permanently suppresses all that is brutal and evil in a person, may degenerate into `bestiality‘, since it is precisely such a humanism which enslaves us and makes us aggressive. Expressed more generally: This absolutization of humanism leads to “hyper-humanism” (pro-position), anti-humanism (contra-position) or indifference (0-position). In each of these cases, a person is living against their human nature, since the latter is neither purely humane nor exclusively evil.

About the Anthropocentric Belief in Progress

Here, I will present just a few hypotheses:
• Belief in progress in the sense of progressivism can be found in materialism as well as in idealism.
• Humankind is not in a position to implement such an (absolutized) belief in progress.
Such ideologies of progress give rise, first of all, to utopian dreams, and then, they generate suffering.
• I believe that we, as people, can only achieve relative progress. Put more precisely: Progress is a positive Relative and bears the characteristics of the same: it is neither absolute nor negligible but diverse, incomplete, conditional, secondary and dependent (Asp. a1-a7). This also means that all these relative advances also have disadvantages. Therefore, an important question is whether the advantages or disadvantages outweigh.
• With every progress, there is the potential for its misuse – all the more so if the progress is considered to be absolute (dynamics of the pro- and anti-positions). Examples: today, one kills “better” and faster; the digital world has great advantages but also disadvantages. Medication in general, and psychotropic drugs in particular, can alleviate much suffering; however, they are also greatly abused etc.
• Therefore, belief in progress in an appropriate form would neither be progressivism, nor not any faith in progress but it would depend upon the type of progress made and the sacrifices made for the sake of progress, etc.
• Medical progress, the objective of which is merely the prolongation of life or recovery at any price, would be as questionable as analog technical progress at any cost.
• Anthropocentric attitudes feature a form of belief in progress which necessitates the possession of a humane and sensible mind. However, we are not always humane and sensible, as mentioned before (nor do we always wish to be so). They appeal one-sidedly to the ego strength of a person but we are often weak and, at times, powerless. We should emancipate ourselves, individuate, and finally grow up and take on responsibility. However, we are and often remain dependent, immature and afraid of certain responsibilities and commitments; and, at times, this may well be the most appropriate option.


Religions and Spiritual Movements


Religions are the strongest spiritual powers since they focus on that which is unconditional, absolute. This is why they can have exceedingly positive but else, in the case of their abuse in particular, extremely negative effects. All world religions have a basic tendency to favor that which is humane. (KW “world ethos”, H. Küng).
I have compiled the points which seem to be important to me, concerning the three world religions, in the following table: 82The following description of the most important religions necessarily only includes that which seems to me personally most essential for our topic. In addition, there are diverse directions in all religions, which for reasons of space I will disregard at this point.


Revelation /
Holy Scriptures
   Quran is to be taken literally
   since it came directly from Allah.
 The speeches of Buddha   New Testament, which is not in itself holy but depicts God/ Jesus .
Declared byMuhammadBuddhaJesus

Salvation through:

Allah / one’s own actions

One’s own actions, self-salvation

Jesus and one’s own request
Must /
“Five pillars”: declaration of faith
(5x /day) prayer, alms-giving, Hajj.
Every action generates karma, bad karma needs to be worked off.Free will
Accession through:1x saying the declaration of faithArguably freeVoluntary, unconditional.
Officially: Through baptism. *
Quit by:Barely possible,
at times the threat of death penalty.
Arguably freeFree
Life after deathVery worldly ideas,
not very attractive for women.
(for me, too stressful) Finally Nirvana (for me, too deindividualizing)
Eternal and good.
AdvantagesIn principle, humanistic and caring.In principle, humanistic and caring.Jesus as the one who redeems and provides orientation. There is no coercion and the guidance is good. All people have the same and greatest value; God loves all people. Free “attitude toward Absolute”. Whatever is regretted can be forgiven.
DisadvantagesAllah is too far away, too arbitrary.
A person’s right actions are too important, this is too demanding. There are some aggressive statements in the Quran.
Not enough equality.
There is no God, little support,
a person’s right actions are too important; this is too stressful.
Seemingly, a disadvantage: one’s own good works have only relative significance.
* I myself do not consider this to be compulsory. See e.g. Jesus’ assurance given to the criminal, who was crucified with him and who was probably not baptized, that he would “be with me in paradise today”.
    A Story

Three brothers [representing the three monotheistic religions] set forth to seek their fortune. After a few years, they meet up again.
The first one reports: “I am the king of a kingdom full of order, with 700 rules and God is with me.” The second one says: ”I am the king of a kingdom with a world-spanning idea of social justice and the sovereignty of God on this earth.” The third brother says: “I live in the kingdom of love.” 83One could also apply this story to behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis or metatherapy.
It is good that the choice is free. None of the three can prove that life is best in his land. I would personally move to the land of the third brother.
Suggestion: Read the Old Testament, the Quran and the biography of Muhammad, and the New Testament and the biography of Jesus – and then assess.

About Islam

 Islam means submission to the will of God. At the center of the process of salvation is the Quran. The Quran is regarded as the literal revelation of Allah to Muhammad mediated by the Archangel Gabriel (“Dictation Understanding” of the Quran). In addition to the Quran, the Sunnah (see below) plays an important role. 84According to and, 2017.
Islam specifies five fundamental duties that all Muslims have to adhere to and which constitute the `pillars´ of their faith =
the “Five Pillars” of Islam:85© 2004 Islamisches Zentrum München.

      1. Belief in Allah and the profession of this faith.
      2. The five daily prayers.86The 1st and 2nd are to be spoken in Arabic.
      3. Charitable giving to one’s fellows.
      4. Fasting during Ramadan.
      5. The pilgrimage to Mecca.

Polygamy is permitted. Muhammad had nine wives. He consummated his marriage with his third and favorite wife, Aisha, when he was himself over 50 years old, and she was 9 years old.87Aus:, 2014. In his lifetime, he has executed many of his opponents. “Family law (marriage, divorce, custodianship) is strictly regulated in favor of the man.”88 Großer Brockhaus, KW Islam. “On Judgement Day, he (Allah) will judge people: Unbelievers will face hellfire and believers will be promised the umbrageous paradise with its virgins (Huris) … The Quran attempts to cover all spheres of life by way of legal regulations.“ 89Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon, KW Islam. “The jihad constitutes an important Islamic principle of faith, as it is one of the fundamental commandments of the Islamic faith and a duty imposed upon all Muslims. Some Sunnite scholars add the jihad to the five pillars of Islam as a sixth.”90 Wikipedia:  1/ 2016. In different, relevant writings, “jihad” has different meanings: armed struggle (primarily against `unbelievers´ and apostates) or merely peaceful effort. Those termed “unbelieving” are all those who do not believe in Allah and Muhammad.


