Individual consciousness can be "in control" over small areas of matter, but can only affect social consciousness in proportion to common understanding and action with other social consciousnesses. Only widespread agreement within the social consciousness can be "at cause" over large areas and systems of matter.
What is sanity?
Sanity is defined as the ability of an individual or group consciousness to understand:
- the rules of operation of material reality (both inorganic matter and life);
- the rules of operation of social consciousness;
- the rules of operation of individual consciousness;
- the relationships between each sphere - what concrete actions by individuals and groups can bring about desired changes in social and physical material reality.
For an individual consciousness, being "more sane" means "having a greater understanding of the rules of these three spheres, and thus being more able to affect change in individual, social and material reality in accordance with desire, in proportion to how many options for individual action are allowed by current social and material circumstances."
(Yes, after writing this I realised that my definition of "sanity" seems to be an expanded version of Crowley's definition of "magick". How bizarre, how bizarre.)
What can prevent an individual from being able to affect social and material reality?
- real social or material impediments (lack of options for individual action)
- a lack of correct understanding of the rules of the social or material world - this can be solved by study and experiment.
- problems in the individual consciousness which cause the rational centres of the mind to not be able to comprehend aspects of reality or the correct relationship between them. This is the domain of psychology.
In turn, these may be "hardware" or "software" problems - caused by physical or chemical imbalances in the body, or by assumptions and habits held in the subconscious mind and thus not amenable to rational analysis under normal circumstances, or by a combination of the two. (It could even be possible that humans are "hardwired" to not be able to properly understand reality, but I'm not going to believe that unless I see evidence for it.)
Sanity (defined as "correct perception of material reality") is distinguished from happiness. Unhappiness and other negative emotions are the natural and healthy reactions of a consciousness deprived wholly or partially of control over its circumstances of life - i.e. everyone everywhere at some time. Some crazy people are happy as hell, but we don't want to be crazy because it would mean total powerlessness. You couldn't be 100% sane and miserable all the time, because if you were 100% sane you would know predictably what could be done to make you happier, even temporarily (something that would temporarily restore your sense of being able to make things happen in your world).
Roughly: sanity = a correct perception of where an individual or group has power and where they do not. Happiness = perception of relative power. Unhappiness = perception of relative powerlessness. (This is a generalisation. Sorry, masochists. DOn't write me any nasty letters.)
Increasing sanity will therefore not directly increase happiness - it might decrease it, in the short term, as comfortable illusions are dispelled. However, it will increase an individual's ability to evoke positive emotions and dispel negative ones, by restoring the correct mental connections between emotions and the events that evoke them, and snapping incorrect connections between emotions and thoughts, concepts, people and objections, which become "self-sustaining". For example: something bad happened to you and you have an incorrect idea of why. You build habits of behaviour to try to avoid that ever happening again, but these are based on an incorrect assumption and thus don't work. Also, the pain is so bad that even remembering it hurts so you can't even look at the bad thing in order to correct your assumptions.
The process therefore runs:
Perception of the correct rules of consciousness and matter + perception of the correct relationship between emotion and action or outside events => increased ability to take effective action to affect consciousness and matter => increased ability to invoke positive emotion and dispel negative emotion (and to take effective corrective action in the case of external events reducing personal power and thus inflicting negative emotion.)
In brief, my essential problem with "self-help" therapy is that it embodies pre-existing social norms that the individual is finally and totally responsible for their personal reality, which I see as oppressive and an ideological tool of those who hold power (and of bullies, who all survive on the principle that their victims have the responsibility for their actions). Institutional psychology, on the other hand, seems to embody the idea that "sanity" means adapting smoothly to existing reality rather than an increased ability to affect it in accordance with desire - also an ideological tool of that which holds power.
I like UCP because it's simply a process of comparing memory, current perception and images of other possible or impossible realities, to understand the differences and connections between them all, and hence the correct relationship between individual consciousness and social and physical reality. This seems a good, basic way of increasing sanity, by the definition above. It's totally up to the individual to work out the connections between these for themselves - which could, of course, be a pitfall. The assumption is that the practitioner (absent organic damage which would impede a rational understanding of reality) will inevitably and eventually work out the correct patterns and connections between them, by experiment and by testing against reality, and this could be a false assumption. Only experiment and testing against reality will solve this!
We must also remember that "sane" doesn't mean "good". I would expand the concept to include "socially sane" - someone who not only has correct perceptions of power and powerlessness, but increases those correct perceptions among other people. I suppose you could be "individually sane" and methodically attempt to deprive others of sanity so you could rule and exploit them - I think many of the real leaders of our society fall into that category. Is a dictator or cult leader necessary crazy? I'm not sure. Hitler was mad as a mongoose, but Stalin seemed almost scarily, coldly rational. Stories vary over whether "LRH" actually believed his own lies or not.
But still, I would like to see scientific study of UCP and its beneficial effects and problems, in comparison with other "self-help" therapy, and with conventional, institutional psychology.
One final hint: I realise that by the above defnition, if you hold an idealist view of reality, you are ipso facto not entirely sane. Unless, of course, your ability to cause change in reality oustrips that of we materialists. Then we're the crazy ones. Go on. I dares ya.