See Miracles


Bergonian Psychology

cognitive, collective


"When did a poor man ever find the time to be mad?"  --from Man of La Mancha

evil acts can easily result from good thoughts, and obsession easily transmutes into evil.




Psychologists & psychiatrists have always tended toward the study & treatment of pathology, with the ironic result that little attention is given to defining good mental health practices.  


After the revolution, however, leaders exhorted the masses, as individuals and in small groups, to practice "good thought habits."  The idea was that a happy man will become a productive worker, a good citizen and a enriching benefit to everyone around him.  However pragmatic in practice, Bergonian psych practice pushes towards an ideal.  Even in public schools the students are urged to follow a simple list of good practices.  In Bergonian custom, these become expressed in a string of maxims.  

  • Pay attention to your own thoughts and feelings.  Examine yourself.

  • Pray to God at least once in the morning and once in the evening.  Pray faithfully.  "Words are strong," the priests have always said, "Bind yourself to the Gods with strong ropes of prayer."

  • Act with a little pride.  Do not humiliate yourself with loud displays.  It is unseemly to profess your self-pity.

  • Do not harm others. Have compassion for others. ("Others" includes all animals, because animals are kindred creatures, also created and loved by God).  Allowing moral imperatives to restrict your own impulsiveness and greed ultimately ameliorates the impulsiveness and greed.

  • Likewise, as a moral imperative, strive to be fair in your dealings with other people.

  • Mediate upon the beautiful. Value beautyThe Gods touch us through the world's beauty.  "In beauty the Gods dance," said the Prophet Ierecina.  Take time to do so; noticing and delighting in the beautiful gets one outside one's miserable self.

This reflects the proactive view that "getting good requires doing good," that a person can improve his lot, including his own mental health, by consciously avoiding any harm or disturbance to anyone else's mental health.  This describes the individual's part-- taken together, the community consists of people working consciously to improve life in the community.  Quite obviously, when the community improves, the lives, and hence the mental health of the community's members also improve.

This attitude continues the ancient warrior's concern with focus, and the Miradi concern with focus, meditation and consciousness. It parallels what the Buddhists call "mindfulness."   It also picks up the practical sense of "taking care," taking very great conscious care about one's actions, like careful stepping across the ice, so as to avoid mistakes and harm to others.  

Brash and bold actions of greedy and willful men inevitably unleash chains of cause and effect resulting in harm to the natural order and to its creatures-- animal and human.  Smart people want to avoid this.  Instead, doing good creates a beneficent effect, largely a calming and nourishing effect on others, so that people improved and prospered. This reduplicating effect of one's actions-- evil resulting from evil and good resulting from good-- projects the contents of our hearts and minds into the lives of others.  Likewise, we are inspired to good or evil from the other people in our lives.


In the US there is a weird, dysfunctional divide between "psychiatry," which is a branch of medicine, and "psychology," a separate profession, which is in turn weirdly allied with "counselors" and "social workers," all of whom do the same things, but each of which has its own degree program and bullshit.  Psychiatrists once had couches in their offices and provided psychotherapy, but today's psychiatrists see patients in five-minute "med checks" and endorse prescriptions that most of the time a psychologist or some other subordinate practitioner decide upon.  

In the US the vast majority of psychologists are masters level only, and the small proportion of Ph.D. psychologists dominate the profession and often employ the masters level commoners to do the grunt work.  In Bergonia all psychologists go through three years of solid study (plus some practicum)-- the length of law school in the US-- followed by a year of internship.  

In Bergonia there are very few 'psychiatrists," e.g. physicians engaged in mental health practice.  Those that do exist are neo-Freudian couch therapists.  Generally the single occupation responsible for medication and therapy is called psychologists.  

In Bergonia the practice of psychology was always less a province of the medical profession.  Instead the "psychologists" --practitioners who developed separate from the medical profession-- became the stronger.  The Bergonian Freudians were looked down upon by European Freudians because so few of them were physicians, and so it became easier for the Bergonian theorists to go their own way.  

Early on Bergonian psychology became a rigorous profession on its own, ostensibly committed to scientific method in experimentation and validation, linked to medical science, but also open to the intuitive truths of religion, philosophy and art.  This profession has included talk therapy, psychometrics and testing, and the prescription of certain classes of drugs.

