Master Thesis

Master thesis on modern spirituality, New age and such, written to become a clinical psychologist: “New spiritualities, but old challenges” (“Ny andlighet, men gamla utmaningar”, 2015). It focuses on psychological (mainly psychodynamic or psychoanalytic) aspects, and mainly on potential problematic aspects, of this type of spirituality.

PDF  (Swedish)

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Overview

Alongside the interest in traditional religion has vanished in the Western world there has been a growth of a holistic, individualistic and progress optimistic spirituality, so-called New Age and alike. Psychological research has shown that the followers of this type of spirituality at group level has a profile that possibly correlates with psychological illness. The purpose of this study was to examine how supporters related to the existential conditions of life, as formulated on the basis of psychoanalysis. Interviews with eleven followers was carried out in autumn 2009. The analysis showed that the informants largely rejected those conditions or restrictions of life which may be interpreted in a similar way as previous research. Alongside a possible individual predisposition, an impact that emanates from the thought system itself, is proposed as a factor to be considered. Models of how to differentiate between both types of engagement, and various types of spiritualities, is outlined or sketched.

New age, spirituality, alternative spiritualities, esotericism, religion, spirituality, mental health, mental illness, psychopathology, healing, therapy, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, psychology, psychodynamic theory, psychology of religion, existential psychology, transpersonal psychology, Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, Helena Blavatsky, Martinus, Rudolf Steiner, theosophy, Martinus Cosmology, antroposophy.

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Existential conditions

“Werbart (2000) writes that humans are “irretrievably doomed to live as separate ‘in-dividuals’, dependent on each other, divided into two sexes and several generation, vulnerable and mortal …” (p. 37). In another place the same author writes that we have to “accept existential terms: Our privacy as separate individuals, our division into two sexes, and the impossibility to be both, the division in parental and child generations, our aging and our mortality” (Werbart, 1996 , p. 14). From these two quotes seven “reality domains” have been created which will be used as a template. Under these domains responses and reflections have been gathered that are experienced to be relevant for the respective domain. Thoughts based on interviews mixed with reflexions out of earlier research. These domains are named as follows: allocative, constitutional, vertical, horizontal, capacitive, declinative, and terminal realities. These names will be further defined in connection to respective section.

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Allocative realities

This domain addresses the individual’s place in the world in a fundamental sense. Things that are given and equal for all. It affects how we perceive to be born and to be individuals. That no one can be expected to take the same interest in our projects and ideas as we do ourselves. The responsibility for one’s own life, to have to set the course and to stand for ones choices. The ability to take on this responsibility can be damaged, for various reasons, but may nonetheless never be transferred to someone else. A question we can put forward to the material is: What do the interviewees says that can help us to understand how they relate to the allocative realities in life?

Themes and reflections that relates to this domain are grouped under the following headings: Universe, and An enchanted world.

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Constitutional realities

This domain is about the individual’s assigned role in nature. From birth to be limited or specialized in one way or another. Not in relation to social structures like generation, class, gender roles, etc., but in a more constitutional sense. Where we are not more or less, higher or lower, only different. Man do not have wings and he or she is not able to fly, like the birds, for example. Sex is perhaps the most fundamental specialization. Due to being born man or woman we will be cut off from certain experiences. However, the subject may also be understood more generally: No one can be “everything”. A question we can put forward to the material is: : What do the interviewees says that can help us to understand how they relate to the constitutional realities in life?

Themes and reflections that relates to this domain are grouped under the following headings: Women and men, and Switching sex and androgyny.

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Vertical realities

This domain is about hierarchies, superiority and inferiority. Vertical dependencies as well as responsibilities. In one case, to have to depend on or to obey those who have authority, knowledge or competence that we ourselves are lacking: Local authorities, schools, and parents. God? In the second case, ones responsibilities for those who are younger, less experienced or inferior to ourselves . Those are roles that can vary over time and in different contexts. A question we can put forward to the material is: What do the interviewees says that can help us to understand how they relate to the vertical realities in life?

Themes and reflections that relates to this domain are grouped under the following headings: Parents and caregivers; To become a parent; The establishment; A new paradigm; Faith and knowledge; The Enlightened, and God.

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Horizontal realities

This domain deals with interpersonal dependencies and ties, both to lovers, siblings and friends, acquaintances and colleagues, as well as to neighbors and people in general. Obligations and rights in a horizontal dimension. To be able to negotiate and to share, as well as to ask for what you need. Mutual expectations. A question we can put forward to the material is: What do the interviewees says that can help us to understand how they relate to the horizontal realities in life?

Themes and reflections that relates to this domain are grouped under the following headings: Solitude and Community; Closeness; Twin souls and the like; Peace, love and tolerance, as well as The world Kingdom.

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Capacitative realities

This domain adresses how the person handles his och hers relative strengths and abilities, as well as his or hers limitations,  inadequacies and weaknesses. Such personal characteristics which can be something innate as well as acquired. Not being equally privileged, smart or strong as some, albeit perhaps more than others. A question we can put forward to the material is: What do the interviewees says that can help us to understand how they relate to the capacitive realities in life?

Themes and reflections that relates to this domain are grouped under the following headings: Life is a school, and Wellbeing and Health.

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Declinative realities

This domain handles aging or declination. How to endure or to adopt to changes caused by time and nature. One’s own and related parties’ allotted amount of time, energy, youth and health and challenges because of that. A question we can put forward to the material is: What do the interviewees says that can help us to understand how they relate to the declinative realities in life?

Themes and reflections that relates to this domain are grouped under the following headings: Age; Reincarnation; Evil, and An optimistic outlook on life.

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Terminal realities

This domain handles the definitive end or the ultimate “No”. It adresses death, the ultimate violation of the individual’s omnipotence, but not only, but projects, relationships, as well. Hopes that reaches the final point, whether the result turnes out to be what one had desired or not. A question we can put forward to the material is: What do the interviewees says that can help us to understand how they relate to the terminal realities in life?

Themes and reflections that relates to this domain are grouped under the following headings: Separations, and Death.

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