Pertinent Blogs on Psychology

Jesus on the Beam and Splinter

There is a teaching of Jesus that is on the same topic as that considered in the writing of Carl Jung on the shadow. Regardless of what one thinks about the Jesus question, this is the best teaching in all of psychology regarding the first or lowest level of the soul, and this ought be accessible to those on the internet. If it is not accessible, one is inclined to say, nothing of psychology can be discussed in any way in so public a forum without doing more harm than good.

The teaching, from Matthew 7:3-5 and Luke 6:32, is that of the beam and splinter. In Matthew, it follows immediately upon the teaching of measure for measure:

Or why do you see the splinter that is in the eye of your brother, but the beam in your own eye, you do not observe? Or how will you say to your brother, allow me to cast the splinter from your eye, while also not seeing the beam in your own eye? And when you will look through to cast the beam from the eye, (then too that) of your brother

Jung calls this the shadow and the projection of the shadow, where we relate to our own sin and deficiency in projection in relation to our fellows. Two pages early in the book Aion (CW vol.9 #2) might be his best discussion of the matter. The shadow is illustrated by the difficulty humans have in arguing. Conversation that aims toward learning is simply impossible for most people, because of self interest and a certain attachment to our own thoughts. This is why, as has been said, the liberal arts and the virtues of conversation have to be cultivated. It is a great error to try to talk to people who are not capable of liberal learning and conversation, but then if one were to observe what seems to be the rule to be drawn from this, we simply have almost no one ever to whom to speak. But many hours are wasted, and a great many opportunities for learning gone into the past because we have not a clue as to how to govern ourselves, nor does it occur to the vast most that such a thing is even possible. We spend our lives, ethically speaking, fighting shadows, quarreling in opposition against defects or vices in others that may or may not truly be there, while this whole way of living or relating is from the start fruitless.

A careful translation reveals many subtleties which we have tried to render by being a bit more literal. At first, from the English, I had a teaching that one cannot remove the beam from your brother’s eye, but only the splinter, and that one must remove the beam from one’s own eye, so that if the beam were to be removed from your brother’s eye, he must cast it out himself. And this may describe what we try to do fruitlessly. This meaning may well be in there, implied by what is said, but it is not quite the primary meaning of what is being said. Dia-Blepseis, to look through, is a word used also by Plato. Combined with katanoeis, this is one key. Kata-noeis, translated “perceive,” is also observe, or consider carefully.

The phrases repeated in the translations, because they are implied, are simply not in the Greek text. What is there in the Greek instead is the immediacy of the casting of the splinter from your brother’s eye upon looking through to cast the beam from the eye, and it does not even say “your” eye, but it is now suddenly the beam and eye in general. (Then, that) of your brother.

This passage  in Matthew and Luke is related to another, in Matthew 6:22(-34)

The lamp of the body is the eye. If then your eye is sound, your whole body is lit. But if your eye is bad, the whole of your body is darkened. If then the light in you is dark, how much is the darkness?…

You cannot serve God and wealth. Therefore, do not be anxious about your life…

5 thoughts on “Jesus on the Beam and Splinter”

  1. One interesting note: When I attended a Baptist reading of a certain book of scripture, I eventually had to stop going, as it became clear to others that I was not obedient sort. It was said of me- because I had painstakingly translated the entire book of the Revelation and made my own interlinear copy just to use for my own commentary- that I was “writing my own Bible,” or some such drivel. This is because these Baptists wish to assume that the King James translation is divinely inspired, and so to read the words in the original Greek as these were written by St. John, well, such disobedience, we must send this one away! I was not actually sent away, but was dishonored by a leading member, and would have had to respond in order to return. That church is dying, with no younger members at all, although there are some very good members, and they could do a great deal of good about the neighborhood. Another member, though, a very dedicated follower of Jesus, hates his neighbors the Muslims up the street, all for the love the Lord.