The profession of psychiatry thus withered in the face of the growth of psychology, and became compressed into the school of neurology.  

One may become a practicing psychologist if he (a) completes a four-year college degree, and then a two year professional course of study, (b) completes a two year supervised apprenticeship, (c) passes some damned examination.  The courses of study, both the four-year course and the professional course, includes:  

personality theory

abnormal psych

individual  therapy


pychometrics & testing


scientific method & proof

logic & inquiry


group processes

group therapy

work & organizational psych.




Neither Freud nor his disciples and progeny seemed to have been much aware of the work of anthropologists, nor have behaviorist psychologists.  But many Bergonian psychologists, as early as the 1920s, became intrigued by some of the insights produced by anthropologists, and have developed a great interest in cross-cultural psychology.

Souces:  primer to types of cross-cultural studies.

The major insight was how much human thought and emotion is preordained by cultural norms, how each culture has its own unique attributes, and how the heterogeneity of cultures tend to demonstrate the absence of absolute values.  Thus, Bergonian psychologists were very reluctant to accept all the Freudian assumptions about instincts and subconscious drives.  Instead they found that a lot of what Freudians & Neo-Freudians assumed were immutable aspects of human nature, and imbedded in the Id, were in fact dictated by the culture. 




In everyday practice, most people in distress usually go to their family physician at the neighborhood or town clinic, or in his private practice.  The majority of psychotropic drugs are prescribed by family physicians in the neighborhood clinics, since they provide the majority of primary care.  It has been said that family physicians are the psychiatrists in Bergonia.

People usually approach their physician when they are in real, painful distress-- panic attacks, acute anxiety, a depressive episode, the so-called "nervous breakdown" -- and they deserve immediate relief.  It is common sense that clinical therapy can proceed more easily when the patient's immediate distress is alleviated, at least a little.  So first the meds.

However, once the family physician prescribes the psychotropic, he will often refer the patient to a psychologist who will monitor the medication and devise a comprehensive treatment plan.  The psychologist can then change or add medications, providing that he notifies the referring physician.  Likewise the referring physician must make it a point to keep the psychologist notified of medical treatment.

The pharmaceutical revolution has transformed mental health practice around the globe, but Bergonians practitioners staunchly believe that talk therapy-- engaging the client consciously in his own cure-- is crucial to any lasting improvement.  So they practice the strategy of "meds plus talk."  This strategy requires the National Health Funds to indulge talk therapy more than any managed care plans does in the U.S.

The neighborhood or town clinic is often the site of mental health practitioners, or of therapeutic groups such as AA and NA. 


Humankind is afflicted with a defect of ego, and thus is permeated with false pride and selfishness.  Humankind resists the reality of the body and the physical universe, including the fact of death.  Thus there is suffering, delusion, false heroism, and fear.  This blinds humankind to the divine that underlies and animates all the physical universe.  The process of spiritual & psychological "purification" disarms suffering, dispels delusion, and opens the doors to eternal life.  An unpurified spirit gets too attached to the body, becomes weak and vulnerable, and suffers the body's death.  A purified spirit becomes strong and capable of surviving physical death and moving on to the afterlife.


In the last thirty years, cognitive therapy has become the dominant therapeutic tool. 

Cognitive psychologists stress the content and habits of thought, including the particulars of inappropriate assumptions that real world facts refute.  

The therapist's job is to pierce the false rationalizations that buttress the maladaption, e.g. the "rational cognitive therapies" of  of Americans like Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis.   Even though Albert Ellis was more of a therapist than a theorist, his interpretation of cognitive theory has gained a great deal of notability over the past twenty plus years. 

On the surface, his model is quite simple and often described as the A-B-C process.  Ellis believes that everyday we experience "Activating Events" (A) that prompt us to ponder, interpret, or otherwise think about what is occurring. Our interpretation of these events result in specific Beliefs (B) about the event, the world and our role in the event. Once we develop this belief, we experience Emotional Consequences (E) based solely on our belief.

The basic premise underlying cognitive theory is that the way we think about ourselves and others, i.e. beliefs, determines our emotional and behavioral response to specific events. Treatment per this method would have the therapist pushing the patient to prove-- hence disproving-- the false beliefs.

