Where there is the love of God, “Christ is all and in all” and “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man” “neither male nor female.” On the contrary, where self-love reigns, there one sees only oppositions, divisions, rivalries, envy, jealousy, dissensions, enmity, quarrels, aggression, all manifestations which are the fruits of this passion, as are unsociability, injustice, the exploitation of others and even murders and wars.
Self-love appears then to be deeply pathogenic on many levels, and is considered by the Fathers–as much in its nature as in its effects–as the mark of a man who has become mad and as itself being mad and profoundly irrational.
~Dr Jean-Claude Larchet (Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses vol.1, pp.149-150)
The Jesus Prayer can be strong medicine in the battle against our passions, but it must be applied to the source of our illness. It does no good to treat a stomach ache by applying ointment to the surface of the skin; so too is it ineffective to say the Jesus Prayer with inattention or a distracted mind. To fight our passions with this prayer—to combat sadness, or anger or sinful thoughts with it—requires that it be applied deep into our heart, the place of these illnesses, and this necessitates vigilant and focused prayer, developed with effort and mental focus over time.
Scientific knowledge itself is not neutral; but, as St Gregory Palamas emphasizes (in this matter the most modern epistemological thinking concurs with him), it is relative “to the intention of those who make use of it,” “appearing according to the thought of those who make use of it and easily taking the form which is given it by the point of view of those who possess it.”
~Dr Jean-Claude Larchet (Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses vol.1, p.62)
Having lost the true knowledge of reality that he possessed in the Spirit, but nonetheless needing knowledge, fallen man ends up replacing this knowledge not by another single knowledge, but by a multitude of forms of knowledge of all sorts, corresponding to the multitude of appearances among which he henceforth moves. St Mark the Ascetic thus notes that its ignorance and forgetfulness of God “cast a pall of terrible and unstable curiosity over the soul.”
But the types of knowledge resulting from this loss are partial, shifting, differing, even opposed to one another–just like the phenomenal realities to which they apply. Man, in his substitutive forms of knowledge, is limited to classifying the appearances of things–these appearances that per se have no objectivity–since they are defined by the deformed and fallen intellect of their observer.
…Fallen man’s various forms of knowledge are thus nothing more than illusory projections of his fallen consciousness, and even where an objectivity or truth seems to have been attained (such as in scientific knowledge), this objectivity and truth can be reduced as a matter of fact to the temporary agreement of states of consciousness producing the same type of projection and being in accordance with one another in some way in their common state of decline.
~Dr Jean-Claude Larchet (Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses vol.1, pp.61-62)
Thus, fallen man replaces the worship of the Creator with the worship of creatures. Idolatry exists not only in the oft-taken forms of organized religion, in which creatures are explicitly defined as gods, but also in all man’s attitude vis-a-vis being, when this being is taken as an end and is endowed with a sense and value per se, instead of these latter being recognized in God. Idolatry also exists in every activity and effort consecrated upon a being per se, instead of being consecrated to God through it. One holds an idolatrous attitude towards a being whenever this being stops being transparent to God, stops revealing Him–in other words, whenever man stops perceiving its spiritual ‘reasons’ and ‘perceiving’ in them the divine energies present in them that define its true nature.
Thus this being hides God instead of manifesting Him; it is closed in on itself in a way instead of serving as a stepping stone for man, that he might be raised up to his Creator.
~Dr Jean-Claude Larchet (Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses vol.1, pp.58-59)