Delusion and Denial
The text represents the mind of Murdock circa 1990.
Murdock was a conformist to culturally acquired beliefs, for example:
? There exists some god or goddess worthy of our attention.
? Dreams and other mind generated experience are symbolic messages from a collective unconscious.
? The collective unconscious is inherently archetypal and universally expressed as myth.
There is no evidence supporting any of the above claims, but Murdock made it clear in her text that she subscribed to all of them, and much more. Part of her orientation came from conformity (her best-crafted cognitive skill) to neo-Jungian culture, tweaking it a bit to suit her peculiar delusions. I am not a fan of Carl Jung?s philosophy, because it is pseudo-science of the worst sort?the type of thing that if internalized can only lead to more delusional thinking.
Murdock?s concept of psychology was, like Jung?s, also pseudo-science. She derived her views by conforming to an already established metaphysical tradition, again tweaking it a bit to suit her own worldview. Her source was ?The Hero with a Thousand Faces? by the late Joseph Campbell.
Murdock consulted with Campbell, and as is typical of conformity-oriented persons, she decided to go along with his general schema adding more to suit her own tastes. Objective and rational inquiry were not Campbell?s forte.
Murdock and Campbell shared early and intense socialization in Roman Catholic dogma and ritual. Both generalized the schema into a convoluted metaphysical worldview including other religious traditions.
The bulk of Murdock?s (as well as Campbell?s) text consists of non-sequiturs, argument from ignorance, begging the question, and other errors of reasoning as well as straightforward religious propaganda. It is glued together with appeals to misandry. Her idea of psychotherapy was suffering and ego-disintegration:
?If we chose, however, to honor the descent as sacred and as a necessary aspect of the quest to fully know ourselves, fewer women would lose their way in depression, alcohol, abusive relationships, or drugs. They could experience their feelings without shame, reveal their pain without apathy.? (Murdock, 90)
Given the problems Murdock has experienced in her own mind, a wise reader would demand proof before accepting such extravagant claims. Ego disintegration is a well-known mind control cult tactic. Let the buyer beware.
?This quality of empathy or being with the pain helps one to move through it. . . If we have the patience to allow the process its full due, deep healing can occur.? (Murdock, 108)
Murdock was convinced that she had been socialized to regard herself as rather low in the pecking order in her family and religion. In her book she generalized the cause of her mental distress to be male-dominated culture. But her recollections of personal abuse from her mother sticks in my mind as predictive of her psychological predicament for years thereafter:
?When I fell in love with my first boyfriend at seventeen, my mother decided that I was possessed by the devil and set up an appointment with the local priest to exorcise me. . . By age twenty-one . . . I actualized her worst fears by arriving home pregnant and engaged. [She] called me a prostitute. My pregnant body . . . was scorned and ridiculed.? (Murdock, 133)
The greater issues of society, in Murdock?s opinion, are related to male domination. In Murdock?s view gender role stereotypes were created by men and internalized by women:
?Our society is androcentric: it sees the world from a male perspective. Men are rewarded for their intelligence, drive, and dependability through position, prestige, and financial gain in the world. To the degree that women are like men they are similarly but not equally rewarded.? (Murdock, 13)
?On a cultural level, the established order is one of deeply entrenched patriarchal values, But on the personal level, the old order is embodied by the mother, and the heroine?s first task toward individuation is to separate from her.? (Murdock, 14)
?Because society denigrates feminine qualities a woman is not likely to value herself as a woman. She is seen and sees herself as lacking and operates out of the myth of inferiority. She looks around and sees men achieving?men who are not as intelligent, creative, or ambitious as she. This confuses here but confirms what she has observed about cultural attitudes...? (Murdock, 14)
Her experience is not universal to all women, not even among devout Roman Catholics.
Murdock currently (2013) promotes herself as ?an author, educator, and Jungian-oriented family therapist? on her website [maureenmurdockblog.com] as of October 18, 2013, date of this post. The following is what she has got for her philosophy:
?This blog and my upcoming book, ?Hooked on Hope,? is about the concurrent journey a mother takes alongside her son?s mental illness and drug addiction. We are companions along the trail. I may not experience the uncontrollable mood swings my son does, but I am caught in the bi-polarity of his illness. I move from hope to despair, confusion to determination, serenity when he is enjoying an episode of health and stability, fear and hopelessness when he is not.?
Notice that Murdock was describing above her own emotional instability. She has invoked the disease model of mental health to explain her son?s behavior. I did not find any mention in her book of having applied it to herself.
Is that what you want for your mind?
Try something else.