I have been doing a lot of thinking
lately and I want to share some of the things I have learned about the concept
of “Self-Help.” So many people are focused on
self-help. Self-help has
become the new buzz topic, and it seems like everyone who speaks or writes for
a living wants to help you tap into your motivation to help you accomplish your
goals, or dreams, or your best personal whatever you want to call it. Self-help has become a parallel of
psychology and counseling. The interesting
thing about self-help is that anybody can write about it, because they do not
have to go through any educational requirements or state requirements for
regulated professions. Generally
these folks have some sort of real life experience that they draw upon to
deliver their content. There’s
always some sort of truth involved, and they leverage that element of truth to
deliver the rest of their philosophy for their “Intellectually Licensed”
material. As long as they don’t
call it counseling or psychology, they are free to say whatever they want
without any worries of liability.
This is the benefit of free speech, and I am all for it. However, the helpers usually indicate
that their information is not designed to diagnose or cure anything and they
cannot be held liable for your lack of success at using their intellectual
material. The problem with self-help
is that none of their ideas are new.
They are repackaged versions of very old philosophies. All of them are based on humanism.
The social sciences are all founded
on humanism. What is humanism you
may wonder? It’s an umbrella term
for several philosophies. Modern Humanism
began in the 1800’s as a response to the scientific revolution and the
industrial revolution. Western
cultures decided at this time that they had it all pretty well figured out due
to the new scientific revolution.
The lesson of the scientific revolution was that if it couldn’t be
proven or measured, then it could not definitively be true. The scientific method was a tool introduced
to measure and observe the natural world and scientific hypotheses. It was all about outcomes based
measurement. Several different
models of humanism resulted from this time period. Some of them include classical humanism, renaissance
humanism, religious humanism, secular humanism and many more. A common element between them is that
man is the sole motivator for his destiny. Another common element is that idea of outcomes based
measurement for validating a theory.
According to the American Humanist Association,
“Humanism is a progressive
lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and
responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the
greater good of humanity(1).”
think this is a solid definition for humanism as a general guide. Each of the versions of humanism has a
specific application of this definition.
For example, secular humanism holds to the view that religions are based
on beliefs and are not based on reasoning. For example, Christianity is based on the Bible and it
requires belief in the Bible as the foundation for truth. Humanism believes that human reasoning
alone is sufficient for understanding truth and ethics. So they hold to the idea that the best
test of human reasoning is that which can be tested by the scientific
method. They deny any involvement
in views that hold to the Bible as a revelation or source of truth.
Psychology came out of humanism. Psychology is a study or science of the mind. It is a study of humanity. So since it is an attempt to study man
and his ways of thinking, and it is a science, it is used as a tool to help
people change (hopefully improving) the ways that they think and feel. Mental health professionals
implement a form of the scientific method to deliver the help that clients
seek. This is done through an
outcomes based measuring document called the treatment plan. It is measurable, and centered around
the goals of the client. The
therapist is accountable to this document. It serves as a type of contract between the client and the
therapist. Self-help comes from
the science of psychology. It is
less regulated and does not require knowledge or professional accountability from
the treatment plan model.
has bought into the scientific method and outcomes based measurement in the
corporate world too. Think about
all of the leadership material that is published. All of it is designed around learning about your strengths
and abilities. These published
works all set out someone’s plan to help you plan out steps to make yourself a
more focused influencer of other people.
These books are using behaviorism to accomplish their goals of improving
your skills. How many times have
you heard some variation of the following messages?
You can achieve anything you set your mind
to…all you need is a plan to get there. The
only thing standing between you and your dreams is a plan. You have the ability to change the
world. These are focused on
the power of the individual. They
are based on humanism. The
problems arise when church picks these up. There was not a treatment plan for crossing the Red
Sea. God provided manna from
Heaven to feed the Israelites for forty years. God provided the manna. Their faith did not provide it. In fact, God provided it while they were complaining to Him
about having to eat it. Jesus fed
4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. Over and over the Bible records the
provision that God has provided.
He does not do it in a progressive way. The Holy Spirit came down to the disciples on Pentecost in a
event planned by God, not the disciples.
He empowered the believers to speak in the languages of the people who
were passing by. This was done by
God as an example to the non-believers about God’s power to be God. No human effort was required to help
God accomplish His purpose of reaching out to the non-believers. This is why God says that His ways are
higher than our ways. Our ways are
progressive, and outcomes based.
His ways part the Red Sea, feed multitudes, and deliver His people to a
place they had not yet planned to arrive at. If we stop proclaiming God as God, then the Bible says that
even the rocks would cry out His name.
Our human efforts always result in a form of progressive humanism. In psychology, corporate leadership,
self-help and government, our efforts are always creating more problems than
they set out to fix. This is the
problem with progressivism. It
says that it is designed to improve the lives of the greater population, but it
is the powerful that always come out on top. Then they convince the population to rise up against itself
to make up for the terrible actions of the leaders. This is because it is the humanists who believe in
behaviorism who are causing the problem.
