The Future of Humanity

Learning from the soul of the person

Falling apart
Falling apart
10 SEP 2016

"The drug industry invests billions of dollars on research for new drugs that will work on the human brain in order to treat psychological disorders, but they don't invest a single cent on preventive measures, on improving education, on developing the art of thinking among children, on education for self esteem, on reducing social tension and on the struggle against physical and psychological distress. A society has to know that, due to the psychological disorders of humanity, the drug industry is quietly preparing itself to turn into the most powerful industry in the world, more robust even than the arms and oil industries. This industry requires a sick society in order to continue to be able to sell its products… we need to think anew about the future of science and to reflect on the path which humanity is taking." [1]

Doctor Augusto Cury, a notable Brazilian psychiatrist, presents his striking insights concerning the human soul by means of the hero of the plot who, when a medical student, comes across the body of an anonymous homeless man and his tramp friend, and decides as a result of this to turn to the world of psychiatry and psychology. The unfolding and winding plot combines within itself emotions, thoughts, insights and love. An almost impossible love between a man and a woman who hides within her a family secret, and when over everything there hovers the important question concerning the future of our humanity as human beings.

Currently visiting Jerusalem are my two Brazilian friends, Suleima and Augusto Cury. I first met their agent at the Frankfurt International Book Fair several years ago, and the next day Suleima appeared at my stand, and so the contact between us developed. In due course I translated this book into Hebrew. I suggest that we all stop for a moment our hectic race after life's pleasures, and the purchase of the latest technological items, such as smart-phones and even the race to Mars. Let us for a moment think what the drugs do to us all. True, drugs are likely to save human life, but when the human mind and soul are involved, do not drugs in fact perpetuate a person's distress and undermine him till the end of his days and perhaps even shorten his life span, and for sure extinguish his happiness?

I do not usually tend to discuss my intimate life, what takes place in my bedroom is most certainly my own private business, and yet, despite this , I shall unfold before you two affairs in my stormy life. About thirty years ago I met a young woman in Jerusalem. Her laugh and her attraction to warmth and touch captivated me. And yet already then too I understood from her jumpy steps, her unease as she stood talking with me, from her eyes darting here and there, examining me and my body but also all of the close and distant environment. I admit that I was curious, and as a young man seeking to win the heart and body of the young woman I thought to behave accordingly with her, and nevertheless I refrained from doing so.

Some time later she told me that she was undergoing psychological treatment. Once a week she met a psychologist, sat opposite her and confided her experiences to her. "And what do you get out of it?" I asked her, and she answered me that she thought that it helped her to cope with life. Shortly afterwards I registered for B.A. studies, in the course of which I studied for one trimester in the philosophy study circle. In those days a fierce controversy was raging as to what was preferable – a psychologist or a philosopher? I think that I would not be wrong in saying that in those far-off days there was developing the modern approach that psychological treatment does not justify a large amount of appointments, but that one can come for treatment ad hoc.

A one-time treatment in the course of which the "patient" will present the problem before the psychologist who will then instruct him as to what he must do and thus the treatment ends. My fellow students in the philosophy study circle, and I, actually believed that the position of "philosophical counselor" would suit us and faithfully serve these potential "patients" in the best possible manner. Do not be misled, in this case we were also contemplating our financial future, since whoever studies psychology as a rule makes a lot of money out of it, but philosophers, are fated to spend their lives prattling endlessly in broken-down bars or ancient cafes, and nobody comes to sit beside them and pay them for their time.

Years passed and I met the young woman once again, and by now she was already a mature woman and my attention was drawn to her hips, except that she was in another, more dramatic world. She was still jumpy. About twenty years later I met her for a third time her eyes darted about incessantly, and when I asked her how she was living her life she told me simply that she was still meeting the same psychologist, but that she was also taking pills. Two years ago I met her for the fourth time. She was no longer a young or a mature woman, in fact her body had so changed that I did not wish to be in her company, and her eyes had dimmed. She told me that she had formed a relationship with a man like her, they had brought a child into the world and lost it, and that same psychologist had "messed up" her life.

Why did I think of her? Not long ago I met by chance a good looking woman. I shall not be exaggerating if I say that many men would be seeking her company, except that I behaved in a knightly fashion with her and wished to probe her mind and soul in order to know her better. "You have nice eyes," she told me, and perhaps this was the reason why she allowed me to probe precisely in her soul. She told me that she had experienced depression two years previously, and since then she was taking pills according to a prescription give her by the doctor who was treating her. She maintained that these pills were disrupting the action of the brain and suppressing the feelings of fear that she experienced. I learned that she was living in a certain city with a partner, and after their ways had parted she had remained in that city by herself, and the fear of loneliness had caused her to go to the doctor who had decided to give her the pills.

Metaphorically speaking, I stood her against a mirror and afterwards gave her an empty wooden frame, and asked her to gaze not from within the frame but from outside it. "Does not the fear emanate from ourselves?" I asked her. I also added that the fear also is afraid. The best way to overcome fear, and I also am afraid sometimes, is to look the fear in the eye and say to it: "I am afraid but now I shall overcome you." And then the fear will go and look for some one else to harass.

I looked at her and rubbed my eyes. Sometimes the beauty of the jug does not indicate what it contains, and so it was in this case. I thought to myself that this was yet another case of a person drowning in his own soul, falling into an abyss from which there is almost no return, captivated by promises of mortals like himself, except that they hold in their hands or on the wall of their private clinic a piece of paper that apparently gives them the power to control the lives of others, and then that same person becomes addicted to the pills that he takes and thus persuades himself that his life is better thanks to them. These pills make money, lots of money for whoever manufactures them. That is the whole story.

For many years I have been circulating among people, men and women, becoming aware of their weaknesses, fears, dreams and sometimes their most intimate secrets. I don't make money from this. I simply learn about the soul of the person, and the older I get I grow more and more firmly convinced that the warm embrace and attentiveness are the solution to everything. One can control the brain also by thinking for oneself and by willpower. And to the doubters among you, or those who possess pieces of paper from the university, I can only say this: in most cases there was not present a loving and supportive father, and not necessarily because the father didn't want to be present there, but precisely because they prevented him from doing so (but that is already another subject that has to broached in another article). Even though, in my case, they tried to prevent me from doing so, and I didn't let anyone defeat me in this battlefield, I behave in this way with my children and with full consciousness of what is happening around them and around myself. I try all the time to be attentive and sensitive to the feelings of my children and to the others around me. I hug them and listen to them and remove the fear from them, and in my view this is the best treatment of all.

[1] From the book The Future of Humanity