Excerpt About Death
Reactions to the Notion that Soul is "dead" in Modern SocietyThe orientation of modern and postmodern times has been criticized by many thinkers and philosophers as having a general dehumanizing effect, due in part to our increased dependence on science and technology. Our material improvement, they argue, has happened at the expense of inner spiritual and moral richness, resulting in a pervasive psychic emptiness. The human effects of this development have been described by various significant Western thinkers, and also by broad movements in philosophy, psychology, and even physical science. We can see this, for example, in the work of Nietzsche, who described one consequence in his notion of the death of God. We can see it in the development of phenomenology and existentialism in philosophy, as exemplified in the work of Heidegger and his insight into how Western philosophy has forgotten Being. We see it also in the phenomenal increase of interest in Eastern spiritual teachings and shamanic approaches, in the revival of interest in the various Western mystical schools, and even in the latest rise of fundamentalism in all the major faiths. Even though what is called the New Age movement contains many superficial and distorted elements, it is an expression of the awareness of a certain lack and a sense of emptiness; it is a response to a felt need. We can see the response to this need in the emergence and development of humanistic, existential, and transpersonal psychologies that recognize the underlying emptiness of the positivistically based mainstream of Western psychology. We see it in the rise and proliferation of many approaches and disciplines of the human potential movement, the growth movement, and the many consciousness groups and self help approaches. These developments in psychology indicate an increasing awareness of the death of soul in our postmodern, primarily psychological, society.