The Echoes of the Mind (9-6) History of Psychology continued 1


From the time of the ancient Greeks until over a millennium later, modest contribution was made to psychology. The Romans had conquest and political intrigue on their minds, and the subsequent Dark Ages dampened academic activity.

In Europe, the Catholic Church was a singular refuge of erudition. Channeling Plato, 5th-century Latin theologian Augustine of Hippo advocated introspection as the way to know God. The bliss that came from contemplating God provoked Augustine to value faith over reason.

Augustine’s impact was profound. In placing reason as the stepchild to faith, Augustine cemented the delusional cornerstone of church dogma that continues to this day.

Following in Augustine’s footsteps, in the late 11th century, Anselm of Canterbury melded faith and reason with his famous ontological argument for the existence of God. Anselm’s ontological argument was an exercise in empiricism turned on its head. Its preamble was that if something can be thought of, then it exists. (Though fallacious, the credulous creed of believing what the mind conceives remains quotidian among the Collective.) As God, being perfect, is the greatest being that can be conceived, God must exist.

The march of faith-based ontology was interrupted in Europe in the mid-14th century when the Black Death culled 1/3rd of that continent’s population, making mundane matters more pressing than contemplation about God and his wondrous works.