Javier Urrá | Psychologist “We are not an algorithm”

The psychologist javier ura (Estella, 1957) has recently published the book The human being, a spiritual being (Desclée De Brouwer), in which he highlights the importance of spirituality. “There has to be an answer to where I fit in today’s puzzle of life,” she explains. since it ceased to be Ombudsman for Minors in the Community of Madrid (2001), he is patron of the Little Wish Foundation and has managed to make 6,000 dreams of children who “sometimes are very sick” come true. “Normal, healthy people support us. If it gives people the chance to be good, people are good,” he says.

–Your new book tells us about spirituality in an increasingly narcissistic society. Is yours moral?

-It is necessary to give a reason to life.

-I don’t even say it.

–Another question we should ask ourselves is whether we are in a nihilistic society. It is true that we are in a narcissistic society, but the number of suicides is increasing. Spain has been the country that takes the most anxiolytics in proportion to its population for two years.

What a statistic…

-There is a certain restlessness, a lot of anxiety, a lot of anguish, violence against oneself and against others is very noticeable.

–Do we have to stop hiding the suicide figures?

“It’s okay to talk about suicide. You don’t have to go into the details of what happened, but sometimes you do have to explain that the person had an addiction or a mental illness. That is, you have to give an explanation to events that seem to happen without a cause. And it is not like that. Suicide occurs because the person cannot sufficiently cope with something that causes great suffering.

-What can we do?

–We can train our children from the earliest age to strengthen character. Strengthening character is the opposite of being psychopathic, it is being flexible, it is knowing how to ask difficult questions, it is dealing with uncertainty. It is very different from the young people we are making, who are like glass: hard but fragile. Children must be taught that life can be asked for what life can give. No more.

–Are our frustrations based on excessive expectations?

–Many times, yes. We get frustrated because we put the self first, because we think that everything has to be there as we believe, because the train always arrives on time… But life is not like that.

-Of course not.

-In life, a phone call can break your whole future. We are very vulnerable and Covid has shown it. He has paralyzed the world. Therefore, let us learn and see that we are moral beings, with approaches. We are not a species like other animals. There are people who think that we are one more species, but evolved. And no, no. We have language, the capacity for nostalgia, the ability to anticipate the future… We are not a species like another, nor an algorithm: all our intelligence passes through emotion.

– Is it normal to lose?

Yes, in life we ​​are going to lose. That is sure. At 7 years old, a child knows that death exists. You lose your grandfather or your pet at an early age. Also in life you are going to win friends, partner, social gatherings, surprises and even a pool, but in the end you are going to lose life, illusion, agility… The human being already knows this, anticipates it and that generates anxiety and distress.

–Are we aware that suffering is part of life?

“Sometimes we try to avoid it. Now we have put the sanatoriums far away, it seems that there are pills for everything… You can fight against pain in palliative care, but not against suffering. That is to say, if a child stops talking to you, that pain does not have another species, it has the human. And it is a possibly vital suffering.

“Children have to strengthen character and teach them that life can be asked for what life can give. No more”

– Do we have a soul?

-Psychology is the study of the soul, of the deep, if we go to the etymology of the word. Psychologists should not stay in what is said, but in what is believed. This is complex. Naturally we want to have tests that measure everything, but that is not going to explain exactly why you feel good or bad. Or why you cry very comfortably remembering a loved one you lost. There is no technology or algorithm to explain it, but you are crying and you are happy.

Are there religious people without a soul?

–There are people who claim to be religious –I wouldn’t dare to say of anyone that they don’t have a soul– but who remain only in the dogmas, in the rituals and in the symbolic. It is not little for society, which is handled very well from symbols. Then there are people who have another criterion: sin, guilt.

-The blame…

–Religion allows a God, a whole, to forgive you for what you have done and continue living. He has always been very therapeutic. There are other people who have a very Holy Week religiosity, but not a very deep religiosity. Since the Paleolithic, the human being has needed God, of a whole, because it is also difficult to look at the universe and think that everything is random and there is nothing else.

– Why do we have to cultivate this spirituality in minors?

– Why do we have to vaccinate them? Because we adults have the ability to anticipate what is good or bad for children and to cut off the possibility of spirituality is to take away an essential element to understand their life as a committed relationship with others. And then you will develop in your life your spirituality or not. That is a decision they have to make.

– It is a vital decision.

–Life is not only buying, life is not only acquiring, life is not only power, life is much more. And that also requires serenity, patience, contemplation and, as I have said several times, commitment to others. Knowing yourself at Delphi is wonderful, but you have to do it in commitment to others.

Is it more difficult to be a child today than it was 30 years ago?

-No, it is easier, among other things because there is much more life expectancy. What happens is that we have made a world of much overprotection. We do not prepare them to face life. Life has become more complex and in addition the time of childhood has been shortened and the time of adolescence has been excessively lengthened.

What are the benefits of a moment of silence?

–It can bring serenity, it can avoid running away from oneself, because there are people who are terrified of being alone with themselves and fight with their own shadow…

And we’re going very fast.

-And you don’t really know where.

Javier Urrá | Psychologist “We are not an algorithm”