HUMANISTIC AND TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY
Transpersonal Psychology attempts to be the "science" of spirituality. However, it is by no means "science" and its spirituality is pagan. In the last article we noted that in the psychology establishment, the "First Force" was considered to be Psychoanalytical Psychology. The "Second Force" was Behavioral Psychology.
Many of the unbiblical trends throughout society are rooted in the development of Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology: The "Third" and "Fourth Forces". This includes trends in the evangelical church and the government school system. Recall that Humanistic Psychology is characterized by the doctrines of "Self-Actualization", "Felt Needs", and the "Hierarchy of Needs" each of which is refuted by Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew 6 as well as the rest of God's Word. It was founded by such men as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers who were also instrumental in developing the "Fourth Force".
THE FOURTH FORCE
While Humanistic Psychology emphasized the potential within the Self, Transpersonal Psychology developed to focus on transcendence of Self. This "transcendence" refers to a development of consciousness towards a unity with what Carl Jung called the "collective unconscious".
"Transpersonal Psychology seeks to explain the meaning of everything... [and] is a remarkable synthesis: a monistic worldview merged with third-force psychology, and an evolutionary theory enfleshed in a religious hope that humans, by their own choice, can save the world." (Frances S. Adeney in New Age Rage)
The Aquarian Conspiracy, is a book written by Marilyn Ferguson in 1980. Called the "Handbook of the New Age" by "USA Today", it describes an "underground network" that is "working to create a different kind of society based on a vastly enlarged concept of human potential." In preparing to write this book, Ferguson conducted a survey of many of the most influential leaders of the Human Potential - New Age Movement. One of the questions on this survey asked what individual had the greatest influence on the respondent's ideas. The people that were most often named were Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, C. G. Jung, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Aldous Huxley.
In The Aquarian Conspiracy, Carl Rogers is quoted in reference to his concepts of the "emerging man", "a new kind of autonomous human being", and an approaching "great evolutionary leap". By several accounts Carl Rogers, like Carl Jung, explored and absorbed the Occult. Carl Rogers, for example, communicated (or so he thought) with his dead wife using a Ouija board.
Abraham Maslow is quoted by Marilyn Ferguson as referring to our "hunger and meaning for transcendence" and that we should "thrill to the godlike possibilities we see in ourselves". Maslow was closely associated with Esalen Institute which, in the early 1960's, was instrumental in promoting the "human potential - New Age" revolution. Esalen published The Farther Reaches of Human Nature as a posthumous collection of Maslow's works. In this book Maslow said, "The value life (spiritual, religious, philosophical, axiological, etc.) is an aspect of human biology and is on the same continuum as 'lower' animal life (rather than being in separated, dichotomized, or mutually exclusive realms)." In the same book Maslow speaks of his psychology of ultimate concerns and transcendence: "...mystical experience - Mystic fusion, either with another person or with the whole cosmos or with anything in between. I mean here the mystical experience as classically described by the religious mystics in the various religious literatures."
Richard Watring, in New Age Management, quotes from an article called, "Transpersonal Psychology: A Working Outline of the Field" by Marcie Boucouvalas. In this article the writer speaks of the goals of fostering "individual self-knowledge and realization of the Transpersonal". She refers to the, "...avenues to Transpersonal awakening: mystical experiences, meditation, yoga, sensory and sleep deprivation, therapeutic assistance and guidance, psychedelic ingestion, hypnosis, biofeedback, mental imagery and relaxation training, physical disciplines and centering exercises."
Transpersonal Psychology effectively embraces the eastern mystical concept of pantheism by declaring consciousness to be the "ultimate reality" and unity with transcendent conscious the ultimate goal. The Bible teaches that God is Creator and is distinct from his creation. We are to worship the Creator rather than created things (Romans 1:25). Our only means of approaching God is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not through human techniques. In Transpersonal Psychology the call to "transcendence" and "self-realization" is the call of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3)
The means of "transpersonal transcendence" must be seen for what they are: the ancient techniques of eastern mysticism and the occult strictly forbidden by God's Word (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). May the Lord give us discernment to understand the historical roots of modern influences in our society and in the Church. May we recognize the fads and trends that have developed from Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology. May we recognize the hopelessness of the "wisdom of man" and realize that the Lord, through his Word and the Holy Spirit, "has given us everything we need for life and godliness". (2 Peter 1:3)