    One truly must wonder why these have rejected the obedience required of Catholics, causing division in the Western Church, if they are simple going to ignore Roger Williams, the first American Baptist, and impose a human authority over the church. Is it OK, then, with you’all, if we note that there is a difference between Zoa and Tharion that does not come through in the King James, etc? Or do you say here that with my translation, I am not getting closer to the original words of Jesus, but rather writing my own Bible? This is a question you’all will have to face sooner or later. For myself, I wish we could go from the Greek to the Aramaic, and from there to the Hebrew, but those who could teach us Hebrew have been despised by the Christians for two thousand plus years, so that to find some willing will be difficult.

    Again, in the Gospel of Thomas, saying 26, it is written, and translated from the Coptic:

    “Guard your brother like the pupil of your eye”

  2. Since non-wordpress users are blocked from commenting, and wordpress users do not have much to say (with just a couple exceptions), I will comment again on my own posting.

    Jesus said “If your eye is sound, your whole body is lit,” or, “full of light” (I have to work a bit more on this Greek word). Regarding the relation between intellectual and ethical virtue, Aristotle writes: “…but once he acquires intelligence, it makes a great difference in his action. At that point, the natural characteristic will become that virtue in the full sense which it previously resembled….Now, virtue in the full sense cannot be attained without practical wisdom (Ethics, VI.13,1144b12-17). “Ethical weakness does not occur in the presence of knowledge” (VII.4). Again, “A man of practical wisdom (phronemos) is ipso facto a man of good character (spoudaikos). (Translations by Martin Ostwald). What we have done is to translate the words of Jesus into the terms of Socratic philosophy, on this wonderful and beautiful point of the relation between intellectual and ethical virtue, or philosopher and King. Ethical virtue is the ordering of the passions and the body. Intellectual virtue is the goodness of the mind, and as the famous teaching of a former professor goes, “Intelligence (nous) deals with ultimates at both ends of the scale. It is intelligence, not reasoning, that has as its objects primary terms and definitions as well as ultimate particulars…Hence, one must have perception of particular facts, and this perception is intelligence” (VI.11, 1143a 35-1143b 5). Nous sees both the first principle and the one thing to be done in the particular circumstance. Nous sees the good both in thought and action, and it is “the good” that joins the things of the body and the things of the mind and soul. That is why the dualism or division in thought between body and mind is, well, limited. And need we add that this is also why the Machiavellian teaching and impulse or motivation is wrong, barbaric and wicked? He is so smart he is illiberal, or no longer a teacher of the arts that shape a free man! Aristotle is right about the body and practical wisdom, while Machiavelli is simply fundamentally wrong about the human things and the nature of the cosmos, spending all his strength against a certain artifact, a shadow and an error that results when idiots and morons get hold of the Christian teaching. They want everyone to think that the essence of the teaching of Jesus is some “world rejection” or failure to take into account the cruelty supposedly necessary in fighting wars, or some such drivel, a drivel, though, which may be worth considering with regard to the reflection of Christianity when the West makes a law out of the light, and a legislator out of the savior. One proof of what I have said is that these Machiavellians are now prepared to destroy the whole world, and could not care less, beyond their own power.

    And the Christian preachers thought Jesus was talking literally about healing the body of maladies and infirmities! Again, he does these miracles so that those seeing him might believe he has authority or liberty to forgive sins.

    But the American mind is buried in the mud of the barbaric bog, and cannot care for anything other than the body, wealth and power as a first principle. As Bloom notes too regarding our obsession with anti-smoking, all ethics has been replaced with bodily health as the one thing truly good by nature that can be publicly agreed upon amid our great self-satisfying “tolerance.”

    Hence, I am right and Joseph Campbell is wrong on the Question discussed behind the altar of the Fountain Street Church: There is both Intellectual and ethical good and right, and, unfortunately, both ethical and intellectual perversion and evil. Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Marx and now Islamic terrorism are based on intellectual perversions. The same is Satanism. Communism, Nazism, and “Islamic State” are political and ethical tyrannies based upon the modern Western intellectual perversions, and this is why they are far more wicked than the old garden varieties of tyranny, which were the rule not of “ideologies’” but of a single man.

