Do you remember geometry, that subject you used to study in your high-school? Perhaps you remember that, at a certain moment, you encountered the term of “Euclidean Geometry”, and they told you that this is the geometry you’re learning. Then, perhaps you remember that everything that is built in geometry relies on a couple of assumptions called axioms. Everything you build, geometry, philosophical systems, etc., stays on the basis of one or several axioms. An axiom is an assumption that you don’t demonstrate, it’s something you take “as is”.
Some of you might remember – if you were lucky to live in a country where learning is taken seriously – that there is a kind of geometry that is different from the Euclidean one. It’s the Absolute Geometry. The difference? Well, the Euclidean Geometry basically says that 2 parallel lines never cross each-other. Sounds obvious, eh? Well, in Absolute Geometry, this assumption is not part of the axiomatic system; the Absolute Geometry doesn’t say a word about this: it may be or it might not be so…
The term of Absolute Geometry was introduced by a guy from Cluj-Napoca, Romania: János Bolyai. The local university is called Babes-Bolyai in his honor. You’ll find several links at the end of my text, in case you want to go in depth with geometry. But what might sound strange to you is that Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity happens in a Non-Euclidean Space, and the Euclidean Space is only a “good-enough” approximation in certain conditions. In other words, if you accept Einstein’s work, you accept a reality into which 2 parallel lines actually meet somewhere…
In Psychology, you work with people’s beliefs. A belief is just like an axiom; the person will defend its belief no matter what. In CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), the worst thing you can do is to try to change people’s beliefs. You change their thoughts, then this leads to a change in their emotions and behaviors. You offer to them alternative thoughts and perhaps they adopt them. But in order to change beliefs, you need a psychodynamic approach (psychoanalysis or something similar). These techniques go deeper, and still, changing one’s beliefs is something he/she does, hopefully, when they perceive them as ego-dystonic. It took many years for evolution in the field of geometry; it takes years for a person to change her belief system that prevents her from having a good life…
One particular aspect I’d like to emphasize now is why you might see me as taking a neutral approach towards some main-stream ideas. For most of the people in this world, religion (namely the belief in a God) is something seen as common-sense. Just like the Euclidean Space where, obviously, 2 parallels never meet. Well, there are people that are living in a Non-Euclidean Psychology Space: they do not believe in God. They are atheists. Everything you see on the internet, especially on social sites, implies that people believe in a Higher Power. In reality, what I encounter in real-life situations is a lack of belief in God. You would be shocked to see that most people pretend to believe in God or prefer to keep this issue private so that they can hide it better. When sorrow strikes, most of these guys have suicidal thoughts. From the first few words exchanged with a suicidal patient, you see that faith is pulverized and you can’t rely on it. As a rule, I always ask the suicidal patient if he’s not afraid of the fact that committing suicide is a sin. The (true) Christians refrain and repress their suicidal thoughts, but someone believing in reincarnation will tell you, in a relaxed way, that “no problem, I shall return to solve my issues in my next life”. That is the moment when “Euclidean Psychology” ends. You forget everything you knew, everything you have learned, you exclude from your mind your own values and principles. You become an atheist. And you try to find a solution for the human being in front of you, using her own beliefs. You turn Non-Euclidean. And at some point, if everything fails, you regress to “Absolute Psychology”; you’re using absolute truths and basic stuff. And from this position, you challenge the other.
Knowing what is “Euclidean” and what is “Absolute” takes time. You have to learn your own Euclidian system (for me is the Christian Orthodox Church), you must study Non-Euclidian systems (the other beliefs of the World, and they’re thousands), and in the end, you come in contact with the “Absolute”, transcendental, issues: Time, Freedom, Love, Responsibility, Life, etc. There are several paths leading to the same source. Often, scientists, masters of several religions, meet and discover they speak the same language. It’s a language of existential values, of wide-spread common principles. Patterns emerge. And the key, as a good psychotherapist, is to be able to say the same thing in various vocabularies, for people coming from various cultures and belief systems. Up to now, I can say exactly the same thing using Psychoanalysis, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt, Jungian Analysis, CBT/Schema Therapy, Existentialism, etc., but I can also use spiritual teachings of Christianity or Eastern (China, India, etc.) beliefs. The languages I use vary, but what I’m actually saying is… Absolute Psychology.
Absolute geometry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_geometry
Euclidean geometry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euclidean_geometry
Non-Euclidean geometry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Euclidean_geometry
Parallel postulate – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_postulate