• That which I perceive to be positive in Islam is as follows:
The strong social aspect; in particular, caring for the poor and weak.
The depiction of a God who is, overall, benevolent towards people.
The fact that Allah is often portrayed as the “merciful”.
There is an idea of a good life after death (though admittedly, it does not quite correspond with mine).
• The following points are somewhat more elusive or even negative, from my perspective:
It´s difficult for me to imagine that I can regard myself as a likeness of Allah, or that Allah descends from heaven and serves me or that Allah on the cross dies for me.
In Islam, those who profess another faith, as well as those who live with no faith or according to an alternative lifestyle, such as atheists and homosexuals, are excluded. I cannot imagine that I would be loved by Allah if I believed in other gods, or that he would forgive me if I converted from Islam to Christianity. Neither I can imagine that Allah would wish that I shall love my enemies.
In my view, the role of women in Islam seems to be overly negative.
Often, believers are called to join the “jihad” (which might mean holy war after all?).
For me, Allah is a God who is too remote and arbitrary.
In Islam, people die for Allah; in Christianity, it is the opposite – Jesus dies for people.
I feel that there are too many demands, too little freedom and too little right to self-determination in this religion. Leaving the religion carries, at times, the threat of death.
Whenever I read the Quran, I find comforting verses – as I do when reading the Old Testament – but I also find a great deal that frightens me, since, from the viewpoint of the Quran, I would have to be regarded as an “infidel”. (See e.g. Sure 2: 24, 89, 190-193; Sure 8: 12, 55; Sure 47: 4, 10 and other verses targeting “infidels”.) 91See Abdel-Samad, Hamed: Der Koran – Botschaft der Liebe, Botschaft des Hasses. Droemer, München, 2016. Jesus however, does not frighten me, nor does he frighten people of other faiths and no faith. 92This is true, excluding some sayings that I believe were not originally uttered by Jesus, owing to the fact that several decades have passed between Jesus’ utterances and their recording in writing. Those who spread his message were, I believe, ordinary people who, at times, also misunderstand what was being said. (More on this later). Muslims cannot have certainty of faith because of the teaching of the Quran, as opposed to Christians.
I also see Jesus as a role model example, whereas I can barely identify with Muhammad’s lifestyle, which is as “Sunnah”, the second foundation of Islam, alongside the Quran.
Ch. Schirrmacher’s opinion is expressed in the following statement: “As long as Muhammad and the caliphs’ exhortation to do battle is not declared to be invalid for all times, Islam will not be able to slough off its problems with violence.” 9/1/2015. I would like to add the following: “As long as Christian theology does not nullify appeals to fight as they are in part attributed to the Old Testament´s God and (rarely) the New Testament (Lk 19:27), Christianity will face similar reproaches.”

About Buddhism

There is no God in Buddhism. By anthropocentric means, Buddhism attempts to overcome anthropocentrism. “Buddhism teaches: Life is an endless chain of rebirths, in which good and bad deeds are worked through. The main commandments of Buddhism are: do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, do not commit adultery.”94 Michael Hamerla: 12/2011. “From a Buddhist perspective, the self is not a constant entity but rather a process which is marked by a continuous becoming, changing and passing away … Mindfulness (also consciousness, realization) is the practice of remaining entirely in the here and now, and to perceive all that is present, both clearly and consciously but non-judgmentally.” 95Wikipedia: 10/2013. “Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness, whereas  bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering. The philosophy of karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth … karma in the present affects one’s future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives – one’s saṃsāra.”96 2019. “Buddhism’s highest aim is to escape from this cycle, by not producing karma – so that our actions no longer leave a trace in the world. In Buddhism, this is termed as the entry to Nirvana.” 97Wikipedia: 10/2013.
In recent decades, Buddhist beliefs and techniques have gained greater significance in some psychotherapist schools of thought.

    “The journey is the destination”

The motto: ‘The journey is the destination‘, which plays a special role in Buddhism, could be a motto for many other worldviews; where personal fulfillment, Individuation (C. G. Jung) and also, for society: where progress, growth etc. become the prevailing maxims. In my view, these are programs of self-redemption which will not grant peace of mind to an individual. Do not most worldviews come down to a compulsion to reach a certain goal?
What happens if the person cannot progress further, or even retreats when he is pushed back, whilst the maxim that he must proceed along a certain path remains in his heart? Does he not fall into despair? Now, one could say that even if he retreats, he will remain on the path. Whilst this is true, he must, at the very least, attempt to proceed. At times, however, this is not possible, since there are occasions when one is utterly powerless and cannot see the way forward.  → Chr. Morgenstern: “He who does not know the destination cannot have the way”.
Perhaps, this problem becomes particularly prominent at an advanced age, when one finds, as I am now discovering, that one has not grown any wiser, even though one may have developed intelligence and gained experience. Keyword: Here too, whenever the path has been followed to its conclusion, we encounter the problem of the so-called `pilgrims’ death´.

    Harmony and the equilibrium of the soul as a goal in Buddhism, and also in Chinese philosophy, these goals play an important role. Of greatest importance here, is the equilibrium and harmony between two forces which are juxtaposed as polar opposites and yet dependent upon one another in the commonly used symbol: Yin-Yang ☯. 98(For details, see M. Lurker, Wörterbuch der Symbolik). 


   • The positive aspects of Buddhism, in my opinion, are as follows:
It appears to be undogmatic and peaceable.
It advocates the overcoming of greed, hatred and delusion (three “mind poisons”).
It highly rates the inner life of a person (practice of meditation).
It does not shy away from calling people’s suffering by name.
It speaks of a perspective beyond death; earthly life is not all that there is. 99The Christian standpoint not to attribute absolute significance to earthly things, seems to be quite similar to the main objective in Buddhism to reach Nirvana. In contrast, in the Christian religion, however, it is about giving the earthly only a relative meaning and thus not dependent on it.
I see a parallel between the character of that which is second-rate (WPI²), as described above, and the Buddhist teaching regarding the Ego-illusion and the illusion of reality.
   • The following points, in my opinion, are elusive, or even negative:
There is no loving God (anthropocentrism).
As a philosophy, which is what Buddhism really is, it is too pessimistic.
Ultimately, a person must redeem themselves. Their way of life determines their karma in the next life, which, depending upon the respective school of thought, might occur – as in the case of bad karma – by way of rebirth as an animal, demon or another being.
The number of reincarnations and the permanent requirement to exert great effort, would overexert myself entirely. The prospect that the essence of a person is dissolved in the Nirvana is negative, in my opinion. 100This is contrary to the Christian faith, which promises a liberation and confirmation of one’s individuality. The continuous striving for equilibrium would, for me, be tantamount to walking the tightrope; in terms of dealing with my aggression, the permanent pursuit of harmony would suppress my aggressions too much.


