• Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    Much of psychology is or has been me centered, or the analysis of the subject with respect to the world. One goes to a doctor and some criteria are held by a doctor about what a person values and psychoanalysis ensues. In some sense or manner this all seems very ego centric and often results in a feeling of confusion about the subconscious and what it 'wants' as if in a perpetual fight with the conscious.

    I've been dwelling over this idea for the past 15 years, and feel that most psychologists and psychiatrists have been lured like some angler trap into this idea that deep issues can be brought into the light and then the process of healing can occur. One never knows how long this process takes and there's always a cloud of mystery, ambiguity, and fear about one's self. People even become afraid of psychology and the chunk of atavism that we all posses.

    However, I've noticed a trend happening in the field of psychology where this tendency of the analysis of the self is being replaced with the analysis of the self in respect to reality. This can be seen in CBT and some other forms of therapy, such as 'Reality Therapy'.

    The purpose of reality therapy from my short read on the matter is to build a relationship with the world, not the self. Some common norms or important traits of human behavior are highlighted and focused on instead of the ambiguous self.

    What are your thoughts about 'Reality therapy' in regards to the above? I post this because 'philosophy' seems in many regards hermetically sealed and detached from reality, as does the whole field of psychology; but, not reality therapy(?)
  • apokrisis
    3.8k
    However, I've noticed a trend happening in the field of psychology where this tendency of the analysis of the self is being replaced with the analysis of the self in respect to reality. This can be seen in CBT and some other forms of therapy, such as 'Reality Therapy'.Posty McPostface

    This just seems an example of what many have realised - we are socially constructed beings. So the focus of treatment for many psychological complaints - to the degree they are not strongly biological - is how people can better negotiate their position within their social world.

    Of course, that leads to the political/economic question of whether that society is the right kind of world in the first place. A poor personal fit could reflect on the society itself. And it might be the good copers who suffer a kind of pathology in becoming so well adapted to the demands of their social environment.

    Then, more optimistically, there is also the Positive Psychology movement that says "Reality Therapy" should be taught to everyone. It is not just there to fix the ill. It is the learnable basics of being mentally healthy.

    Learning about how social construction works - how we get programmed for life by our early social influences - is also how we can transcend that early programming to make what might be more adaptive choices in terms of our attitudes and beliefs.
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    This just seems an example of what many have realised - we are socially constructed beings.apokrisis

    Yes; but, the context is important here. Meaning, that for much of the past history of psychology, the importance of the self has been elevated over the concerns of society, giving rise to what I call delusional psychology. Reality therapy, supersedes that goal, along with Glasser's choice theory, that instead of what we see happening all around of as the desire originating from the 'self' (whatever that may be), instead a form of pragmatism and mutual understanding is the goal, and harmony.

    Of course, that leads to the political/economic question of whether that society is the right kind of world in the first place. A poor personal fit could reflect on the society itself. And it might be the good copers who suffer a kind of pathology in becoming so well adapted to the demands of their social environment.apokrisis

    Yes, the concept of "coping" itself is therefore flawed given that there's nothing that needs to be coped with in some sense because my values don't mesh with yours. There's also a deep and insidious ad hominen hidden in what you call "A poor personal fit" here, think the label "mental disorder".


    Then, more optimistically, there is also the Positive Psychology movement that says "Reality Therapy" should be taught to everyone. It is not just there to fix the ill. It is the learnable basics of being mentally healthy.apokrisis

    Well, yes. Although, again this isn't a happy 'self-esteem' based inflating theory. The point is that one jumped over that hurdle and overcomes the desire to gratify all of of their wants.

