Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Psychology as Religion
I finally finished reading Paul Vitz's Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship. I would love to give a detailed critique, but I have laundry to do from our trip to Ar-Kansas. (Yes, yes, I am full of justifiable excuses...)
I really enjoyed reading this book as he ambitiously covers ground in many different fields, such as education and politics. This is a great read, too, if you are interested in popular culture and the transformation of the family across the last few decades, etc. He clearly and sufficiently points out how psychology, as self-help alone, is transferred to the space originally occupied by traditional religions. He defends psychology as a science against the abuse of secular humanists. He implies that the New Age has spoiled psychology by the attempt at diluting its objective abilities. There are many quotes that I would love to pull from the text, but I'll just leave you with one.
No doubt there are some young people for whom the Rogerian self-therapy is a genuine constructive experience--for example, those reared by overly moralistic, overly critical, rigidly authoritarian parents. (I have been told that such families still exist, though I do not know any. I assume they must be close to extinction.) The great irony is that recent generations, which have so enthusiastically embraced antiauthoritarian selfism, have probably grown up with the least authoritarian parents in history. (p.110)