The best problem for leaders to fix is the one they create. This is the danger of progressivism and
would like to spend some time continuing to broaden my understanding of
humanism and its contrast with faith in Jesus Christ. I have a pretty good understanding already, but I recently
finished writing a chapter on Altruism and Acceptance at my job. This chapter also encompassed
Narcissism and Entitlement. So
some of these concepts are rolling around in my head and I believe there is a
great deal of relevant material to process related to Narcissism and
Humanism. I think it is
interesting that Humanism holds the view that man’s ability to reason is sufficient
for everything he needs, although his behavior dictates otherwise. I believe this is why Humanism defines
itself as progressive. The belief
here is that man can be progressively evolving into a better person. The problem is that there is no
definition for who gets to decide what “better” looks like, or what the
“greater good of humanity” looks like.
I believe that Behaviorism, which is Skinner’s theory, holds the
answer. Behaviorism says that
people are generally good, and can be helped to achieve their goal by modifying
their behavior. I personally don’t
really like having my behavior modified by anyone but me. The side effect of Skinner’s theory is that the ones with the
most power decide what right and wrong look like. I believe we are living in a time when the powerful few
among us are using behaviorism to establish their version of right and wrong. They do this through the messages that
the media sends to us.
Remember when the media said the
Tea Party was “violent?” There was
no actual violence. They said they
were rioting, yet there were no riots.
They said they were angry, but when the camera panned the crowd there
was no behavior to indicate anger.
It’s was a bunch of grandparents holding signs that said “I love The Constitution,” and stuff like
that. Yet when the “Occupy”
movement came along, they were called peaceful and spontaneous by the
media. Even after many young women
were raped at the sites and they actually did condone violence as a legitimate
method of social protest, they were being continually broadcast as mainstream
Interestingly, the easiest problem
for a behaviorist to fix is the one that he creates, because he’s already got
the prescription planned out. He
just has to convince the client or patient that this particular illness is the
problem. He has to redefine the
illness in terms that the patient can believe in. Then the patient does all the work. I believe that the progressive
leadership (not just American leadership) is attempting to rewrite history as
they have indicated they need to do.
America is not the Soviet Union of the 1980’s. But that is what the “Occupy” movement is saying. America is the only place in the world
where you and I have the opportunity to achieve our dreams. We are not the slaves of the elite that
the “Occupy” movement says we are.
I believe the “Occupy” movement is right about one thing though, and
this is how they are able to reach the hearts of Americans today. The problem with the Soviet Union in
the 80’s and America today, is that both countries have been victims of
Cronyism. Cronyism is,
“The practice of favoring one’s
friends, especially in political appointments(2).”
It was Cronyism that caused the
Russians to replace their government.
The people in Russia knew that their politicians were living the good
life on the French Riviera, while the common folks struggled to put bread on
the table. They saw the injustice
of the elite, and they were correct when it came to Russia. What we see today is the government
sanctioning the few socialists among us to redefine America through the lens of
what reshaped the Soviet Union.
They saw it work over there, and they believe they can control it over
here more easily because of our uninformed press (through behaviorism). However they just changed the name of
the problems through the media and they keep it fresh and new each day. They have called Capitalism the “failed
policies,” instead of blaming Cronyism.
They would have to own the problem personally if they tried to solve the
actual cause of the problem, which is Cronyism. So they are saying that capitalism is the problem. But I believe the distortion of
Capitalism by cronies is what has caused us to get into the mess we are
method of changing history is the same method that someone with a personality
disorder uses, in efforts to avoid responsibility for their behaviors. It’s called externalization. We are hearing each day that we are the
victims of our unjust and unfair society.
The easily manipulated media and the campaign managers are creating (or
behaviorally conditioning) a country full of victims who need the government to
recue us from our evil society. We
need them to come save us. Then
the government helps us by bullying (crony capitalism) the very companies that
you and I work for and contribute to, through our retirement funds each
week. This may have worked
for the Soviet Union, but it is self-mutilation to encourage us to attack our
own society. Self-mutilation or
self-harm is a form of coping skill that I have treated frequently in my
clinical experience. Self-harm can
be cutting or physically harming ourselves on our bodies. It is frequently done to remind the
individual of internal wounds that cannot be fully understood or expressed. It is our inability as a nation
to identify where our internal wound exists, that makes us harm ourselves. Because we can’t see where the hurt is
located, we are told over and over again until radical elements pick up on it
enough to progressively begin the treatment.
We are the only nation in the world
where the government is: of, by and for the people. We are the government, and we are Wall-Street. We are all connected to both. You cannot divide the family of America
into class warfare groups and expect the nation to endure. You will end up with cronies who win,
instead of cronies who get voted out of office. They are attempting to manipulate you. They are doing it in the media. The
method is called behaviorism, which is founded on humanism, which is a progressive
worldview that lifts up man as his own god. The consequence for this type of thinking is spelled out in
the Bible as spiritual death. But
Jesus paid the price of spiritual death for you. So what about you?
In whom do you place your hope?
Do you strive for self-improvement, which ends in exaltation of yourself
and Narcissism, or do you place your hope in the only human to ever have the
authority to walk into the throne room of God as heir to the throne? He walked into the room with all the
rights and privileges of the owner of the house. It’s a house, which cannot be divided by any media or
message or government. He bears
the scars of your sin on His body.
His wounds can heal your self-injury. (1 Peter 2:24) He already knows what you need.