Many Cognitivists have applied cognitive theory to treatment, most notably Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis. Beck developed several assessment techniques such as the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) which are both very popular quick assessments of an individual's functioning.

Beck, Ellis & others believe that "cognitions" always precede behavior and emotion, and therefore changing our thoughts will lead to a change in the other two.  Research has provided a good deal of support for this idea, especially concerning depressive disorders, anxiety related disorders, anger, and interpersonal difficulties. Some research even suggests that cognitive treatment, especially when combined with some behavioral techniques such as relaxation (often called cognitive-behavioral treatment) provides better and more long-lasting results than medication in the treatment of depression. 

Strengths of Cognitive Theory

As discussed, research has provided a lot of knowledge abut how people think and perceive and has consequently provided a lot of support for cognitive theory. Second, perhaps because of these positive findings, cognitive theory has gained in popularity both in the professional and pop psychology arenas. 

Weaknesses of Cognitive Theory

Like all theories, the cognitive perspective is not free from criticism. First, behaviorists see this theory as weak due to the abstract nature of thoughts and the difficulty in defining them. What may be seen as self-critical by one researcher may look like a rational remark by another. Second, there is no agreed upon definition or application of the theory. It is seen as fairly new and while it receives a great deal of research, the underlying theory of personality development is weak at best. So while it may have very positive outcomes in treatment, it does not provide a solid understanding of development. For the neo-Freudian, this might mean that cognitive therapy is only a temporary approach and does not address the real reason behind a personality issue.


Theories of personality are taught in Bergonian psych schools, but most applied therapeutics depend very little on such theories, unlike Freudian psychoanalysis.  Instead there is more of an idea of whatever produces results is good, regardless of any theoretical justifications for how it worked.  

Deconstructing the origin of pathologies can be very drastic, certainly very lengthy, and not always very productive.  It makes more sense to help the patient to adapt to and deal with his present situation.  It is admitted that much neurosis actually forms as a form of adaptation and healing, much as scar tissue or rerouting of nerves result from physical healing.  The question that must be explicitly addressed with each case is how to reconnect the patient with his present world. 


Another approach arose out of the Bergonian tendency to stress the importance of group personalities and cultures. This approach gained popularity after the Revolution. 


If an individual can have skewed perspectives and values, so can groups, even entire societies. It is a rather basic Bergonian idea that society is in many ways a meta-version of the individual, reflective in the explicit Shufrantei doctrine that groups and institutions commit large, even colossal sin that overarch and compel the sinful acts of individuals. This was a way of analyzing culture, and it predicted that an indivudla culture informs the forms and symptoms of mental ilness.


Thus, in the Shufrantei view, the sovereign is responsible in part for the sin of his people, just as in a democratic society the people are responsible for the sins of their rulers.  Societies, no less than individuals, have personality, maladaptive beliefs and behavior, thus personality disorders. Societies definitely have moods and mood changes as do individuals. 


Developmental psychology and psychodynamic theory explain the etiology for adult personality and emotionally disorders. History and socialist theory explains etiology for the "mental disorders" of the entire society. Some societies are compulsive, some ridden with anxiety, some dysthymic, some manic, and some paranoid. Capitalist culture arises out of a twisted (or "neurotic") set of values, taking on features analogous to what present-day psychology calls a "personality disorder." The capitalist neurosis is one of greedy acquisitiveness, a form of compulsiveness.  


Freudianism has always implied that personality is basically the result of pathology ("our personalities are molded by our sufferings."), so it stands to reason that there are prevailing group or class personalities.  Someone like conservative sociologist Jane Jacobs can describe "guardian" and "trader" personalities, but she fails to realize that she is merely describing two factions of the upper class.  Psychologists like Erich Fromm and sociologists like Gunner Mydal have described prevailing personalities in lower class groups like Mexican peasants and African-American slum-dwellers.  




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mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt
tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The
rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit
porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef
but the wrod as a wlohe




Krathnami and Sesnan, his companion, wrestled with what of their two religions was true, what was not true, and what was beyond saying.  this required them to decide on tests and methods, on a way of analyzing the religions.