    Learning about how social construction works - how we get programmed for life by our early social influences - is also how we can transcend that early programming to make what might be more adaptive choices in terms of our attitudes and beliefs.apokrisis

    That's a futile task. I'm reminded of the man who spent a week to detail one day of his life, who was never able to complete his autobiography in time.
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    And, if all of this reeks of a modern day version of Stoicism, then I can't argue with that.
  • apokrisis
    3.8k
    Meaning, that for much of the past history of psychology, the importance of the self has been elevated over the concerns of society, giving rise to what I call delusional psychologyPosty McPostface

    I don't really see that at all. Freudian psychology might be highly egocentric perhaps. But regular psychology has been focused on society's need to jam round pegs into square holes most of the time. Hence the dominance of the medical defect model where people are assumed to be broken parts, not partners in co-construction of self and society.

    here's also a deep and insidious ad hominen hidden in what you call "A poor personal fit" here, think the label "mental disorder".Posty McPostface

    But it is me pointing that out!

    That's a futile task. I'm reminded of the man who spent a week to detail one day of his life, who was never able to complete his autobiography in time.Posty McPostface

    You say it is futile. But your responses are anecdotal rather than evidential. And one of the skills that positive psychology would aim to teach here is to be able to break out of that kind of self-fulfilling circle where you assume stuff - like that typical psychology is highly egocentric - and then brush off all suggestions to the contrary ... in egocentric fashion.
  • TheMadFool
    2.2k
    I think two important aspects clash.

    1. The self-that unique state of personal knowledge and the desires and actions that ensue in fulfilling the ego's wishes
    2. The society-the need for social existence in a world that is unfavorable for a primate that lacks the physical equipment to survive in the jungles.

    I think for a correct approach to this we need to look into both aspects of what makes us - a balance between the self and social existence.

    To focus on one at the cost of the other would be missing something important in my view.

    The trend in our world (I may be wrong) is that now we're in a position to allow individuals to achieve a greater degree of freedom from the limitations of social existence. It is possible, in the modern world, to isolate yourself from society - to not care about friendship, love, family, etc. - and yet derive all the benefits of a social existence like safety and security.

    It's as if a solid state of matter is turning to liquid and then to gas. Initially we all were ''closer'' and communities were tightly-knit. Now we're getting further apart, individually isolated and yet we live in a ''society''. Do you see where this is going?
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    I don't really see that at all.apokrisis

    Well, just take the Prisoners dilemma for example or the tragedy of the commons, or the fact that economics treats what is rational with self interest. All of these situations arise because we place a higher value of our own welfare than that of others in much of Westernized society.

    But regular psychology has been focused on society's need to jam round pegs into square holes most of the time.apokrisis

    I don't want to turn this thread into a critique of modern society; but, it's almost inevitable that this thread will take that turn. Why is that?

    But it is me pointing that out!apokrisis

    Yeah, so doesn't that prove the point that psychology is in need of a paradigm shift from the ego-centric model?

    You say it is futile. But your responses are anecdotal rather than evidential. And one of the skills that positive psychology would aim to teach here is to be able to break out of that kind of self-fulfilling circle where you assume stuff - like that typical psychology is highly egocentric - and then brush off all suggestions to the contrary ... in egocentric fashion.apokrisis

    I'm not saying all of psychology is egocentric; and I sure hope it isn't, but there's really no way to frame the issue otherwise, or is there?
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    I think for a correct approach to this we need to look into both aspects of what makes us - a balance between the self and social existence.TheMadFool

    Yes, so how do we arrive at that balance or golden mean?

    To focus on one at the cost of the other would be missing something important in my view.TheMadFool

    How do you delineate or satisfy the two?

    The trend in our world (I may be wrong) is that now we're in a position to allow individuals to achieve a greater degree of freedom from the limitations of social existence. It is possible, in the modern world, to isolate yourself from society - to not care about friendship, love, family, etc. - and yet derive all the benefits of a social existence like safety and security.TheMadFool

    I'm afraid that's a very impoverished way of living.

    Do you see where this is going?TheMadFool

    Not sure.
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    Anyway, I'm interested in other input than my own on this topic. So, please don't feel obliged to engage me in this topic, as that's not the point here.
  • apokrisis
    3.8k
    Well, just take the Prisoners dilemma for example or the tragedy of the commons, or the fact that economics treats what is rational with self interest. All of these situations arise because we place a higher value of our own welfare than that of others in much of Westernized society.Posty McPostface

    But to the degree these are models of how collaborative good can arise out of selfish actions, then they are hardly egocentric. They speak to the social science understanding that flourishing requires a self-organising and adaptive balance of competitive and co-operative actions. Both are right as both are needed. And that is what the psychological fixes would be targeting as the reality.