“In its nature, Hinduism is polytheistic and knows many gods … In the `one godhead in three forms´ (Trimurti), the three main gods are united: Brahma represents the creative principle within the universe, Vishnu the maintaining and preserving, and Shiva the destructive principle. Alongside the main gods, there are innumerable other gods associated with Hinduism, of which many are only venerated locally … The belief in reincarnation is common to the Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The type of reincarnation depends upon the nature of the karma, i. e. the moral qualities of the actions undertaken in the past. It was from this belief in reincarnation that the Indian idea of an individual’s salvation from the cycle of existence arose (samsâra), whereby one achieves salvation from the endless return of death and rebirth. 101
Serie – Weltreligionen (2): Die vielen Gesichter des Hinduismus; and
Michael Hicke: (no date provided).

In my opinion, this religion, like other religions discussed above, also contains too many preconditions for my essential selfhood. The caste system in India, which has not yet been overcome, was promoted by Hinduism.

Esoterism and Similar Ideologies

Here, esoterism represents various spiritual, non-Christian movements. M. Poehlmann formulates the reasons for their increase: “Numerous ideological movements are making an effort to restore the unity of worldview and religion, of reason and faith, which had been lost in the context of cultural secularisation. In their aspiration to provide a relevant interpretation of the meaning and universal validity, they resemble the religions.” He further regarding esoterism: ”The person is perceived to be a potentially spiritual being, whose inner core is divine, which is the motor and impulse for the spiritual evolution. Esoterism searches for methods and practices which enable higher knowledge, expansion of consciousness and spiritual growth.”102 M. Pöhlmann in: Evangelische Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen (EZW); 2011. Esoteric ideas and practices are very important, first and foremost, to spiritual healers but also to some psychotherapists. For me, as mentioned above, they constitute an antithesis to the scientific orientation of official psychotherapy and make up for its deficiencies, albeit with many superstitious concepts. One could view them as fulfilling a similar function to the retreat into imaginary worlds of fantasy and media.

About Christianity

In this religion, I feel best. If we imagine people who – ideally – trust that they are deeply protected, that they are unconditionally lovable and everlasting and that everything Relative has only a relative meaning – what can destroy these people? How much easier they will overcome their emotional crises! How many expensive defense and fulfillment mechanisms will become superfluous? If we believe we are redeemed, we are beloved for our own sake; If we trust that we have permission to be who we are, we would no longer need +sA and not be afraid of ‒sA. 103There is a danger however, that those affected might believe that one’s health only depends on one’s strength of belief and, vice versa, that one’s illness is indicative of one’s lack of faith.

D. Claessens and Erik Erikson have described the importance of a `basic trust´.104Dieter Claessens: Familie und Wertsystem, [1962], 4th edition, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1979.
Erik H. Erikson, Der vollständige Lebenszyklus, Frankfurt am Main 1992.

Basic trust develops through love (in religious terms: God). Almost all famous psychotherapists, including S. Freud, Eugen and Manfred Bleuler, G. Benedetti, A. Gruen, as well as others, consider love (towards the patient), or the person’s unprejudiced acceptance by others, to be the essential therapeutic attitude; resp. the lack of such love in childhood to be the determining pathogenic deficit of the patient and every good psychotherapist accepts the dignity and freedom of their patient without reservation – that is, in spite of every failure and flaw of the affected.
It is all the more surprising that, in all the literature of which I am aware, there is neither a discussion about diverse psychotherapeutic schools of thought, nor an investigation concerning the ideologies or religions behind such ideas, to see whether or not they postulate a number of preconditions, which if fulfilled, enable access to such unconditional love, such implicit self-being, and which if not fulfilled, might evoke a similar pathogenic deficit as that which is induced in childhood. As long as pure science alone is practiced, and only that which can be evidenced is valid, such a discussion cannot take place, since such basic premises as love, basic trust and God cannot be proven. They are then deemed to be irrelevant, even if they are obviously not so in practice.
But it is also important to question critically what one calls ‘Christian’.

“Christian” One-Sidednesses and Misinterpretations

  Perhaps the greatest danger to Christianity is a false church.

In note form, I will present my opinions about some of these points: 105In so doing, I will abstain from voicing some surely much needed criticisms of churches and their practices, for reasons of space. Nevertheless, I believe that churches are currently playing a relatively positive role.

• Like all people, Christians sometimes also prefer to dismiss bitter truths or to absolutize or distort a particular issue. The underlying motives may range from fear to arrogance, and are very human. The Church itself has always had a tendency to absolutize overadaptation, morality and even itself. Protestants overemphasize achievements, free church members overemphasize a literal understanding of the Bible and conversion and, in general, Christians tend to devote themselves entirely to the service of others and disregard self-love. Self-denial is preached instead of self-love. After decades in the Church, I have only heard one sermon about the meaning of self-love but several hundred others that we should do more for our fellow human beings. The ideal Christian – so the message seems to go – must be pious, diligent, altruistic, moral, virtuous and somewhat asexual; and he must not, no matter what the issue, be aggressive or angry. Fortunately, the list of requirements, as far as I can ascertain, has been reduced; possibly because people were leaving the Church, sensing that the proclaimed message was burdensome and no longer liberating.
• Often, this erroneous attitude exists amongst Christians: Many sins can be forgiven except those which have been deliberately committed. In other words, evil actions which were committed unwittingly can be forgiven but not that which was committed in full consciousness.
• Some believe that every evil person will go to hell, since the Church has taught this doctrine at times. Jesus however, died for sinners and the first person to whom he promised entry into heaven was not a good person but a criminal – the very one who was hanging on the cross next to Jesus. (A similar message can be found in the parable of the prodigal son.)
• Church is either equated with God¹ or else, confused with religion.
• Christianity is equated with humanism and pacifism. Whilst Christianity is humanistic and peaceable, it does not absolutize these values. This is why even the “evil” and aggressive parts of humankind can be incorporated into a person.
• Misunderstandings occur when terms are mentioned such as: `humility´, `selflessness´, `giving up the self´ (see also the section concerning the Self).
• Discipleship is regarded as being imperative.
• Faith in God is absolutized. (Even by Luther?) Or else, belief in God becomes a performance. I believe that the basic will to do good, already constitutes that which is absolute from humankind’s perspective. (See also: `The absolute attitude´,`Absolute and relative will´)
• The attempt to prove God, since his credibility, by itself, does not seem sufficient.
• The belief that if we were to only believe and pray enough, all hopes for good would be fulfilled (health, peace instead of war etc.), purporting that: “A person who is ill has not enough faith.”
• The opinion: “God has died for us” or “God has sacrificed his son for us so that we might live.” These are concepts which are prone to be misunderstood since God has neither committed suicide nor killed Jesus. I believe that both are still alive.
• The belief that God regulates everything.
• The belief that Jesus can only be understood under certain conditions, for instance, when one has the right kind of faith, or when one knows the Old Testament etc.
• Overuse of the term `holy´: Many Christians call things to be holy such as: the Holy Land, a holy people, holy men and women, holy father (the Pope), holy Scriptures etc. – but they have been only sanctified of God, they are not holy in themselves. I believe, only God is holy.
• The opinion that the Bible is (as is the Quran) to be taken literally (biblicism). In connection with this is the following point:
• All Bible verses are considered to be of the same importance: The Old and New Testament, the gospels and the epistles, etc. I have little doubt that Paul would “rend his garments“ if one places equal value on his statements, as on those made by Jesus. The sequence of credibility is for me the following: the Holy Spirit or Love > the New Testament (statements made about, and by, Jesus in the gospels) > experience > reason > Paul and other epistles > the Old Testament.  Similarly, there is no clear distancing from other, similarly-toned, and much more frequently occurring passages in the Old Testament.