This led Krathnami and Sesnan to engage the question of epistomology.


The beginning place for all of Krathnami's truths had to do with how men and women know anything andacquire knowledge.  His first step was in the epistemology of religious truth.   "Epistemology" is defined as the study or theory of the origin, nature, methods and limits of human knowledge.  He felt that all truth depended upon a clear understanding of the limits of human knowledge, and from this consideration he launched his attack upon all the organized religions of the day.

Krathnami  begin  by  listing  the means by which  men  and  women  gain knowledge.  First, he considered the five senses and examined the limits of each, concluding rather obviously that the senses of each individual provided a very limited perception of a very limited  part of the universe. 

Second came memory, which allowed men and women to consolidate their  sense experiences into additional knowledge.  Memory allowed a traveler who visited a place repeated to improve his knowledge of it by combining his memories of the individual visits.    Memory also provided the means by which a person learns a skill.  However, memory is limited  and often  fails  with  time and under stress.  A person who lives in  the  northern  mountain  might travel to the southeast jungles, where he might see a monkey.  Through his senses he becomes aware of the monkey and through his memory he carries the image back home.  But with time his memory fades, and he imagines the monkey as larger, more spectacular, than it really was.  Krathnami also in passing referred to the failure of the memories of witnesses in court testimo

Third came language, by which men and women informed one another of things which they had seen.  He pointed out that a man in the mountains might make a journey to the forests of  the  southeast and return home with a description of a monkey.  His audience could obtain only a limited understanding of what a monkey looked like and how a monkey acted,  because language is a limited tool.

Fourth came logic, which he derided as weak in the face of  common  passion.  Pure logic, he argued  moreover, served only as a way of manipulating the knowledge which  the other means of knowledge produced.

Fifth came intuition or visionary knowledge.  This he argued provided the purest form of knowledge, but served to provide only glimpses.  "It is the vision of the gods and the edelei, but we have as much of it as a dog has of reason or a crow has of language." 

Many of the Shufrantei schools of thought derided the reliability of intuition or mystical experience.   The main sects of Shufrantei, for the most part, relied  on discipline, rites and theology, while Hiestat relied on the cultivation of extrasensory abilities, including the use of dreaming.   Krathnami had breached the disciplines of his own original faith and learned from Sesnan the mystical practices of the Hiestat.  He found them worthy.  He decided that Shufrantei could stand augmentation by the Hiestat practices of ascetic meditation trance and dream interpretation.  Later, when he begin to preach and meet converts, he undoubtedly received the pleasant  surprise that many of the smaller, more marginal sects of Shufrantei itself also  relied on the irrational means of knowledge, which meant that the gulf between the body of  Shufrantei and Hiestat was much narrower than his personal experiences had suggested.

The sixth means of knowledge was that of  the  prophet's  revelation.   Ierecina  had claimed to have received messages from the Gods.  So did the minor prophets who followed him.   No other  individuals had any right to claim such knowledge, according to Shufrantei orthodoxy,  which held that the Gods had limited such knowledge to the chosen  individuals  in the chosen era of history.  Hiestat, of course, rejected this conclusion and stated that Ierecina's vision was nothing more than a specie of visionary experience.  The Hiestat view, of course, implied  that any person of mystical leanings could come into contact with the higher truth and receive special revelations  therefrom.   The Hiestat view, of course, drew the ire from  the Shufrantei  center.  Krathnami espoused an artful compromise, appropriate since  he  obviously intended  to  forge  a  common ground between Hiestat and  Shufrantei.   He  agreed  with  the Hiestat  that  the  prophet's  revelation was a special specie of  visionary  knowledge.   But  he pointed  out  that all visionary knowledge came by the grace of God, and  that  obviously  God intended  to  employ  Ierecina  and the minor prophets for a  special  historical  purpose  which merited  the special visions that they received.  However, since Ierecina stripped as much doctrine as possible away from religion, he refused to adopt the Shufrantei position that the Gods intended  to  impart the particular vision to only certain people in a certain era.   "How do we know what God intended?"

The conclusion he reached concerning human knowledge was how limited it was.   He stressed time and time again what great difficulties people have in knowing things that occur down the street or over the mountain, much less in heaven, in other dimensions or beyond death.

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