    So the commons are a good thing - so long at the personal vs group dynamic is balanced by "market forces". Economic self-interest is rational - so long as it is framed within a generally shared social context that generates sufficient real equality of opportunity (and factors in the true long-term costs of its economic activities).

    I don't want to turn this thread into a critique of modern society; but, it's almost inevitable that this thread will take that turn. Why is that?Posty McPostface

    Because we are changing everything so fast. Humans are socially constructed and humans are changing the society that constructs them. When else in history has there been such a need to consider the kinds of people we are making?

    And it cuts both ways. The Millennials could be making the right world for them, so Baby Boomers and Gen Xers should be shoving over, letting the change happen quicker.

    Who can decide without a clearer theory of what really works?

    Yeah, so doesn't that prove the point that psychology is in need of a paradigm shift from the ego-centric model?Posty McPostface

    You mean like Positive Psychology? Which is a paradigm shift I've been tracking for some time. Where I live, it's been part of the damn national educational curriculum for a decade now. You can't get much more officially mainstream than that.

    And among Millennials generally, it is one of their supposed hallmarks - a pro-social individualism. It expresses itself in social enterprise, the sharing economy, and other economic philosophies meant to roll back the excesses of funny money capitalism.

    I'm not saying all of psychology is egocentric; and I sure hope it isn't, but there's really no way to frame the issue otherwise, or is there?Posty McPostface

    Social constructionism does not deny individuality. We are biologically various. So brains can be just broke at that level. And competition is part of the mix that social machinery would want to positively foster. You want people who have some assertiveness, self-esteem and motivation. Society needs creative energy as well as its generalised habits of constraint and collaboration.

    So yes, there is definitely another way to frame the issues. But one that incorporates the natural thing of self-interested competition as part of the productive mix.
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    But to the degree these are models of how collaborative good can arise out of selfish actions, then they are hardly egocentric.apokrisis

    I'm not sure if you understand the Prisoners Dilemma. The point of it is the inverse of what you are saying. Namely that selfish actions are not Pareto optimal unless an external force/factor influences the decision making process, and the delineation of when a selfish action ought to be undertaken or not is epistemically futile, unless you were some computer or programmable entity.

    They speak to the social science understanding that flourishing requires a self-organising and adaptive balance of competitive and co-operative actions. Both are right as both are needed. And that is what the psychological fixes would be targeting as the reality.apokrisis

    Well, given the advent of homo economicus, there seems to have been a profound perversion of human nature that has been taking place since the Industrial Revolution. I don't think this is a natural state of affairs and something sustainable, which has become apparent with existential issues now facing us such as nuclear war or climate change. To compound on the complexity, nobody really knows how the economy works exactly, it's being run by algorithms and soon, possibly, some form of AI. Just to go all sci-fi here, I don't think we really know what a future would look like with coexisting with an entity that is driven by a calculus of maximum efficiency and perfection in every regard.

    So the commons are a good thing - so long at the personal vs group dynamic is balanced by "market forces".apokrisis

    We don't know those 'market forces', think the invisible hand.

    Because we are changing everything so fast. Humans are socially constructed and humans are changing the society that constructs them. When else in history has there been such a need to consider the kinds of people we are making?apokrisis

    I feel as though our capacity to adapt to change (self induced change), is being tested to its limits, as we will see within the coming years ahead of us.

    And it cuts both ways. The Millennials could be making the right world for them, so Baby Boomers and Gen Xers should be shoving over, letting the change happen quicker.apokrisis

    No, that's not true. The Millennials have inherited a no win situation. It has become a zero sum game of sorts, given the above existential threats that we now face.