When prioritizing criteria of importance, the reasons why I placed Jesus’ utterances, as they have been handed down, beneath the criterion of Holy spirit or love, are the following:
By no means were Jesus’ disciples always guided by the Holy Spirit but rather, they did things which blatantly contravened the directions given in other verses (e.g. Peter dealt with Ananias and his wife Sapphira in such a hard-hearted way that both died, simply because they had kept a little of the money which they were to give to the fellowship, Acts 5:1–11). It is instances such as these which give us an insight as to why the disciples and their successors have handed down some of the teachings of Jesus in an other spirit. Therefore, one should be somewhat skeptical towards the Bible verses which do not seem to correspond to this spirit of love. However the “spirit of love” is, in no way, always a comfortable one!

• Church does not dare to correct some questionable Bible verses attributed to Jesus, despite the fact that they clearly contradict his messages found in other verses, and that they have always been a bone of contention. In particular, there are four passages in Matthew’s gospel (Mt 8:12; 18:8ff; 22:13; 25:41) and in Luke’s gospel 19:27, which appear to be threats rather than statements that are in accordance with love.

Scholars have been hesitant to remove or mark as questionable some derogatory remarks made by Paul about women, such as “women should remain silent in the churches”, or verses discussing the “works of the flesh”, of which we are told that those who practice such things will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Gal 5:19ff; Rom 1:28ff; Tit 1:10ff). These statements are not in keeping with the spirit of Jesus and have caused a lot of damage. (KW: verbal inspiration, the inerrancy of the Bible).

• Some people consider themselves to be Christians and misuse the name of Christ. In the name of God, wars are fought, people are oppressed etc. (Keyword: `Christianism’). Sadly, it is not often taken into consideration that the wolf in sheep’s clothing is a wolf and not a sheep, and that not everyone who calls himself Christian is actually a Christian. How often do we hear the argument that it was the “Christians“ who were responsible for the crusades, the inquisition etc. However, such “Christians“ cannot claim that they were acting on the authority of Jesus, who even challenged his listeners to love their enemies; whilst in some religions, using force against one’s enemies and against `infidels´ is not at all excluded.
• Some claims sole representation, in the sense that experiencing God and finding the truth can be found only in Christianity; or else that salvation comes solely through faith in Jesus Christ. By way of contrast, others believe that all religions have the same value (theological pluralism). I have personally found the greatest amount of love within Christianity (this corresponds, roughly, to the attitude of `inclusivistic theology´).

Christian Fundamentalism, Religionism

Christian fundamentalists demand Christians have to be  Bible-believing and practicing, have to be born-again and converted.106According to a cartoon found at the Convention of the Evangelical Church: Kirchentag München.
They think that one has to pray in a particular way, with a particular frequency; one has to take the Bible literally and to adhere to other imperatives – which ultimately amount to self-redemption. “It is only we who are chosen and redeemed – the others are not so!”, is their belief. Here, Christian fundamentalism approximates other fundamentalisms.

Criticism of Religion

In the following, the main focus will be a criticism of the Christian religion (for the main sources, please see footnote)

107; and Weinrich, Michael: Religion und Religionskritik; Göttingen, 2. edition 2012.

Brief remarks made by myself are denoted by the use of a cursive font and placed in square brackets: [ ].

Well-Known Critics of Religion

Ludwig Feuerbach (1804 – 1872)
– God is a projection of the human mind. Feuerbach calls for us to remove the projection and to re-appropriate the energy which has thereby become available for the humanization of humanity.
[One cannot prove that God or love is a projection. However, one can also not prove that the opposite is the case. If in doubt, I prefer to believe in the better.]
– Religion is consolation in the beyond, (escapism). [Comments, see below.]
Development of the projection of ​​God according to Feuerbach: the suffering of the individual → the wishes of the individual (happiness, fulfillment) as well as the instinct of self-preservation and imagination → Projection: God.
 __________________________________________________ ____________

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)
– Refers to Feuerbach’s theories, religion is a creation by people, religion is simultaneously an expression of the hardship of people and a protest against this hardship.
– Religion causes people to be passive and therefore to suffer misery = “opium for people”
– This passivity serves to benefit those who possess, as well as the powerful.
[However, Jesus stirred people up and found harsh words to use against those who have and the powerful.]
– Marx calls for a better distribution of possession within society (communism), which would obviate the need for religion and it would automatically disappear.
[This ideology has already failed.]
__________________________________________________ ____________

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)
– The natural and historical sciences have rendered religion implausible.
– Christianity calls for a “slave morality”.
[Human being however, was made in the image of God and Jesus condemned the absolutization of morals, the “law”.]
– The will of humankind should replace God. 
[See the section concerning ` absolute attitude‘.]
– The “death of God” – is a lengthy process, in which God dies out in the conscious mind of humankind. I do not believe that this will happen.]
– Nietzsche believes that by overcoming religion man has the chance to become a “Beyond-Man” (“Übermensch”), with new creative abilities.
[Inmy opinion, this is a utopian belief in progress; it is also prone to misunderstanding and open to abuse → NS-ideology.
In part, this criticism of Nietzsche is valid: Where are the redeemed Christians?] 

