Psychologist Vyacheslav Borovsky, about Pride

Psychologist Vyacheslav Borovsky speaking of pride as the cause of neurosis (TV program “First Nature”).

Vyacheslav Borovsky

Part 1.

Hello. This is again the mental health program. So we are talking about pride. What kind of problem is this and how do we recognize it?

As a doctor, I have recently been most often visited by people suffering from neuroses. Neuroses are such a mental pathology that few people now know in psychiatry. This includes various kinds of fears, anxiety, obsessive states, obsessive thoughts, obsessive actions. This includes astheno-depressive disorders, when a person gets tired very quickly, and his mood drops, and he becomes indifferent, he falls into apathy. Neuroses are the most common mental pathology for today. However, not understanding the true cause of these neuroses, psychiatry is trying to make itself distant from them. They are called “neuroses” - in my opinion, quite unsuitably, and this name suggests that the nervous system is unsound. It is unsound, of course, but secondarily. And this whole group of diseases itself was referred to the so-called borderline pathology, artificially separated from psychiatry, because there are no psychoses, there is no psycho-production, the person thinks critically, he understands that some kind of trouble is happening to him, but he cannot do anything – the man has lost his composure; he is not his own master. And the newly emerging science of psychotherapy has actively taken up this pathology and is trying to help these people. But as far as we can see, the secular approach of psychotherapy is also ineffective. It can temporarily relieve the condition of a neurotic. But no psychotherapy based on a rational approach to a person can save him from this problem, heal, replenish this deficiency, which was formed in the human will and in human feelings.

So, the whole problem is pride as the initial spiritual state of a person. This is our main pathology. And the whole diverse palette of the so-called neuroses is the manifestation of pride. Well, how can it be otherwise? After all, what is a neurosis? Here in all these manifestations that I have listed. Yes, this is a person’s loss of self-control. Yes, man ceases to be his own master. He really has no power over his thoughts, nor over his desires, nor over his actions. Moreover, with a healthy rest of his mind, he adequately reflects over the situation and understands that he is sick, that something terrible is happening to him, something destructive, but he cannot resist it. And why did this happen?

Yes, because a person initially did not know his original pathology in which he was born. He did not know that he was proud, that he was presumptuous, that he considered himself the source of his life. The fact that he essentially took the place of God and does not want to give this place to God. Meanwhile, God is the only source of human life and all blessings. And this pathological autonomy of man, his artificial independence from God (it is artificial, because it is artificially created in the human mind - in fact, there can be no independence of man from God) - this deprives a person of the opportunity to develop. Indeed, in man there is no source of his own development, as in a created being. No self-development, no self-improvement, no self-affirmation - none of this is possible. Here is the spiritual and physical potential with which we are born, which God has laid in our personality, which we got as a gift at birth, and we can use this potential and we do use it - we use our mind, will, feelings, talents, some endowments, giftedness. And we can achieve something, can manage it. We can get some kind of education, accumulate life experience, we can start a family, give birth to children, manage even to educate them as we can. But the fact is that when we do all this, relying only on ourselves, then the potential with which we were born is lost and is not replenished, because we do not use the source of replenishment of this potential. And sooner or later, we begin to experience the loss of this potential.

Just like the battery that was released at the factory, so shiny and beautiful, but as soon as it was inserted into some kind of electrical appliance, something immediately twirled, it lit up, it sounded, an image appeared, but despite all the visibility of the vital activity of what this battery does, the battery itself discharges and sooner or later runs out. Sooner or later, it will lose its potential, and there will be nothing to shine, to spin, or to show. And so is the man. And just like a battery, in order to fill its potential, it must be connected to a common power supplu, at least periodically, both the mobile phone’s battery and a person must, if not constantly, then, periodically be connected to a common power supply, which God is for him, the Creator, the Source of our life, Cause of our life. The reason for everything that we represent.

So, neurosis is exactly when the battery is dead. The most subtle and highest property of the human spirit (one of the highest and most subtle properties) is free will. When a person can afford doing what he does not want or not doing what he wants. This very ability to rise above his own nature. And namely this property of our soul or our spirit is lost in the first place, because "a chain is no stronger than its weakest link".