    You mean like Positive Psychology? Which is a paradigm shift I've been tracking for some time. Where I live, it's been part of the damn national educational curriculum for a decade now. You can't get much more officially mainstream than that.apokrisis

    I don't believe in the self inflating positive psychology movement. It's based on the false premise that self-esteem in necessary to give rise to positive affective emotions. Think of a hamster stuck in a wheel.

    And among Millennials generally, it is one of their supposed hallmarks - a pro-social individualism. It expresses itself in social enterprise, the sharing economy, and other economic philosophies meant to roll back the excesses of funny money capitalism.apokrisis

    I have nothing against bona fide capitalism. The "capitalism" we see nowadays been perverted to protect the interests of the few and not many.

    Social constructionism does not deny individuality.apokrisis

    No, the point is that it implies the need for collectivism, and not individualism, which we see widespread in the cult of the individual nowadays.

    You want people who have some assertiveness, self-esteem and motivation. Society needs creative energy as well as its generalised habits of constraint and collaboration.apokrisis

    Self-esteem is not a need, more like a want that we've been told is a need.

    So yes, there is definitely another way to frame the issues. But one that incorporates the natural thing of self-interested competition as part of the productive mix.apokrisis

    I beg to differ.
  • TheMadFool
    2.2k
    Yes, so how do we arrive at that balance or golden mean?Posty McPostface

    That's the million dollar question nobody knows the answer to. Speaking for myself, I think, like the example I gave you of matter changing states from solid to liquid to gas with the particles losing cohesion while still maintaining some form of unity, society will develop along those lines with people isolating themselves out of preference and ensuring that the benefits of security, having a social origin, can be achieved.

    I think this is especially good for morality. Ethics is much easier within the family and even friends. A smaller community makes for an ideal state to practice morality. The larger the social order the greater the risk for discord. Of course we have to ensure security and safety, the most important goal of society.

    In a way I think we need to, instead of trying to unite society and the individual, actually separate them from each other. Safety and security can be achieved through non-social means e.g. with AI we could have an army of robots for defensive purposes. Individual freedom can then be allowed to flourish. So, it seems we don't really have to deal with these two competing notions together as I thought.
  • Bitter Crank
    5.8k
    Oh, reality. I suppose. I'd love to talk about reality but you know, it's past 1:00 a.m. and the noetic fluids are coagulating for the night.

    The purpose of reality therapy from my short read on the matter is to build a relationship with the world, not the self.Posty McPostface

    So the world is on one end of the relationship bridge; what is on the other end, if not some self? How did the self manage to get to a point where it doesn't have a relationship with the world any more? There is no escaping the world, or reality; it's a lion prowling in the dark savanna, silently slipping through the shadows, about to ambush us, once again. One of these nights will be the last time, and then the ambiguous self will vanish.

    You want a relationship with reality? Let me tell you: reality is out to kill you and it will eventually succeed--if not this time, then the next time.

    psychologists and psychiatrists have been lured like some angler trap into this idea that deep issues can be brought into the light and then the process of healing can occur.Posty McPostface

    Digging up those old, deep issues is not the most stupid idea in the world. Paleo-psychology is going to be the first step in relieving suffering, not a preliminary step. Of course, not everyone has fossil beds of agonizing trauma that needs to be dug up and sorted out. Most of us just have coprolites (fossilized shit). Get it out and on the table and deal with it, finally.

    The critical step in therapy is always accepting reality. We don't have to like it, we can certainly commit ourselves to changing it, but we can not ignore it. So, our reality therapy patient must begin by accepting whatever he or she is. IF what one is is very bad (like, really very badly screwed up) then that's just going to be a tough piece to look at. But then there's acceptance, and absolution. Easy? Nope. Quick? Usually not. Difficult to make progress? Oh, yes -- very much so. But, you know, we keep working at it and at some point in the future we notice... "hey, I can see progress here!" And we keep on.

    We keep on, that is, until reality finally succeeds in finishing us off. Then our case is closed.
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    That's the million dollar question nobody knows the answer to.TheMadFool

    I think the answer is pretty obvious, the golden mean, yes? Just one of those things that's harder to implement in reality, I suppose.

