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Maslow, A.H. (1966). The Psychological Aspect: Desacralizationxy. Am. J. Psychoanal., 26(2):148-155.
(1966). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 26(2):148-155
The Psychological Aspect: Desacralizationxy
Abraham H. Maslow
The NONSCIENTISTS, the poets, the religious, the artists, and ordinary people in general may have a point in their fear, and even hatred of what they see as science. They often feel it to be a threat to everything that they hold marvelous and sacred, to everything beautiful, sublime, valuable, and awe-inspiring. They sometimes see it as a contaminator, a spoiler, a reducer, that makes life bleak and mechanical, robs it of color and joy, and imposes on it a spurious certainty. Look into the mind of the average high school student and this is the picture you see.1 The girls will often shudder at the thought of marrying a scientist, as if he were some sort of respectable monster. Even when we resolve some of the misinterpretations in the layman's mind, such as his confounding the scientist with the technologist, his inability to differentiate between the “revolution scientist” and the “normal scientist” or between the physical and the social sciences, some justified complaint is left. This “need to desacralize as a defense” has, so far as I know, not been discussed by the scientists themselves.
Briefly put, it appears to me that science and everything scientific can be and often is used as a tool in the service of a distorted, narrowed, humorless, de-eroticized, de-emotionalized, desacralized and desanctified Weltanschauung. This desacralization can be used as a defense against being flooded by emotion, especially the emotions of humility, reverence,
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