__________________________________________________ __________

Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939):108In Original: S. Freud: Gesammelte Werke, Band 7, p  129­, 139; Band 14, p 323, ­380; Band 15, p  170­,197
– Religion is similar to a childhood neurosis: the relationship between the child and its parents is like the relationship between the individual and God.
I think the comparison is correct but not in a pathological sense because even as an adult I am sometimes like a child and I am glad to hope that God will comfort me like a mother.]
– Man suffers from blows of fate over which he has no control. He personifies these as “God.” → Emotional Relief. [That seems to make sense to me.]
– Religion hinders an individual’s development into an adult, since he or she can always blame the supernatural for everything that happens to him or her.
[In my opinion, this only applies to misunderstood religiosity. Christian religion accepts childlike aspects of us. We would be overstrained if we always had to act as adults.]
– He calls for the growing maturation of personality of the individuals, so that they can take responsibility for their own lives.
[See also my criticism concerning ` Individuation.]
– Education to reality is necessary, to assessing the reality of the external world and acting upon it accordingly
See sections concerning `realism´ and functionalism, within the chapter about `Criticism of Materialism´.]


Dawkins et al.
• In his book “The God Delusion”, R. Dawkins suggests that many ills in the world are caused by religion. “Imagine … a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as ‘Christ killers‘, no Northern Ireland ‘troubles’ …“.109 See bibliographical references.
1. There are, no doubt, religions that promote aggression and refuse to renounce violence. Dawkins would need to differentiate more clearly. 2. Not everyone who calls himself a Christian is a Christian. 3. Even a peace-loving religion can be misused.]
• Even some of the statements contained in a new textbook about psychotherapy and psychosomatic medicine, published in 2008, are entirely undifferentiated and theologically insupportable, from which the following extract is taken: “In the tradition of the Christian and … Jewish religion, ever since their expulsion from paradise, humankind has been bent on doing evil since his youth. Following the pattern of original sin, he does evil, even though he knows to do good, as Paul indicates, and must expect God’s punishment in return. He or she can only confess that they are sinners, attempt to do good and hope that God will redeem them. Topics such as sin, the expectation of punishment, the fear of punishment, the hope of forgiveness and salvation are implanted within occidental people groups and play a particularly decisive role in the case of mental disorders. Also, Christianity demands that we deny ourselves the satisfaction of our drives, and, in particular, to endure the actions of others as followers of Jesus, instead of being aggressive; Christianity demands not to take revenge upon attackers but rather, to love our enemies. Human virtues such as poverty, humility and chastity comprehensively describe the renunciation of instincts.” 110G. Rudolf and P. Henningsen, taken from: Psychotherapeutische Medizin und Psychosomatik. Gerd Rudolf and Peter Henningsen 6th edition. Thieme Verlag 2008, p.76. What a misinterpretation! When God says we should not “sin”, it is not a threat but orientation. He also loves us when we are angry, aggressive, etc. Paul says, “Everything is allowed but not everything is beneficial” (1Cor 6:12). [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
• H. Schnädelbach even speaks of the “Curse of Christianity” and laments a devaluation of this life, a devaluation of the physical and its consequences including repressive sexual morals, celibacy and self-harm. 111Herbert Schnädelbach In: »Die Zeit«, No. 20, 11.5. 2000.

Concerning the Criticism of the Christian Religion

    1. Surely, the critics are right when they point out “Christian” or ecclesial one-sidednesses and misinterpretations including those mentioned above, as well as others.
    2. However, many critics mean a particular ecclesial doctrine and practice, or passages of the Old Testament, yet rarely discuss the person of Jesus himself. I suspect that most critics have not read the New Testament. 112Friedrich Nietzsche was probably an exception, who presented a rather contradictory and at times very positive image.
    3. a lot of people resent God or refuse to believe in him because he allows so much suffering in the world (the `theodicy problem´). However:
    a. As parents, we allow our children to cause evil and suffering, and this only goes to show the level of suffering that is caused by humankind himself.
    b. Regarding the remaining kinds of suffering (environmental catastrophes, etc.), I believe that we are all meant by `Adam´ and `Eve´,  and have decided to leave God’s paradise to do our own matter (without God), which means that we  have to live now in a world which is not perfect and full of suffering (the so-called expulsion from paradise and its consequences). 113If one followed this interpretation, the term `expulsion´ would not be accurate. Rather, one would have to speak of leaving paradise.
See also Plato’s idea that we must have been at home in a higher world before . (Quoted after Nietzsche and criticized by him).