Self-control is what we lose. And we find this not when we begin experiencing fears, panic attacks, obsessive states and actions, or when we plunge into gloom and impenetrable sadness. No, this manifests itself much earlier - even in childhood. When a baby loses his temper, when his parents refuse to give him sweets. These are the first signals of loss of self-control, which will then turn from such short-term attacks, followed by more or less long periods of self-control, they will switch to such a permanent state when a person will no longer have any internal resources to control himself. And the man himself cannot restore this lost resource by anything. Here is a clear manifestation of pride in us. We just run out of breath. Pride "cleans us out". It all starts with self-control, and ends with despair. And after all, it is pride that leads to numerous suicides when a person, not finding his inner strength, in order to overcome this painful and tormenting soul disorder, despairs and agrees to the last thought that demons inspire him - the idea of suicide.

We are talking about the loss of self-control. But nature abhors a vacuum. Where a person is deprived of his God-given abilities - if this void is not filled by God Himself, who gave these abilities to a man - then this place is taken by God's opponent - the devil. Then the will of the devil is imposed on man. Therefore, there are so many disorders that we call neuroses - they are called so: obsessive disorders. Although, in my opinion, any neurotic disorder can be called an obsessive state. Even when it comes to addictions. After all, this arrogant way of life sooner or later leads a person to the development of one or another addiction. Addiction is the loss of self-control. But we see that this person is very active. A person who is addicted to, for example, alcohol, drugs, tobacco. If he lacks the usual poison, he performs a titanic activity to get it. But what is this if not an obsessive state? What is this if not an obsessive action under obsessive thoughts?

And so, we see that pride necessarily leads a person to slavery to the devil. To slavery to the devil - whether he wants it or not, but it will be an empty person. It looks very pathetic. When a person, once self-confident, arrogant, self-righteous, who used to set goals and sometimes very large, ambitious goals, achieve these goals, lived, spent his life potential, which he received from God for nothing, and came to this broken trough. When he sees that he was such an intelligent, strong, willed man, and then he turned into some kind of miserable, cowardly, all-fearing creature, trembling from everything, he lost peace and sleep, he is afraid for himself, for his loved ones, for his property, which he made. A person begins to escape from this state in some other addictions, such as alcohol, drugs and so on. He is trying to get away from this reality and is even more deeply immersed in this lack of will and in slavery to the devil.

What is the way out? We will talk about this next time.

Part 2.

Hello. This is the mental health program.

So, we see what pride is in its manifestations. Neuroses – the most common pathology of our time – not only in our country, but throughout the world – are a vivid confirmation of this. We are losing our temper. We become weak, lacking willpower, afraid of everything, losing peace, sleep. I'm not saying that we are absolutely losing satisfaction from the fact that we live. Once arrogant and self-righteous man will not gain any happiness. On the contrary, pride will devastate a person and doom him to a miserable existence.

We now see that doctors are not able to help a person suffering from a neurosis or neuroses. Whoever takes up this problem: whether a psychiatrist with his medication methods of treatment, a psychotherapist with his psychotherapy based on secular humanism, or neuropathologists (the name is based on “neurosis”, thus, it means the nervous system is unsound) with its drugs, with his own methods of exposure, physiotherapeutic effects - we see that there is no benefit from this - the neurosis not only does not go away, but it deepens.

So, if you take a healthy position, a healthy look at the nature of man and understand that a person is primarily a spiritual being and that everything else in him is unsound secondarily, then it becomes possible to help this person. Moreover, a person can get out of this state better than he was before experiencing it – this is what happens, as a rule. The fact is that as soon as a person falls to the source of his life, the source of everything that we have, and everything that we represent, to God, and he begins healthy communication with Him in the Church, then the neurosis goes away as unnecessary.

