We are a society that attaches our hopes for a better world onto material advancement far more than on psychological advancement. Technology: controlling, manipulating, transforming the material world. If we only had a few more Gates Foundations, we would really be able to solve the world’s major problems.
A psychological point of view sees things differently. Psychoanalyst Michael Eigen puts it plainly: “Sooner or later, we will have to discover how to work with factors in ourselves.” (Rage, 172, my emphasis) C.S. Lewis said much the same thing from a different angle when he noted that advances in technology always mean the power of some people over others. (The Abolition of Man, 69) How can we keep not learning that no matter how technologically smart we get, the world’s major problems always come back to factors in ourselves?
How to work with factors in ourselves (psychotherapy) is a drastically less developed area of understanding in our society than how to bend nature to our wills (technology). We are like the caricatures an artist draws at a street fair: Our brains are overblown, our hearts shrunken. Our hearts here represent not simply feeling, but our capacities for intelligence wedded to feeling, and therefore our potential for growth and change.
Change in a person doesn’t appear to be a solely intellectual project. This is obvious on the macro level of political change: Martin Luther King was not moved by his mind alone, nor did he move others that way. The “Arab Spring” was not conceived of and initiated by political scientists. Nor does revolution within a person come about or progress through mainly rational channels. (And of course, where else does the political begin than in individuals?)