(See: God and Evil – a New Theodicy)
    c. God is omnipotent but not active everywhere. For the reasons mentioned above, he also lets other forces act. For similar reasons, not all of our prayers are fulfilled.
    4. Some accuse Christianity of being opposed to pleasures of the body and senses (or such interpretations as are often presented by the Church).
Whilst such utterances are frequently attributed to Jesus, I cannot find them recorded in the Bible. On the contrary, the first miracle of Jesus consisted of the transformation of water into wine.
    5. Some accuse Christianity of neglecting earthly things, and instead, of consoling people with thoughts concerning the afterlife. Jesus however, was very much concerned with the improvement of our earthly lives, and, above and beyond this, opened up valuable new perspectives.
    6. Since the Church (and also Paul) often fought against reason, some believe that Jesus did the same. However, it was only the idolization of the reason that he opposed.
    7. I assume that God¹ can neither be proved nor disproved but find that this open question is not let open by most critics; rather, their own opinion is expressed in a fundamentalist fashion, similar to religious fundamentalist opinions. What is lacking is the attitude that says: “This is my belief or my experience but I could be wrong.” Rather, the beliefs of dissenting voices are discredited as “neurotic” (Freud), “delusional” (Dawkins) or “illusionary” etc. A discussion is not sought out; and the same can be said of fundamentalist religious circles.
    8. Misidentification: The ideas which people hold about God do not concur with the person of Jesus. As with everything else, the name of God can be misused for the most varied reasons.
However, in such discussions, it is rarely said that “this or that crime was committed abusively in the name of God.” As said, one should not name  the wolf in sheep’s clothing as a wolf, even if he represents himself as a sheep.
    9. Often, critics do not differentiate between the statements found in the Old and New Testament. For Christians however, it is the statements made in the New Testament that are decisive. 114Thus, when compared with other religions, the most important scripture of Christianity is identified as being the “Bible”; not the “New Testament”.
    10. Often, critics do not differentiate between the recorded utterances made by Jesus and those which are attributed to Paul. Paul however, is merely an interpreter and not Jesus himself. His assertions, therefore, are subordinate to those made by Jesus.
    11. That the individual is described one-sidedly as a sinner, is often criticized, and, on the side of the Church, there are times that this does occur. However, the saying, “we all make mistakes,” is a platitude. Nevertheless, I greatly appreciate it when someone tells me that all my mistakes will be forgiven and that they, in no way, affect my personal value. I, likewise, tell my children the same.
    12. It is often criticized that Christians believed in original sin (similar to the karma law). From Jesus, such statements are not known. 115Amongst Paul’s writings in particular, it is Rom 5:12 that is prone to misunderstanding.
    13. Some criticize Christianity for making people underage and passive.
But others give the opposite criticism: that a person is completely overwhelmed by the demands of Jesus (the Sermon on the Mount, love of the enemy, etc.).
    14. Some criticize the belief – and in my opinion rightly so – that the New Testament or even the Bible as a whole is the (direct) Word of God. Muslims also believe that this is true for the Koran, but not the Christians of the Bible. I believe that the Bible bears witness to God, but also contains statements of a very human spirit.
    15. Some criticize  – and in my opinion rightly so – the false interpretation that the death of Jesus was a necessary sacrifice to reconcile God to humankind – as if God had to be placated through the death of a person. I believe that Jesus voluntarily sacrificed his earthly life but not his heavenly life, just as I would, hopefully, sacrifice something, that I value, for people whom I love, without giving myself up entirely.
    16. Many confuse the Christian message with the Church. The Church has made many mistakes and is not identical to the Christian message. There was nothing that Jesus criticized harsher than the established Church of the time – and perhaps also the Church of today? With justification, one may pose the same question as R. Reich: Whether Christianity survived “not only because of but despite the Church”? 116Reich, Ruedi. In: Zur Ökumene verpflichtet´. Ed. by Eva-Maria Faber, Schriftenreihe der Theologischen Hochschule Chur, Vol. 3, Academic Press Fribourg, p. 41, 2003.
    17. Many believe that a Christian has to be extremely spiritual and go to church every Sunday. However, the freedom to be oneself, whoever one is – which, to me, also includes attitudes and actions that run contrary to the commandments – is over the commandments.
    18. Many believe that as a Christian one has to love one’s neighbor and sacrifices himself. But it says, “Love the neighbor as yourself.
    19. One question for the critics: If you were God yourself, what would you do differently?
Here is a general answer: I would not tolerate suffering (which would mean maintaining paradisical conditions at all costs). But what if we did not want to live in the paradise, that you, the hypothetical god, has created – even if it would be the best of all possible worlds? In such a case, would it not be good to grant us the freedom of choice, even if hardship and suffering were linked to this choice?

Criteria of suboptimal Worldviews


A worldview seems to be suboptimal (or even bad) if the following criteria can be detected:

    • it is purely anthropocentric, theocentric or atheistic;
    • it harms or sidelines people;
    • it only considers people of the same worldview to be good, and all others to be evil;
    • it represents any form of ideology;
    • it absolutizes parts of earthly life, or even earthly life as a whole, and neglects to point beyond the earthly sphere,
    • it imposes strange Absolutes upon people, thus depriving them of their freedom;
    • it baits with a reward for obedient behavior – or it taboos relative Negative and threatens with it;
    • it does not correspond with the spirit of love; and
    • it places objects above people and healing above salvation and redemption.

Comprehensively: A worldview appears less than optimal whenever it is based upon something other than the +A or when it denies or relativizes it. In such cases, the individual either has no Absolute, or a strange positive Absolute, which will give them either insufficient love or none whatsoever and sometimes may seem to be a `stressful strategy of self-redemption´. A suboptimal worldview possesses the same characteristics as second-rate realities, such as listed in columns I and K of the Summary table .


Compulsions in WorldviewsMany worldviews include preconditions that need to be fulfilled before a person is allowed to be themselves. In such cases, they do not speak of unconditional love for people but rather about an (or many) imperative(s). 117 1. Similar to the meaning commonly attributed to the word, the term compulsion mentioned above describes categorical imperatives without any alternative.
2. Ultimately, all the worldviews that I know of, except for the Christian one, impose categorical demands upon people.

    More precisely, these are worldviews or concepts that include pre-requirements, with the result that they only correspond in a limited way to the idea of unconditional acceptance and love for people – or even oppose it. Thereby, they represent only sub-optimal or even adverse foundations for life and also for psychotherapeutic measures which build upon them. In particular, these include, first and foremost, all ideologies or ideologically-founded attitudes, as well as several religions. 118See Summary table column E. As has been previously mentioned, I do not consider them to be bad or even evil in themselves but rather, to be less than helpful or even relatively unfavorable.
In such a way, a hierarchy that is advantageous for us, as people, is distorted by Inversions:
We are no longer free but rather, we have to accomplish something in order to become free. We become `must-people’. We have to do something or the big void threatens us. Referring to this issue, Georg Büchner wrote: “The MUST is one of the damning words with which humankind has been baptized.” 119It was in a letter to his fiancée, Wilhelmine Jaeglé, in January 1834, that Georg Büchner wrote this. That means even the best things in life, like love, become dubious or even bad when enforced. From a Christian perspective, one might add to Büchner’s statement: “One of the redemptive words, with which we have been baptized for all intents and purposes, is: `You do not need to do anything – God will always love you!´, `You may try the good but you do not have to do´.”

The Self-Definition of the Person is Disturbed
Materialism defines a person based on the matter. In idealism, a person is defined based on ideals that need to be accomplished. In humanism, a person’s core identity must necessarily be humane. Also, most religions have fixed and constrictive definitions regarding what is necessary to be human: In Islam, a proper person is defined as being a person who submits to Allah,120“The Arab term: Islām … means `submission (to God)´, `complete surrender (to God)´.”, 12/ 2016.
In Christianity, God devotes himself (without surrendering) to us, and a person is “defined” as having been made in the image of God – an identity which he does not lose, even when he identifies with the “sinner” that he usually is. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
amongst other attributes; and in Buddhism, the Self as an absolute personal identity dissolves into Nirvana.
Further possible disadvantages correspond to the disorders listed in
column I of the Summary table

Concepts of Self-Redemption 121See, for example, relevant concepts and programs for self-optimization, self-staging, etc.