    Let me thank the Earhart foundation and all my former professors for preventing a proposed study of Tyranny some ten years ago. God forbid this be done by one so bad at writing and spelling! We appeal, then to all those who do get jobs and grants to get us out of the present predicament, and enlighten us about the true nature of tyranny!

    Shalom and Charis!

  3. I can imagine the Baptist people would have been shocked at your audacity or lack of obeying the rules. Like you rightly said, it’s indeed one of greatest teachings of Jesus Christ. How can you judge someone else when you are not blameless?

    • Something more is being said than, for example, we cannot judge murderers. It is measure for measure, as we forgive we are forgiven, because of this mysterious thing about the human soul, that we relate to ourselves in our relations to others. Therefore love one another is the new commandment and the last teaching of St. John. And therefore the wicked are inflicting punishment on themselves when they hurt another. The immortal soul seeks self-knowledge, and that seems to be the cause of the “projection-making factor.” The natural impulse toward self knowledge is one of the deeper things revealed by this, the basis of the golden rule, when one gets to thinking about it. Otherwise, logically, the golden rule might imply that they Saints should treat others as martyrs, since that is how the saints wish to be treated- but it is not true in this way. It of course does not mean we are to pretend that there is no sin and vice, but the salutary teaching to refrain from judging at all is probably better for most people, who are not capable of ethical judgement and could not care less. How indeed could the Protestants judge well enough to leave the Catholic authority despite murder and the molestation of the altar boys? By the same judgement, we cannot follow Baptist of any other Protestant authority either, which is again only to follow Roger Williams, and Jesus, who said “Do not swear at all…

  4. Finally, I would like to return to try to bring the teaching of Jesus together with the Jungian teaching on the shadow. The shadow is first the personal unconscious, the Freudian unconscious, of the Id or unrecognized appetites or desires and repressed memories. But the projection of the shadow, as Jesus teaches, is a function of the mind, the social or political nature, and an attribute of the soul.
    Jung writes: The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge, and it therefore, as a rule, meets with considerable resistance…

    There are many proverbial difficulties and permanent, common teachings regarding the recognition of the shadow which we will collect in our chapter for the psychology book. One is that its corollary is the inflation of the ego, so that with any success at recognizing our own shadow or its projection, we congratulate ourselves, criticize the other ignorant people, and are immediately sunk deeper in the mud for trying to free ourselves.

    Another perennial teaching is that penance is a passageway or an ability we learn rather than something we are done with once and for all, forgiven and admitted into heaven. Our penance is continuous, never done, and the shadow always with us so long as we are in the sun, to be recognized or not, at different levels for higher souls, but even there for Moses. Submission and peace through submission to God is a posture, and not an artificial “sacrament” or order attained by the motions of a ceremony, let alone by submitting to a bugged confessional or the will of some radical who says submission to him is the same as submission to God. But the withdrawal and projection of the shadow are also collective in the sense that organisations and political bodies project their shadows causing wars, as Andrew McCarthy is trying to get America to do regarding Islam.

    I want to join the Jungian and Christian teaching with the three part Platonic soul from the Republic and the teaching of faction in the first book of Plato’s Republic. This will be the basis of the most accessible part of my book on psychology, the first chapter of which is available in the page titled “Psychology” on the menu of the website.

    The Prophesy of the Millstone: Sex Abuse by Priests

    …Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of those little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

    Jesus, Matthew 18:5-7

    A part of the horror of sexual abuse is that it causes the victim to sin. Our sexual function imprints deeply on our souls, and, for adolescents, their bodily motions occur apart from volition. It is the same principle here as in the saying of Paul, whoever goes to a prostitute becomes one flesh with her.” We do not believe or understand these mysteries of “sexmagic,” and so think promiscuity does not disintegrate or harm us. We would sooner listen to Konrad Lorenz about the imprinting of Ducks. The overwhelming shame that then pervades the rest of their lives can cause a split in the personality, as they can only admit the event to themselves part of the time if at all, and they become very confused due to the natural political psychological function which imagines us in a public eye.

