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The Synthesis, by RG Martin Volumes I to VII

A Synthesis of Philosophy, Modern Science, Psychology, Politics, and Spirituality

The Synthesis, by RG Martin

Vol V  Pschological Theories

An Introduction to The Synthesis

The theories of Rogerianism, Psychiatry, Behaviorism, and Existentialism,

Note for the Special Edition of Volume V

You are holding a special printing of Volume V, which was printed so that it could be read on its own, without reading Volume I and Volume II. So that you can better understand the themes of Foundations, as well as the philosophical and scientific foundations of Volume III, I have included the Preface and Introduction to all three volumes, which is usually only found in Volume I.

Get ready to board.

Preface (from Volume I)

Make a decision

You may have a life. Thus, you may not have the time or the desire to read this whole book. You may be busy enjoying life, making money, having erotic sexual experiences, searching for true love, nourishing relationships, raising a family, progressing in your career, growing spiritually, or doing other useful projects.


Main ideas

If this is the case, I have listed below the main ideas, themes, and hypotheses of Foundations. If you have a good understanding of these ideas, you don’t have to read the book. You can also decide whether or not 1) you agree with these main ideas; 2) you find the ideas interesting; or 3) these ideas seem like a waste of your time.

Then you can decide whether Foundations is worth reading or if life is calling you to put this book down and move on to better things.

The main ideas in Volume III, this volume, will be listed first, with the page number of the idea.  The main ­­ideas in Volume I and Volume II are listed next, and they will have only the Section numbers, which will be in parenthesis (Sections #1 to 38).

A list of all of the ideas in Foundations—of all three Volumes—can be found in the Appendix (p. 329).   In the Appendix, Volume III will have the page numbers and Volume I and II will have only the Section numbers of the ideas.

Here is a list of the main ideas: 

Volume III (this volume)

Life is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved.

(pp. 101)

Whatever happens to you is the best thing that could happen. (p. 208)

You can look at God, as you understand Him, as being your spiritual director and His giving you life situations in order for you to grow in mental health and spiritual maturity. (p. 103 and pp. 200-210)

Thoughts eventually become actions. Actions eventually become habits. Habits determine your life. And you control your thoughts.

(p. 63)

Man needs meaning. (pp. 90-97)

Making decisions and taking action is essential for mental health.

(p. 104-116)

You can learn more by listening and asking the right questions than by talking. (pp. 26-29 and p. 298)

Many people spend their lives denying extinction. (pp. 149-161)

The heart is more important than the head for mental health. (p. 198)

Life is the best therapist. (p. 197)

Arrogance can be a serious mental disorder. (pp. 165-179)

It is more mentally healthy to live as an authentic person than to live as an act. (pp. 165-170)

Catastrophizing can reduce anxiety. (pp. 74-76)

The present moment is all that counts. (pp. 205-206)

You can decide to have a good life. (pp. 82-83)

We all strive for superiority. (pp. 231-239)

We all strive for power. (pp. 239-242)

Many of us are spoiled children. (pp. 258-270)

A main drive in life is to duplicate our genes. (pp. 243-257)

Most conflicts can be resolved. (pp. 293-296)

We can influence groups to have an orderly dialogue that gets somewhere. (pp. 287-293)

Absolute truth may be a spirit rather than a hypothesis or a mathematical equation. (p. 311)

The fundamental unit of reality’s phenomena may be the spirit of universal mystical love. (p. 311)

Note: the ideas below are found in Volume I and Volume II.  The “# number” refers to the Section number.


Volume I

To improve the client’s quality of life is the main goal of social work, psychology, and counseling. (Vol. I, Intro)

We don’t know anything for sure. (Vol. I, #2)

It is of primary importance to perceive reality accurately.

(Vol. I, #2.1)

Forgiveness is essential for mental health. (Vol. I, #2.2)

Ingratitude is the greatest of sins. (Vol. I, #2.2)

Optimism works better than pessimism. (Vol. I, #2.2)

The realistic idealist is perhaps the most mentally healthy person. (Vol. I, #2.4)

We can see reality more clearly through the lens of the dialectic.

(Vol I., #3)

History moves toward higher levels of truth. (Vol. I, #3.2)

It is more philosophically valid to be holistic. (Vol. I, #4)


Volume II

Fundamentalism can be mentally unhealthy. (Vol. II, #7.2)

If facts and reason contradict your religious mythology, it is more mentally healthy to modify your mythology to be congruent with reason and “proven” facts. (Vol. II, #7.2)

When religion picks a fight with science, science usually wins.

(Vol. II, #7.2)

Everyday life can be seen as an informal scientific laboratory.

(Vol. II, #9)

A good path toward mental health can be seen as developing a habit of continually testing your ideas and beliefs with the informal scientific method. (Vol. II, #9)

A belief in a religious mythology, such as Christianity, is just as philosophically respectable as an atheist mythology. Neither can be proved or disproved. (Vol. II, #13.1)

Any idea that cannot be proven or disproved is true by definition. But it may be meaningless. (Vol. II, #13.1)

There is no contradiction between reason and faith. (Vol. II, #13.2)

Newton’s mechanical universe has been disproved by history and now a mystical universe more accurately describes the universe’s phenomena. (Vol. II, #17)

It is more mentally healthy to accept reality as it is, rather than to live in an illusion or spend a lifetime complaining about reality.

(Vol. II, #19.2)

Many aspects of life are relative, but some are reasonably absolute and invariant. (Vol. II, #20.2)

Macro problems can significantly affect our clients’ lives.

(Vol. II, #21)

Many things that appear to be different are the same underneath.

(Vol. II, #21.1)

We all live in myth. (Vol. II, #27)

Men aren’t useless. (Vol. II, #29.3)

Because human beings have limited minds, there is no certainty in life. There are no cause-and-effect relationships. There is no definite reality. (Vol. II, #29.5)

Many people believe in God during the week but not on Sunday.

(Vol. II, #29.7)

God plays dice. (Vol. II, #30)

We could stop telling God what to do. To be more mentally healthy, we can fully accept our psychosocial situation and make the best of it. (Vol. II, #30)

There are many paradigms with which to see reality. Many of these are contradictory but equally accurate and functional. However, not all paradigms are equal. (Vol. II, #30.4)

Life is fuzzy and unclear. But we can put on cognitive eyeglasses and see life clearer. (Vol. II, #30.7)

Free will exists. (Vol. II, #30.7)

In the end, much of our life comes down to free will decisions.

(Vol. II, #30.7)

Certainty is a decision not a reality. (Vol. II, #31)

There is order underneath our world of chaos. (Vol. II, #32)

Life is self-organizing. (Vol. II, #32)

Often a simple twist of fate or a simple decision has dramatic effects down the road. (Vol. II, #32.2)

Speciesism may be more dysfunctional than racism, sexism, or nationalism. (Vol. II, #32.5)

The organized person may be more mentally healthy than the natural and instinctual person. (Vol. II, #34)


This ends our overview of the main ideas of Foundations. So if you have decided to go on with this adventure, let’s get started. I’m confident that you will have an interesting and rewarding journey.

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