By `self-redemption’ I mean salvation that depends exclusively on the human being – thus demands more than a basic goodwill (→`Absolute attitude of P‘) from him.
Many ideologies and worldviews link the main solutions (absolute sphere) only to the person.
The person thus becomes the sole redeemer of himself and his problems. Thereby, the person has ultimate responsibility, above and beyond the Absolute.
The person demands too much of themselves but has the deceptive feeling that he would be able to gain control of it all if only he could apply sufficient effort: Depending upon the method, we would merely need to be sufficiently analyzed, think sufficiently positively, meditate and believe etc., in order to gain health and happiness. Though a person might hope to gain control of it all one day,  he is effectively demanding too much of himself in principle. No childlike or playful aspects remain; effort, competition and struggle determine his life, and this is only interrupted by occasional highlights.
The last metaphysical support of a person thereby lies within himself. In my opinion, it would be best – and easiest – to leave the main responsibility to God; our responsibility, which is nevertheless important (!), only comes after that. 122Notwithstanding, the responsibilities connected with the so-called absolute choice do not conform to this pattern.
However, all psychotherapies which operate without a superordinate, loving authority (God¹), must necessarily place the Ego-strength (one’s own or that of another) at the center of their efforts. Up until a certain point, this is acceptable. However, what is if this Ego-strength is not sufficient to master our problems, which is often the case in existential and traumatizing situations? The affected has, in a general sense, too much responsibility concerning the Relative but which has been absolutized. Concerning other Relativa, he occasionally has too little responsibility and yet, at the same time, has no recourse to +A, which would facilitate the assumption of an appropriate level of responsibility, without demanding too much of the respective person.

• A person who achieves that which is demanded of him will have many “advantages”, primarily in the short term. Thus, as he compares himself to others, he may feel chosen, uplifted, particularly secure etc. (= “+hyper-effects”). 123Individual, potential advantages are expressed in particular in the so-called hyper-forms and can be found in the Summary table in column N under . In the long term however, the disadvantages of the sA will dominate.
• The advantages of the different worldviews correspond with the (seeming) disadvantages of a first-rate reality, or even of the +A.
• It is interesting to note that almost all of the ideologies refer to the advantages, rather than reminding us of negative `final things´ (transience and death); it is however, the religions that point to these aspects.


Optimal Worldview

        “It is entirely conceivable that life’s splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness but veiled
         from our view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though …
         if you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come.” Franz Kafka 124The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1921)

Revision of the Inversions

When I have described, in the section entitled `Metapsychiatry´, Inversions as being one of the main causes of mental illnesses, and understood these to be the confusion of the Absolute and Relative, then an optimal worldview would need to revise these inversions by establishing an actual positive Absolute (+A), which regards all that is Relative as relative and integrates it – and which, however, will not dominate P and can be freely chosen.

Is God the Positive Absolute?

                                       `God, that is the great, the crazy one, who still loves people.´
                                                    (Adapted from Kurt Marti.) 125In original , Kurt Marti writes: “God, that is the great, the crazy one, who still believes in people.” (Gott, das ist jener Große, Verrückte, der immer noch an Menschen glaubt.”

In the section `Metapsychology‘, I discussed the correlation between the Absolute and the Relative (A and R). One hypothesis asserted that the Absolute determines the Relatives. Depending upon the respective Absolute in question, that which is relative will either fare better or worse. This also means that people will either fare better or worse, depending upon the spirit that determines the earthly; and will fare best if this spirit fulfills the criteria of a positive Absolute, such as I have listed in the section`What is the positive Absolute´.
In my opinion, God¹ is the only one who satisfies all of the criteria that I apply to the +A. In this, Jesus is, for me, the most credible representative of God¹, as well as of unconditional love.
(This is my personal view of the positive Absolute, of God¹, which does not necessarily agree with some other Christian conceptions.
See `Christian one-sidednesses and misinterpretations´).
In this, Jesus is, for me, the most credible representative of God1, as well as of unconditional love. This love is revealed, first and foremost, within freedom and orientation; freedom is being placed above orientation. In other words, freedom and orientation are two descendants of love, whereas freedom is the larger, and guidance the smaller child. In religious terms, God¹, who is himself love, will also permit us the freedom to reject his orientation, even to reject himself; since love without freedom, without the freedom to choose, is not love. Therefore, examining the French proverb L’amour est l’enfant de la liberté, I believe that freedom is a child of love, and not vice versa, as the proverb claims.

God and the Individual; The Paradise and the World

God and the individual; The paradise and the world
As mentioned above, I see God¹ as being absolutely positive. It is only the absolutely negative (−A) that is entirely contrary to him. That which is earthly, our world, and therefore also ourselves, are situated between +A and −A. The individual has, as frequently mentioned, an `optional Absolute´, the ` Absolute attitude‘ but is, in all other respects, in a relative or second-rate position. What does this mean?
Originally, in paradise, God and ourselves were connected in harmony. We were his creation, as now; At the time however, we were more authentically, and not quite so – as we are now – estranged and mortal. We were a part of that which belonged to God, we were one with him – and yet, we were still absolutely free to oppose him or to vote him out. After we had done so, in the symbolic figures of Adam and Eve, and decided to be our own gods, we left the original first-rate reality and stepped into the present, a second-rate reality: the “world”. This means that we humans who were originally, directly connected with God and who thus lived in “paradise” – now live in a world in which we are controlled by strange Absolutes that we chose. We will thereby adopt a predominately second-rate position in the world, even though we have retained absolute freedom to choose, just as before. This, fortunately, means that we have not lost our connection with God but that we have entered in all other spheres a second-rate situation with its respective characteristics, as has the rest of the world and that all needs redemption. 126For characteristics of that which is second-rate, see also columns L and M of the Summary table . God does not exclude our world nor ourselves. The only thing that God excludes is the −A. It is only us who have excluded God, either in part or completely. Is God, therefore, still present in the world and in us, too? I believe it but we suppress him by our sA. The sA however, do not love the world and ourselves for our own sake! God, though, loves us for the sake of ourselves and, Jesus enables the return (`revision´) of the first-rate reality. Sören Kierkegaard seems to have been of a similar opinion if he means, that the kind of despair that is not-wanting-to-be-oneself, which constitutes a `sickness unto death´, can be overcome by becoming oneself in true faith. 127Großer Brockhaus, KW `Existenzphilosophie‘. Unlike Kierkegaard however, I do not identify the problem of not-wanting-to-be-oneself as the ultimate sickness unto death but rather, I would define it as being the absolutely negative attitude of a person, as mentioned; that is their will to embrace the −A, as a matter of principle.