    On NPR today, a guest on Stateside, David Clossey of S.N.A.P. was discussing the bizarre inaction of the Roman Church regarding child sex abuse. No Catholic has yet been defrocked or demoted, though there have been a couple of resignations in the U.S., and 3 who concealed abuse were gotten rid of. What the discussion did not seem to take into account is the effect of the Catholic Oath-taking on this inaction. According to Mr. Clossey, Pope Francis has been even more adept than his predecessor at PR, words of kindness and such. Everyone under him is bound by the oath from disobedience. Jesus, of course, has taught us “do not swear at all (Matthew 5:34),” but these think their keys and their “whatever you bind” business takes precedence here. (Soon perhaps the Catholics will be into bondage). We are surely now prepared to believe them about the purpose of this oath, to prevent that horrid and disreputable movement in the church to receive people regardless of who they love, and take the opportunity to teach Plato’s purified “Platonic love”- the very reason the church could not read Plato for, oh, about two millennium. No one can explain why the priests overwhelmingly abuse male children, and the public blames the teaching of celibate. The Greek Orthodox Church has two different levels of priest, the higher celibate and the lesser married. But this is not the cause. The cause is that men who needed a cloak for their unconventional lifestyles used the church to hide inside, and then like the Navy, too, they were in a convenient position, out to sea with a bunch of semen. Not that this explains pedophilia, because it also has to do with the heart getting stuck at the age to which the predator is attracted. People’s sexual stimulation follows their romantic attraction, and molestation can stick the attraction at a certain age, perpetuating cycles of abuse, even for a millennium, before some courageous soul figures it out and escapes.

    The modern world has rejected the teachings of the purity of the appetites as though the guilt inflicted were the cause of “repression,” and therefor the discontents of being civilized. This entire teaching does not take into account the depth of sin Freud was a decent fellow, though he was doin’ his wife’s sister. He simply did not consider the deapth of sin, the sodomy and gamorry (!) that the human soul can be possessed by if everyone is told and allowed to “do what one feels.” He could have easily discovered the pervasive circumstance which Rousseau relates in his confessions, and which led Rousseau to leave the church, set the principles that would be taken into Germany to deveolop into German philosophy, and well the rest is history. Read me back a couple blogs. Congratulations, Rome. You have enrobed Tiberius and his swimming pool.

    I am myself Half Catholic. The last time I went to mass, an agent who was an old woman stuck her hand in my pocket to check for a gun. I looked up amazed, quickly realized she was an agent and not a pickpocket, and nodded that such violation was just fine, because of the purpose. Then I went to mass, and when it came time for the bread and wine, a strange parishioner walked up, out of line, drank all the wine, a whole bunch, (like one would never do that,) and the person dispensing the wine turned back to the altar as though to get a refill, leaving me standing there. So I just continued on my rout, and kept right on a prayin’. They must have heard that I had refused to swear the Oath at St. Marys of Orchard Lake, and did not re-apply for my adjunct teaching position, but rather tried to have a discussion about oath-taking with the college and the Bishop.

    …But if that wicked servant says to himself “my master is delayed,” and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the hypoocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth

    Matthew 24: 48-51

    The fact is that Jesus did not teach the authority of the church in the way that Rome believes. Otherwise the following sentence would be impossible, due to keys and the necessity of the Holy Spirit to follow human convention, as if controlled by a human’s magic spell: to the Ephesian Church, the risen Jesus says through St. John:

    Remember then from what you have fallen, repent, and do the work you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent

    Revelation 2:5

    If you do not know what a lampstand is, Jesus explained this to John at 1:20

    This decisively refutes the Roman understanding of the authority of the Pope. How to wriggle out of that one? Perhaps the seven churches, five of which are blamed by Jesus, were under John out East there, rather than under the successors of Peter over where Domitian wore that hat, if there were any Christians left alive in Rome thirty years after Peter and Paul were killed. The Christians had fled, some perhaps to Glastonbury all the way in Britain, on the fringes of the Roman world.

