The Tao Of Psychology
‘The Tao Of Psychology’ is a concise, lucid, 169 paged, timely book, which is as relevant today as it was 15 years ago, when it was published, because it deals with the predicament of the modern man. It provides ground beneath their feet, in the swiftly changing currents of fashion and life styles that have replaced a stable culture. In our world, slogans are no longer confined to the politicians. The business world has become equally fond of slogans. Education, too, has ceased to be discursive. It had dropped the power of reasoning as disdainfully, as the discursive learning had, earlier, during its heydays, ridiculed meditative and contemplative learning.
We live in a world that is devoted to idiotism. Even university professors, who believed, only a decade before, that, at least, no body could take them for an idiot, now find all their sober shields foiled, penetrated and dumbfounded against the idiotism of the modern advertising skills. Nirmal Kumar provides self-defense to the beleaguered modern individual, against the intrusion of slogans in their thought-process. Slogans trigger a deadly thought-process in the mind that leaves scarcely any room for the learning that one thinks one has acquired.
The author warns the readers that the human mind has two thought processes, running parallel in the mind. One deals with half-thoughts, i.e. undeveloped ideas, which is exactly what slogans are. They get into the mind through the ears and the eyes. The other thought-process deals with fully developed ideas, such as one finds in thoughtful works.
Earlier, when slogan raising was a rarer occasion, the slogans did not disturb the stream of one’s thoughts, by intercepting it or by settling like segments in the bottom of the stream of thinking. The slogans were treated only as slogans that had a, universally recognized, limited function. Every body knew that they were using exaggerations and lies to sell a political candidate to his constituency or a factory product to the consumer. In both cases, slogans evoked an unconscious smile on the lips of the listener that simply expressed the listener’s instinctive and mechanical rejection of the candidate whose virtues could be packed in slogans. The common belief was that a person who needed organized advertisement certainly lacked the virtue that was advertised as that person’s prime quality. The same instinctive way was applied to ignore the factory product that needed too much advertisement. Even the slogan-mongers and advertisers felt a bit guilty for exercising their misguiding skills loudly.
The scenario has drastically changed in modern times. It is said that every victory hides the defeat of the victorious person on many fronts. The Allies won the war against the Nazis, but the Nazis have won the war of advertising skills to such an extent that they have corrupted the mind of the free world and have penetrated its defense against slogans. The Nazis said, “Repeat a lie a hundred times and it will turn into truth.” This art is being practiced all through the free world, with astounding sophistication, so much so that advertising appears like a whispering, friendly advice. Slogans are raised so continuously, every day, that the human limited ability to kick them out of the mind exhausts, and the slogans settle down as segments under the stream of thinking, and unconsciously the mind gets busy in developing the slogan, which is essentially a half-thought, into a full thought. If he does it sincerely, he finds himself a sincere convert to the advertised leader or product. If he does it unconsciously, the unconscious stretches the slogan to turn into a full idea by adding superstitions and dark beliefs to it. The added stuff makes the listener a convert to the factory product or a particular leader. It invariably corrupts the thinking process of the individuals by eroding their freedom.
Now, slogan creation has developed into an intellectual and psychological war with the individual. It aims at breaking the listeners defenses, invading the senses and the mind and cheating the heart of the listener by offering tempting prizes. The intellectual and psychological input is prepared with skill so that it quietly enters both the streams of thinking in the mind of the individual. The result is that both the streams, the stream of slogans and the stream of fully developed ideas get mutually mixed up and the mind becomes useless for the most important purpose for which nature has created it, namely – it stops guiding the individual rationally, morally and spiritually in his personal life.
Nirmal Kumar suggests a simple remedy. He says that if the individual asks his soul to sacrifice itself separately to the two streams of thinking, they would not get mixed up. Further, if he asks both the streams of thinking, too, to sacrifice themselves unto each other, and to give rebirths to each other, the streams would instantly stop developing the slogans into full thoughts by adding superstitions and subtle lies to them from their own resources and, thereby, making them their own intellectual productions. With this they will stop degrading and corrupting their minds.
Both the thought processes in the mind should not be allowed to intercept each other or to get mixed up. The slogan-monger in business, education and politics overcomes the mental freedom of the free citizen by as little as giving him a slogan, which he, nowadays, calls an ‘idea’.
The author also says that besides the spiritual self and the psychological self, every human has a somatic self, built of physical energies. It is important that the three selves do not get mixed up. Their mixing up results in confusion, ennui and listlessness. If the three start fighting each other, the result is schizophrenia, psychosis or madness. The modern civilization has inadvertently developed the powers that either combine the three and confound them or trigger a civil war between them that tilts sanity towards the opposite of itself. Here, too, the remedy lies with the soul’s self sacrifice, separately, to the three. Self-sacrifice does not kill the soul, since nothing can kill it. The practice of self-sacrifice is an ancient Vedic practice, in which the soul sacrifices itself to all the disorders, physical, psychological and the spiritual, fearlessly, knowing that nothing can kill it. The advantage is that the soul, instantly, gets an entry inside the three selves of the individual. There are spiritual laws as inviolable as the laws of physics. One of the inviolable spiritual laws is that the soul that sacrifices itself to these three selves gets the power to command them, and there is no way, these three selves can disobey the soul that has already sacrificed itself to them.