    Ethics is much easier within the family and even friends. A smaller community makes for an ideal state to practice morality.TheMadFool

    This is a troubling predicament. Because it limits the sphere of interest to use the technical term, to those only closest to you. This in part leads to excluding the people out of your sphere of interest from shared goals and aspirations. It's an ethical problem as to how to encompass the sphere of interest for another beyond those closest to you.

    In a way I think we need to, instead of trying to unite society and the individual, actually separate them from each other.TheMadFool

    What do you mean by that?
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    So the world is on one end of the relationship bridge; what is on the other end, if not some self? How did the self manage to get to a point where it doesn't have a relationship with the world any more?Bitter Crank

    Beats me. I'm just pointing out that psychology has been too ego-centric for a good while now, and that leads to the risk of developing values or beliefs that are detrimental to our shared world.

    There is no escaping the world, or reality; it's a lion prowling in the dark savanna, silently slipping through the shadows, about to ambush us, once again. One of these nights will be the last time, and then the ambiguous self will vanish.Bitter Crank

    Yeah, there's no eliminating the fear of death and threats, unless one chooses to mindlessly distract themselves into some oblivion.

    You want a relationship with reality? Let me tell you: reality is out to kill you and it will eventually succeed--if not this time, then the next time.Bitter Crank

    Oh, come now. It isn't that bad is it? Sure, we don't face lions or hyenas anymore as our main source of desperation. Which, has been a contributing environmental force to group and social cohesion. So, why is group cohesion disintegrating in the West, nowadays?

    The critical step in therapy is always accepting reality.Bitter Crank

    Well, yes. Though, I don't think it can be found by looking deeper within the soup of the unconscious.

    We don't have to like it, we can certainly commit ourselves to changing it, but we can not ignore it. So, our reality therapy patient must begin by accepting whatever he or she is. IF what one is is very bad (like, really very badly screwed up) then that's just going to be a tough piece to look at. But then there's acceptance, and absolution. Easy? Nope. Quick? Usually not. Difficult to make progress? Oh, yes -- very much so. But, you know, we keep working at it and at some point in the future we notice... "hey, I can see progress here!" And we keep on.Bitter Crank

    How is progress made by appealing to inner values such as selfishness and lust and wants and desires? Are you not a Buddhist?
  • TheMadFool
    2.2k
    What do you mean by that?Posty McPostface

    I mean you, we, are trying to find the ''golden mean'' between the individual and the group as interests of the two, despite the fact that the group is made of individuals, don't exactly line up. Proof? Crime is a perfect example where individual interests and group interests clash.

    So, instead of finding the golden mean we let both flourish - let them go their separate ways. All we need from the group is safety. That can easily be achieved through an army of bots (AI). With safety ensured the individual is no longer bothered or ''burdened'' by having to adjust him/herself in society. We can be like gas particles of, say, oxygen - isolated and self-contained and yet oxygen.
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    So, instead of finding the golden mean we let both flourish - let them go their separate ways. All we need from the group is safety. That can easily be achieved through an army of bots (AI). With safety ensured the individual is no longer bothered or ''burdened'' by having to adjust him/herself in society.TheMadFool

    Safety from what? What threat's are we talking about here?
  • TheMadFool
    2.2k
    Safety from what? What threat's are we talking about here?Posty McPostface

    What do you need from society?
  • apokrisis
    3.8k
    I beg to differ.Posty McPostface

    Plainly.
  • Posty McPostface
    3.4k
    What do you need from society?TheMadFool

    Not much. Just food, clothing, and some shelter or domesticile. Everything else is just a luxury of sorts.
  • TheMadFool
    2.2k
    Not much. Just food, clothing, and some shelter or domesticile. Everything else is just a luxury of sorts.Posty McPostface

    All the things you've listed can be automated. You don't need society, nobody does. All we need are slaves to do the dirty work while we spend our time in leisure.
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