May 22, 2010

The Psyche and Passions

The Church Fathers developed a great and profound anthropological teaching on the psyche and the passions of man. According to them, in the psyche you can distinguish intelligent and passible parts. The passible, again, comprises passionate and desiring parts.
  1. The intelligent part contains the reasoning powers of the psyche; the thoughts and cognitive powers.
  2. The passionate parts are the positive and negative emotions; love and hate.
  3. The desiring part contains the good desires of the virtues and the bad desires for pleasure; for enjoyment, avarice, gluttony, the worship of the flesh and the carnal passions.
Unless these three parts of the psyche, the intelligent, the passionate, and the desiring, are cleansed, man cannot receive the Grace of God within himself, and cannot be deified.
  1. The intelligent part is cleansed by watchfulness, which is the continuous guarding of the nous from thoughts, keeping the good thoughts and rejecting the bad.
  2. The passionate part, again, is cleansed by love.
  3. Finally, the desiring part is cleansed by self-control.
All these parts are both cleansed and sanctified by prayer. - Archimandrite George, Abbott of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios on Mt. Athos, from “Theosis-Deification as the Purpose of Man’s Life”

1 comment:

Allen said...

Helpful distinctions! Thanks for sharing these!