All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Who Is Psychology Anyway?


Psychology has come a long way in the past few centuries.  Consider the first draft of Hamlet, Act 5, scene 1. Hamlet runs indoors carrying a skull from the churchyard and yells, "Mom! Hey mom! Look what I found in Yorick's head!"  Four centuries later, we are still trying to refine and augment this discovery.

Despite the fact that psychology rewards empirical investigation, there is still some dispute concerning its legitimacy as a science because it presumes the existence of brains. My first challenge, therefore, is to provide some evidence of this organ. My wife's skill as a photographer and pioneer in the new technology of Digital Atmospheric Neural Graphics (DANG) have furnished the subject with a new and important imaging source. Observe this scan done on a brave volunteer --known only as "G", a man whose teeth I brush:
Obviously there is something in his head. Until finer resolution can be obtained, I believe it is brains. So, where to begin? Here in California, after many years of drought, we have lately got rain. When it rains now, we rush outside and do this:
You may recognize this pose as a physical manifestation of the Greek letter, Psi, which is also the first letter and unofficial symbol of psychology --including, as it does, limbs for Freud's three main parts of the psyche --the ego, the id, the superego.

Id, ego and superego are three parts of Sigmund Freud's model of the mind. Id represents instinct. Ego expresses the desires of the id realistically. Superego plays a moralizing role, can stop one from doing certain things that one's id may like to do --and gets to wear a cape and fly real fast.

Here we have entered the area of Symbols. Symbols and syntax composed in meaningful communication comprise the formal discipline of Semiotics.  However, my part in this contribution to psychological progress is more specific, concerned less with the Semiotic than the Id, or Idiotic --not a formal discipline, but what can you expect from a mind so informally thrown together as mine?




29 comments:

  1. Alas, poor Yorick. I knew his id. His ego gave me funny imaginative rides thousands of times. Where is his superego now? His musical and lyrical jokes that made everyone laugh? Sigh...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's recall "a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy" as kind Yorick would doubtless have wished.

      Delete
  2. Hamlet's mother was guilty, the psychologist would say - because "A mother's place is in the Wrong." I love Norma's photo! To impress the academic world even more, you should add: photo taken in Khazakstan or somewhere else far away - the "aura"-photography was also discovered in Russia, and think of the curative power of yogurt - Bulgarian of course! With its help you can lie on the couch of the psychologist for hundreds of years - talking about Moms in general and specific :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I read it now, it sounds a bit strange... Maybe I was not able to express my distance to psychologist clearly - in my profession I have a lot to do with them (concerning career advice for students), and they very often rouse the rebel in me... Though I met a few nice ones.

      Delete
    2. Dear Brigitta, I love your comments, which made me remember learning about the Kirlian's work with high frequency electro-photography when I was growing up. There was a great enthusiasm about it here in the 1960s. As to psychologists, I suspect a lot of their diagnostic techniques are clinically adversarial.

      Delete
  3. I scarcely feel qualified to comment on your posts, so 'above my head' they are... this is good, I like both conversation and reading to be a bit challenging.

    Being married to a Scotsman, however, I can vouch for them being dramatic...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cranky. My own Portuguese lineage has made me no stranger to the dramatic, which is why I often lapse into the silly. The two qualities are closer than one might think.

      Delete
  4. Only a true Californian would run outside and assume a Psi position during the rare and unexpected occurrence of rain (I know, because I've done it....).

    Unfortunately, rainstorms are so annoyingly abundant here in the wilds of Tennessee that no Psi positions are in sight. We simply duck and cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After following your posts about Biblically-proportioned deluges, I understand and shudder. However, you must recall that all it seems to take here is a few drops and great parts of the state calve into the sea.

      Delete
  5. I learn SO MUCH here.

    Especially like the line "a man whose teeth I brush" - heh

    And if you're ever in need of some stuffing for a cushion or child's toy, you'll know where to find it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O Jenny, it's gratifying to know someone appreciates the facts as I dream them up. And that DANG photo does make one's head look like a cotton silo.

      Delete
  6. I love you Geo, You always make me laugh. And scratch my head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Chicken! My honor, privilege and sentiment in return.

      Delete
  7. Dang, dude, the world would be a much more interesting place if more people had brains as "informally thrown together" as yours. Your imagination and creativity never fail to astound, and I don't think ANYONE can dream up facts as beautifully as you can. (Except for possibly some politicians, that is...)

    Super post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, with politicians it all depends on which end of themselves they pull their facts out of. As to your generous encouragement, dude can only say, "dang!" --and thanks.

      Delete
  8. Perhaps I understand now why my Id has run rampant--my super ego, shorted a full issue, suffers cape envy and has been grounded.
    We love your science!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My superego prefers his secret identity too. But still tries to use x-ray vision when the lawnmower breaks down. My science loves you right back.

      Delete
  9. I'm glad you brush your own teeth... may you continue to do that as long as you live!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sage. I have between 20 and 50 teeth, same as the 1st and 3rd cogs of a 3-speed auto gearbox, and hope to keep them. Brushing is part of the job.

      Delete
  10. The idiotic is a powerful force! I would get nothing done without it, whatever the weather. I think I saw a pearl in that head btw. But maybe I just know it's there ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is something rattling around in my head, Lisa. It is irregularly shaped, Baroque perhaps, and does not roll predictably. I am pleased to have it identified.

      Delete
  11. You have a beautiful mind, Geo, and you are admired by many.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Arleen, a most kind and encouraging compliment --one I shall try to live up to. Can I still sit in my favorite tree and eat a banana?

      Delete
  12. Ah...it is only the informal mind that possesses the capacity for independent thought...and the unlimited creativity that comes with it.
    That explains a lot about your amazing talent...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ygraine, for a most stabilizing compliment. I suspect there is much informality in California because we stand sideways so much (I consulted a globe) and nothing hangs quite right.

      Delete
  13. Brain – a great mystery to many. In 2016 we still don’t know much about it – not enough to treat my husband’s Alzheimer. Then I worry also about so many Americans who seem to have lost much of theirs when I watch them at Donald Trump’s rallies. Quel mystère!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes a mystery --and a great irony that such a miraculous organ as the brain is so vulnerable.

      Delete
  14. The brain made for a good song for the Scarecrow. "If I Only Had a Spleen" is less inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He could "while away the hours conversing with the flowers..." proving a brain superfluous to a constructive, enjoyable and useful imagination. Spleen is preoccupied elsewhere. Good thing too!

      Delete

I value your comments. Say hello. Reach out a bit. I do.