The mapping of neurology and genetics only diagrams a territory of information and signals that we project human meaning into. This is the domain of the science of semiotics – of which human narrative is a subset. Discovering correlations and even causations among informational codes, biological processes, and human events does not in any way imply what the meaning of those connections is or how they should be treated. This is the domain of philosophy and spirituality: ethics, aesthetics, and the art of choice. Every medical act is political before it is scientific. We many ask the question: What kind of people should there be? No one has the answer. This is a question of choice.
I for one can resonate with the project of Antonin Artaud, the poet and actor who was incarcerated and electro-shocked in France in the 1940s: “To have done with the judgement of God.” By which he does not just mean the the end of judgement within every religion but the eradication of the Superego in the sense of an externalized and abstract judgment which humans have not been able to function without. Judgement used to function in religion and politics and now it floats freely within and amongst us. This is what Freud discovered and called the Uber-Ich or Over-I (later translated as Superego.) That which is above me and looks down on me is comforting even as it is oppressive. That is why the only way to get rid of oppression and judgement is to take responsibility for our actions. Lacan said that we can do without the name of the father only if we know how to use it. By which he meant the stabilizing and individuating effect that the patriarchal god and king and nuclear father provide can be replaced only by taking responsibility for our speech and action.
The end of the psychoanalytic process is a version of enacting our life as a series of choices and writing our selves into existence – a speech-act. Which is actually the fulfillment of the ancient idea of Karma – which means the exact opposite of what people think: not an account book of legality or morality but a science of action, a savoir-faire. Karma means action in sanskrit. And not a thing can be learned as long as one follows authority – cultural, moral, or scientific – until one acts freely and receives the results of this action as learning for the next action. Every free act takes place in a void but brings wisdom. This was not only the teaching of Buddha but of Socrates and Christ as well. “To have done with the judgement of God” will be complete when we follow this path of individuation. This is what I call the path of maturity – in the same sense that wine matures over time by enduring challenging conditions. As opposed to the castration or compromise of moving from animal drive and infantile need to adult fear, guilt, and submission. What replaces this compromise is the acceptance of loss, death, and transformation, the transience of all things, the radical difference that isolates us and frees us to choose to connect. What follows is the conscious struggle against ourselves to sublimate our drives as the alchemist of Materia and artist of Psyche: to render the sublime.
A true a-theist is not a materialist. Usually an atheist is a believer who has replaced the place of God with another God – whether it be nature, science, materialism or anti-theism. An a-theist is he has understood and evacuated the structure that requires the Other – the all powerful observer or subject supposed to know who watches over us or informs us. To have done with the judgement of God. But the true a-theist, the man of sovereignty, autonomy, and individuation is not a materialist. For that would mean nothing other than to accept the given – which would mean not only to be animal, to be natural, but to make the fundamental ontological mistake of experiencing Being as static. Rather the true a-theist is another kind of spiritualist who negates the natural, the material, and the given for the revelation of spirit as becoming. The void in the material is the infinite power of spirit: the ontological truth that Being is Becoming.