Sam Keen’s Insights on the Unconscious and Religion

My friend John F has directed me to the work of Sam Keen on matter’s related to the extent to which we are driven by our unconscious brain systems, the stories we have installed in us about reality and how best to go about uninstalling these. I like his short clip on You Tube at:

I also like Sam’s work on religion. He suggests five stages that religion goes through, in my words:

  1. The initial impulse where a figure like Moses, Christ, Buddha, Mohammed goes off into the wilderness and gets deeply in touch with a new way of seeing reality
  2. The gathering of disciples: a group of followers who are touched by the deep insights from stage 1, get together and are changed in the process
  3. The disciples develop a theology that tries to put some structure around the deep insights and draw conclusions from it
  4. The theology leads to the foundation of an institutional structure that propagates the theology and ensures it is sustained
  5. The institutional structure realizes it needs to connect to political power to both protect it and continue its growth, not to mention as part of a struggle with other religions for influence, followers and other ways to contest the respective realities of the different religions.


Sam suggests we should aim to get back to Stage 1.

And old my friend Philip Roderick in his project Contemplative Fire is I think trying to go in that direction from within an established Church:

I also liked this quote from Sam on work:

‘There is no easy formula for determining right and wrong livelihood, but it is essential to keep the question alive. To return the sense of dignity and honor to manhood, we have to stop pretending that we can make a living at something that is trivial or destructive and still have sense of legitimate self-worth. A society in which vocation and job are separated for most people gradually creates an economy that is often devoid of spirit, one that frequently fills our pocketbooks at the cost of emptying our souls.’

Thanks John for this connection.



About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Neuro-science of conflict, Religious Conflict, Uncategorized, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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