Why unnecessary? Just because neurosis is such a circumstance that puts a person face to face with God, when a person realizes that he himself is not capable of anything, that he himself is a miserable creature, unable to provide himself with not only a happy and some kind of carefree existence, but he cannot even live without thinking about suicide every day. He needs an external force, he needs a source of life - an external one. And this is not an external or outside source of life – God – He meets a person in the Church. And then real miracles happen. Miracles for non-church people, because secular medicine is incapable of such a thing. A person regains self-control, and in a much better way, because he already has experience of losing it, the experience of the loss of self-control is a painful, bitter experience, and the experience of gaining is not immediate, it happens gradually because the problem has developed for years, if not for decades, and it does not have one-time solutions with some one-time manipulations. A person can take the path of a healthy spiritual life and immediately be convinced that he is on the right way because he experiences relief and improvement of his well-being right away. But this period of replenishment of the lost occurs gradually and over time. And a person during this time understands that what he loses in life – first of all, this self-control – God fills with Himself.

This is the only way to get rid of the neurosis, when the Lord fills all that we have lost with His grace. Because after all, we have lost what He gave us. All that we have lost and foolishly considered our own is His. This is His property given to us at birth. Therefore, we didn’t spend our own, but His, and when we begin to understand this, realize and repent with all our hearts and ask God for mercy (and mercy means healing in the Orthodox), then all this happens, then The Lord heals us, He makes us whole, He fills these shortcomings. And then a person gains a joyful, meaningful being. Then man gains faith.

This is how the proverb says: ‘it was a blessing in disguise’. On the one hand, neurosis is certainly terrible, especially when you look at the total neuroticism of our society, but on the other hand, we see that neurosis is what leads a person to a healthy spiritual life. It returns him from the spiritual tradition from which he emerged and which he temporarily lost by the will of fate. And now people who turn to the church are mainly neurotics in one its form or another. This is our overconfident intellectuals, scientists, teachers, these are the same doctors, and people of any other profession, age, gender, standard of living, who somehow lost their temper, they come to the Church. And there can be nothing happier than this event. These are the very lost sheep, over which there is more joy in the kingdom of heaven - over one lost sheep than over ninety-nine non-lost ones.

This is the recovering part of our society that we can count on in the future - that they will become that new population that will revive and give birth to new generations of spiritually healthy citizens who will live in the future Russia.

Pride is the main reason for godlessness, that is, the separation of man from God. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (1 Pet 5: 5, James 4: 6). So humility is the opposite of pride. Humility is a gift of God to a repentant proud man when a person becomes disillusioned with himself and entrusts all his hopes, all his expectancies and all of himself to God.

And then the very paradigm of life changes. Humility gives a person an unusually stable type of personality. After all, when a person humbled himself and entrusted himself to God, he did not become miserable, insignificant, clogged - he was just like that as a result of pride. Pride makes a person a miserable and insignificant being, but humility just makes a person a strong personality, able to stand firmly on spiritual ground. And our patristic expression is very true, it says that a tree that swings very strongly and frequently in the wind strengthens its root system even more to stand firmer and take more from the soil on which it grew. Just like that, our pride, which subjects our lives to such worries and devastates us, forces us to kick against the pricks, which means it sways us, forces us to strengthen our root system sooner or later - to affirm ourselves in God, in the Source of our life.

Of course, now more and more people and a very large number of doctors understand this. This group of diseases itself is very numerous, which causes so much bewilderment in medicine, it makes many experts wonder if we are looking for the cause of these diseases in the needed place. And so many doctors are now convinced that a person is not only a soup kit that is given vital activity, a person has not only a brain, a person also has something that is not material. And what is immaterial in a person is much more significant and more fundamental, it is his foundation, it is the core of the personality. And if this core does not receive the necessary food for itself, then a person will necessarily get unsound, and here no superficial methods of treating the body or the psyche with the help of some external influences will ever solve the problem. There is only one way out for a person obsessed with pride (we all are such), and it is becoming a part of the church.

For such people: proud, arrogant, self-confident, relying only upon themselves, God created His Church. For the sake of such people, He came to earth to die, and then to rise again - so that we, the proud, had the opportunity to repent and wholeheartedly fall to God.

There is such a patristic expression: "Pride makes a man a fool." If we look at how each of us lives and how our society lives, we will see that we all are immersed in some continuous series of misunderstandings. And we rush from one way to solve a social, political or economic problem to another and run into the same obstacles. And here we see that neither politics, nor economics, nor the ways of social structure have any significance. Only one thing matters: what a person thinks of himself, what his spiritual platform is.