No Fear of False Gods and Devils

                                             “Sin boldly but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.” (M. Luther)128Note: Luther’s statement addresses those who are too conscientious and too afraid to sin. His words are not meant for those who neither believe in God nor know responsibility.]
We should have no fear of false gods and devil

We should have no fear of false gods and devils, since, as mentioned, there is only one single absolute Negative: the unconditional –A, and it is up to us whether we want to embrace it or not. All other negativity is, ultimately, solved by God. One can only believe this, without being able to prove it, and yet one can experience it. From this perspective, there is no deadly sins, no emotional trauma, no severe illness, no misfortune, no rape, nor any death that is definitive, unforgivable or irremediable.
Does Metapsychotherapy mean that we have to avoid the sA, since they are too dangerous and might make us ill? Almost the very opposite is true: We should not consider them to be overly important, since it is when we consider them to be too important that they become a domineering factor. One might then say that it would be of the greatest importance to relativize the sA. But also the relativizing of misabsolutizations is not the most important thing. On the part of the individual, the most important solution to the problem is already accomplished when one adopts an attitude which seeks out that which is good, as a matter of principle. (→` Absolute attitude‘). It would be wise then, but not obligatory, to repeatedly remind oneself of God’s absolute assurances. The sA would then occupy their true position: a position in which they are relativized (automatically by God) and no longer carry the importance which they were given. We no longer need to draw from our depleted reserves to achieve this or that, at any cost. Rather, we would then be less stressed, more relaxed and less fearful; and from this position, we would be more likely to solve the as yet unresolved, relative problems, leaving others unresolved, without being plunged into a crisis. Christians also often forget this “meta-solution”. Then they think: “I have to pray more!”; or else “I have to think of others more!”; or “I have to be more grateful!” or “I need more faith in God!“ or “I have to improve myself!” or other imperatives. These opinions are sometimes good but when taken absolutely, they can have the opposite effect – and can end up dominating us and even making us ill.

Resistance to the “Revision”129 I mention only keywords here. For a more elaborate discussion, see chapter `Resistance´ in the section `Psychotherapy’.

• Resistance can occur in the form of fear, induced by the freedom to choose:
That which often hinders a solution is the fear of a decision and its consequences. Also after the teachings of Kierkegaard, freedom makes fear into people. Freedom is, simultaneously, the greatest gift to people and the greatest burden. Dostojewski’s grand inquisitor intended to take this fear away from people and eliminate freedom. He wished to eliminate the burden of personal responsibility, the agony of choice. 130See also: Eugen Drewermann `Sünde und Neurose´.
• Given that our power is relativized, admitting one’s limitations, weaknesses and powerlessness to oneself cause people to be frightened and develop resistance. 
• There is resistance in the fact that people often feel frightened whenever they are to rely upon something which is invisible, even if it appears credible.
• Given that changes and therapies may hurt, then resistance can develop. The birth of the Self causes pain, but, as with all other births, it is a necessary part of the process.
• There is also resistance in the form of misunderstandings, abuse and misinterpretations (as listed above).
• Although the inversions provide short-term benefits, it would be good to forego them but this creates resistance.
For more on the topic in psychotherapy, see Resistance there.

Who is a Christian?

                                                `Love your neighbor and love yourself´ or `Love your neighbor and hate yourself´?

It is common to think of a Christian as being someone who is always good and virtuous, who is rather asexual, who does not like to drink alcohol and who submits to the Pope and the Bible; someone who is self-sacrificing, and who is not only constantly required to work off and make up for their own sins but also for `original sin´; someone who has to suffer and who if they are entirely consistent, will be struck dead at the end of their life and, in return for their efforts, will be allowed to enter heaven.
    “People who believe in Jesus are no better than anyone else. However, they are in a better situation. They do not need to justify themselves, they are already justified due to Jesus’ love. They do not need to prove themselves, they have already been proven: … they do not have to make themselves bigger than they are. They are already the greatest thing that a person can become, they are children and heirs to the living God. They do not need to feel sorry for themselves, they have someone who is suffering with them. They do not need to comfort themselves, nor to encourage each other and make one another strong, they have someone who will build them up. They do not need to be the one who explains, redeems or loves their lives. They now have the best redeemer and lover of life. … They are not perfect but perfectly loved!” (Axel Kühner) 131Axel Kühner taken from Neukirchener Kalender, 18.5.2010.

Christians are people who act on the authority of Jesus Christ. They are able to experience freedom and what it is to be truly loved. Nothing can separate them from God’s unconditional love, be they alcoholics, thieves, prostitutes, tax collectors or failures. They can be aggressive, evil and egotistical; however, for their own sake, they are told that they should look after themselves and others, since, even though everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial.
Questions: Should we not, first of all, strive for heaven rather than for the next good deed?”
If I redeem myself, would I then not have too much stress? Does not the loving relationship between God and ourselves have a great similarity to the relationship between parents and their children? Are not children primarily loved for being themselves, and only after that comes the morality? 132Neither: ‘Food comes first and then morality´ (B. Brecht).

Often used Abbreviations of all Parts

+ = positive
 − = negative
¹ = first-rate or primary
² = second-rate (or secondary) not to be confused with coordinate
→ = ‘see or `result is´.
* = Sign for absolutizing and / or dominance. (Often used to point to an absolutizing.)
| = a sign that the German original version has been shortened at this point.
A = the Absolute (+A = positive Absolute, −A = negative Absolute)
All (“) = here strange everything, which stands in opposition to the nothing(ness).
asp. = aspect
BLQC = being, life, qualities, connections
C = general abbreviation for complexes that dominate personal and other areas of reality.
D = Dynamism D¹ = first-rate D., D² = second-rate D.
DM = Dimensions
DM = Defense-mechanisms
e.g. = exempli gratia (for example)
etc. = et cetera
God¹ = I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. (See also: “Christian” One-Sidednesses and Misinterpretations).
I = I in general ( I¹ = first-rate I, I² = strange I = Ego)
i.e. = id est (that is)
It = dominating entity/instance, consisting of 2 or 3 cores:
    2 parts: all and nothing (“/ 0) = `dyad’ or
    3 parts: pro-sA or + sA, contra-sA or -sA and 0 = `triad’
It/sA resp. It/sS: if I want to emphasize the absolute role of an It-part.
KW = keyword = headword
ns = new-strange/ new-second-rate (new secondary)
No. = Number
P = Person; P¹ = first-rate personality; P² = second-rate personality (often only P labeled)
pr = psychically relevant
r = relative
R = the Relative (R represents everything that is not A or 0.)
R* = Relativistic
resp. = respectively
s = strange = second-rate (²)[1
sA = strange resp. second-rate Absolute
             pro-sA and contra-sA = opposing sA.
             asA = absolutistic strange Absolute
             rsA= relativistic strange Absolute
s0 (or 0) = strange, determining nothing(ness) = nihilistic
sS = strange Self
syn. = synonym
W = World, reality
WPI = world, person, I.

[1] Discussion and definition of this term as in literature – see in` Metapsychiatry’: The strange-Self (the strange personal Absolute).


References of all parts see German Edition