    Indeed, Interpretation, I cannot spell well.

    …and in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church…

    But that it the only line of the Credo I must interpret in order to say.

    Psychology: On Love and Lyric Poetry From Plato’s Phaedrus

       Seeing the deplorable condition of our “scientific” psychology, and hypothesizing that antidepressants are behind the wave of public shootings in the United States, I set about to write a book in the re-founding of psychology on the basis of the Socratic turn, the very same as that said to divide Socratic from pre-Socratic philosophy. The first chapter is there for free in the section titled Psychology in the menu of this website (Look up!).

       Doing two things at once, I set out to prove my bold assertion that there is more in “one line” of the introductory dialogues of Plato than in a whole textbook of modern psychology. Having done that with ease, I also wanted to follow the path of Carl Jung, first discussing the shadow, and then what he calls anima and animus. Quickly, though, I was diverted into Shakespeare commentary, taking up Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Nights Dream, and hopefully one day The Tempest. The best piece I have on the shadow is the teaching of Jesus on the log and the beam, in a blog above as well as in the psych category. The shadow at first corresponds to the level of the three part Platonic soul called appetite, but it effects the mind, and is the apprenticeship of self knowledge, because what we do not see in ourselves appears in another, in our faction with our fellows. Our faction with the outer world is of course based upon our faction within. The same is apparent in the psychological truth that what we do to others is in truth done to us, that if we do not forgive, we are not forgiven, etc. That is how the things of the “personal” shadow work. In some sense, too the principle must hold especially for what Jung would have to call the “collective” shadow. Bruce Lee has demonstrated how the principle applies in the martial arts, when his “Cain” was trying to fight an imaginary demon in a cave. His old blind teacher appeared, and said, “Why have you left the Tao?” But the next level is love, belonging to the second or middle of the three parts of the soul.

       In his palinode, Socrates explains the occurrence of love on the basis of the same faculty or capacity of man on which philosophy is based, the capacity for the recollection of the knowledge of truth seen prior to our present incarnation (Plato, Meno 81). [Writing for the liberally educated, I will not pause again to explain that one can see the nature though the image, so that we need not get sidetracked by a discussion of whether Plato believed in reincarnation.] According to the speech, the soul, once perfect and winged, travelling in the train of one of the twelve gods, ascended to the summit of heaven, and there saw a vision of true being, which dwells beyond the Olympian heavens (Hyper-Ouranian being, as an old U of D teacher called it). In this, we were all “initiated into that mystery which is rightly accounted blessed beyond all others” (Phaedrus, 250b). The soul then lost its wings and descended into incarnation, but only the souls that have beheld truth can enter into human form, as is evident in the capacity of man for language. Because of this mystery, “If a man makes the right use of recollection and approaches the perfect mysteries,” he and he alone becomes truly perfect. Only the soul of the philosopher recovers her wings, because she is “ever near in memory to those things to which a god’s nearness makes him truly a god” (249d-e). While the lover and the philosopher, like the lover and the Saint in the Palm dance of Romeo and Juliet, are distinct, the one is an image of the other, and at the same time literally the activity of the same faculty, and hence love is a kind of divine madness (  ).

       Beauty alone, of all the objects of vision seen, is manifest at all to our senses, though sight, the keenest of the bodily senses (250d). From this, we derive the teaching that in love, the lover is having their first concrete encounter with the divine or intelligible. (This demonstrates, too, what a Joke is the first way that the “theory of the forms” appears.) But to continue, when one who saw much and is fresh from the mysteries beholds a godlike face or bodily form that images beauty itself, the stream of beauty entering through the eyes gives rise to a warmth which causes the roots of the wings of the soul, once hardened, to melt and begin to grow. As in Plato’s Symposium, where love (a spirit and not a god) is the beginning of an ascent on the ladder of love, so here, love is presented as the beginning of the recovery of the wings of the soul, completed only in the philosopher.