There are nine chapters in the book, each teeming with original ideas that solve everyday problems of the modern life. They teach the modern human the art of cleaning the mental, spiritual and physical apparatuses.
BOOK REVIEW OF ‘THE TAO OF PSYCHOLOGY
Prof. T. P. Pandya
PhD. (London), DIC (London)
Prof. of Physics, Lucknow University
According to Nirmal Kumar there is the pre-psychical in man, a living reality that lives as a raging deluge. Nature has placed the human impulses in the midst of it. Those who ignore this nemesis to go ahead, find the nemesis overtaking at a later stage. Those who make their passage through nemesis under the discipline of philosophic death, tame it.
Those who bypass nemesis get it back in their psychological world, turned a hundred times stronger and baffling. The psyche is no match to its brutalities. Nature expects the somatic self to face it, not the psyche. Man has erred by ignoring the encounter between the somatic self and nemesis.
One of the unnerving points in favour of nemesis is that people cannot distinguish the voice of sanity from the welter of voices there. A sane voice is often mistaken for another voice of Nemesis. ‘Tao of Psychology’ carries the grains of Indian wisdom through disturbing times and centuries, transformed and properly modernized. It is amazing for one man to have done so much single-handed but then such visions do not visit groups. Indeed it is one of the profoundest books of our times. Those who do not like philosophic reasoning will find its inspired language, wit, humour and brevity highly refreshing. It has a message not only in its meaning but also in its tone. Its spirit is likely to enrich even the non-philosophic reader with hope in the future of humanity.
The author goes on to say that it is the somatic, which grows into the psychological. It is a kind of evolution, if properly cultured. Left to itself it becomes an inter mixing of the somatic and the psychological which makes the human diabolic.
The author maintains that the psychological world is the laboratory of one’s thoughts. It is here that the same Impersonal self, reappears as personal, flexible and divisible. We all keep on becoming many to fulfill practical needs without keeping the track of the one. This turns man into a city rather than letting him live as an individual, a newspaper rather than a soul. If those who lament the absence of original thinkers would not like to revise their opinion after reading this work, it would be due to obsessive attachment to a formed prejudice.
The psychological world could be as firm and immobile as a mountain and also as fluid as a running river. Those who know it to be a laboratory do not build castles here. They let it remain flexible and that is the strength of man.
Nirmal Kumar maintains that there are spiritual truths as well as psychological truths and Somatic truths. The three truths are not only different but opposite of each other. It is only the psychological truths that can cure the ailing psyche, and they run counter to philosophic truths. Those who fail to experience their philosophy psychologically get split. A self-integrated sensitive mind in a transient world is an achievement. Nirmal Kumar’s mind seems to have attained three-fold reconciliation between the delicate poetic sensations, the contemporary violence and sublime heights or perhaps depths of thought. This is a rare altitude, which only the highest have been able to scale. To pack the entire spectacle between chaos and self-flowering in only 169 pages speaks of a vision. To read this book is to feel the warmth of the ray of hope in the present wintry gloom. There are however a few misprints which do great damage to the work.
‘From Tao to Psychology’ by Julian Laboy Rodriguez’
‘The Tao of Psychology’ deals with a self-defense to a so-called “modern man” against an intrusion of slogans in their thought-process. Nirmal Kumar also talks about cleaning the physical, spiritual and mental or psychological aspects of the modern human because advertisement takes too much room in our minds which in turn limits our minds which in turn limits our learning. Finally, he states that structurally, we are made of three selves: a physical or somatic self, a psychological self and a spiritual self. We cannot mix these selves or else we end up making them fight each other. Because of that, psychopathologies like schizophrenia and psychosis may arise.
Kumar’s book reminds me a great deal of Plato and his philosophy of the tripartite soul, and I do not want the main ideas of my book to be confused with this. Plato divided the soul in three: a rational aspect (in Kumar’s terms, the psychological self), an appetite or desire aspect (the physical or somatic self) and a spiritual aspect (the spiritual self). There are very well defines structures which, Kumar explains, cannot be mixed or confused. Going even further, this tripartite structure refers to a transcendental form which leads one to see a logical order in the world in its psychological, social and cosmological aspects, or so Kumar and Plato thought.
The problem is that the Eastern approach that I will be referring to is very different from this. In Ancient Taoist texts “order” consists of complementary and mutually defining things in a continuum. For example, when speaking about yin and yang, yin is more or less or a becoming-yang, and yang is more or less or a becoming-yin. Both are necessary to explain the other and both belong to a continuum which can and do mix perfectly to create the harmony called yin-yang, that being apart from people’s definitions about them. Kumar’s tripartite structure of the modern man, and Plato’s tripartite soul, simply go against what my main ideas are. I will talk about the complementary aspect between mind and body, and between reason and emotions. I will also mention that because we define and conceptualize “things”, we are creating worlds. I do not believe in a transcendental logical order or a capital-r, Reality, or if there is one, that it would be impossible to know anything about it without going beyond our bodies or what we are. Neither do the ancient texts.