       Each love loves in the manner of the god in whose company he once traveled, selecting a beloved according to his disposition. Then, as if the beloved were a god, the love fashions for himself an image, and adorns it to be  the object of his worship. When the followers of Zeus find a Zeus-like disposition,aimed toward the love of wisdom and the leading of men, they do all that is possible to foster this disposition. The lover sets out on a path of following up “the trace of the nature of their own god within themselves” (252e). Fixing the gaze of their eyes onto the beloved, they reach out after the god in memory and are possessed by him, taking their ways and manners from the god as much as is possible for humans (253). But the lover attributes this not to the god, but to the beloved. In this “unconscious” activity of character formation, in which the lover does not know himself, Socrates describes the possessed activity of the lover as the drawing of droughts from Zeus, which they pour like Bacchants, onto the soul of the beloved, thus making in him the closest possible likeness to the god they worship” (253a). This following up of the trace of the god within and the drawing and pouring of drink from Zeus may be the source and function of the lyric poetry to which the lovers are inspired by the sight of the beloved. The reaching back in memory of the lover imitates the right use of recollection by which the philosopher alone recovers the wings of the soul. Hence, we say that the noble is based upon and is an image of intellectual virtue. The “song of dialectic itself” (Republic VII, 532d), unknown to the lover, may yet be the being on which lyric love poetry is based. The capacity of the soul for this sort of love is due not to the body and its principle, but to the mind, and is due to the higher capacity of man for knowledge. In Plato’s Republic, too, legislation and character formation are based either upon the image of God (500e-501b; 484c); or on the good itself (540 a-b).

       It remains for us to convert the Platonic account of love into the terms of fertile love, and we will have the equivalent of the unified field theory sought in psysics. One should already see the basis for the translation of the Biblical mysteries into the terms of philosophy, and then back again, from whence all of the knowledge of the Biblical mysteries, right up to the bride, becomes visible. The soul is indeed the image of God- or did you think he was just kidding? Or perhaps willfully asserting the “dignity of the person”? Just as modern psychology cannot begin to approach platonic psychology, so modern theology is a waste of time compared to philosophic theology, where reason and love have company. But at least it reminds barbarians to treat the soul as a thing of dignity, perhaps even each soul endowed equally with inalienable rights, since the image of god in man is a higher thing than anything else in the creation.

       Marriage is the foundation of the family, the natural human society. The soul by nature has the faculty of love, “romantic” love, because human societies are by nature formed this way. Man is by nature political by this root, which happens also to be our participation in the entrance of new souls into the creation. The lovers are alike in a way and complementary in a way, the masculine and feminine things, like vegetable and flower gardening, fitting together to make the whole. Their love is the crown of the rule of the household throughout life, and the happiness of the vast majority depends upon this home life, which is notoriously difficult. The way that they are alike is the basis of friendship, and so people seek a spouse that shares with them the first principles, etc. We think that homosexual love is usually the result of appetite trapped in the matter or the body, like Ariel in the pine tree, freed by Prospero. Hence those seeking the male also seek the effeminate, but cannot tell and get angry if one asks them why. This holds out the possibility of a higher sort of homosexual love-friendship, but also gets at why Plato and Socrates sought to purify Greek homosexual love of all ignoble entanglement in the body, in what is hence called “Platonic” love.

       Until Shakespeare, there was no account of heterosexual or natural, fertile love to compare or compete with the Geek account, based on homosexual love in Greek custom, a thing we do not yet understand. Perhaps they had no liberally educated women. The account, though, is hidden in the Bible, where readers are surprised to find the reason for the inclusion of the Song of Solomon in holy scripture, and surprised to find that the two thousand year old prudish or puritanical understanding of all eros as sin is based on an error made by sinful souls, the Christian things treated like mere laws to lay upon the un-transformed appetites, never leading through true penance and sacrifice. But suffice it to say that the songs engendered in fertile love, as that of Orpheus for Persephone, may well excel the songs engendered by infertile love, (such as those of Sappho) which does seem to be an accidental or mistaken transposition of fertile love onto the same rather than the complementary opposite.