Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Essays on Psychology: an epigrammatic index

Appetizer-excerpts.  Click on the link for the full essay.

Les faits ne pénètrent pas dans le monde où vivent nos croyances;  ils peuvent leur infliger les plus constants démentis  sans les affaiblir.

Our hunch now is that the subnatural [i.e., quantum] inputs  do not “make sense” – that is, no moral sense, no sense beyond themselves.  It will all (within its own world) dutifully trot along in the path laid out by the Schroedinger equation, while its inputs to our world look to us like clowns piling out of an infinite Volkswagon: but it will not, pace philosophers from Protagoras to Penrose, supply or even heighten our humanity, our morality, our free will.  Indeed, from our present vantage,  the subnatural is somehow even more alien to the noösphere, than is the shadow play of Newton, or the passion play of Darwin.  He who would seek the key to our humanity there, seeks the stars in a mudpuddle.

Thus, in the speed-dating improv (as we shall call it, so as not to dignify it with the title of “experiment”), it is unsurprising (especially to a Freudian) that, placed into a normally masculine role and given license by the experimental milieu, women might act out their fantasies, and the men might play along:  even outside of the ‘experimental’ situation, such techniques are sometimes used in flirting (witness "Sadie Hawkins day").  But it is no more telling for Darwinian theory than is the Woody-Allen/Diane-Keaton shtick in “Sleeper”, in which they respectively channel (with convincing authenticity) respectively Blanche du Bois and Stanley Kowalski.

The converse of an acolyte is an intellectual ancestor.  Here a historian, and admirer of Freud, notices an anomaly …

Now I hold it in the left hand ...

... and now I hold it in the right.

Now -- I wouldn’t wish to press this suggestion too hard.  At the very least, one would have to concede, that if therapy this be, there were severe problems with the counter-transference.

“So this -- this doctrine, or this dogma, or this whatever you guys call it -- phrase it however you like, this mystical Thing:  do you -- do you believe it?   You?  Honest Injun?  For real?”
     Murphy frowned.   “Look, Solly -- I don’t want to squirrel out, here;  but it’s kind of the wrong question.   -- No I mean, it’s a perfectly okay question, just on a friendly level, like Do you think Amanda’s hot, and Whadaya think about the chances for Brooklyn this year.  But nothing eternal depends upon your fluttering, or my flickering, moods of belief or unbelief.  

The world we think in,  and the world we live in,  are no longer the same.

So greatly are brains befuddled, when confronting the politics of sex, that I almost despair of getting the point across.  So let us remove to an analogy.   Tom shoots at John, missing him.  Or, Tom beats John to a pulp.  Or, Tom announces on national television that he intends to kill John.   Then Tom is charged with murder, because, though his intended victim is still among the living, what Tom did  was “just as bad”.  And if you imply otherwise, you are insulting the murder-victims community.

The latest excrescence:  The Princess sues the Pea.

“… Ernest Jones, the docile and deferential My Dear Watson  to the Sherlock Holmes of the Unconscious … “

“Vergebens, dass ihr ringsum wissenschaftlich schweift:
Ein jeder lernt nur, was er lernen kann.”

… that faulty inference  from the plausible view of the cognitive sovereignty of sense, to the absurd conclusion that explanatory models of human conduct must be in terms of elements similar to ‘sensation’ or ‘stimulus’.  The inference is quite fallacious, though an entire movement in psychology (Behaviourism) is based on the failure to see this.

So komme ich mir vor:  der Bube ohne Eigenschaften

To reach the penetralia of the psyche’s secrets, Freud first tried hypnosis, then developed instead his own methods, involving free-association and dream-interpretation.   Lorne, too, has his own patented method of seeing through the mists of mind and fate:  that of tragoidoscopy…

"Dieser rasche Rundgang  durch Schuchardt’s mehr als 50 Jähre umspannende Wirksamkeit  zeigt, daß wir es tatsächlich mit einer  in sich geschlossenen, “runden” Lehre  zu tun haben:  das Bild des Kreises scheint mir am ehesten geeignet, Schuchardt’s Gedankenweben zu versinnbildlichen."

This struck me as implausible, and likely influenced by the researcher/dreamer’s desire to prove his point.  Had the correlations been random, he would have had no famous paper to publish -- no tenure -- no job, no prospects, hounded by beggars through the streets of the city:  instead of marrying the department chair’s buxom daughter, and having his way with the secretaries on the side.

“Einen Traum?  Aber weshalb stören Sich mich, ein so erbärmlich kleinliches Ding, oder Unding vielmehr!  Das ist alles ja doch nur sovieso Quatsch im Kopf -- vergessen Sie das lieber!”

“You seem to have mistaken these lodgings for those of my esteemed colleague Herr Doktor Freud, who practices in the next street over.  He is an alienist by training, whereas I am a detective.  My practice concerns the investigation of crime;  while his, by contrast, is the unearthing of the concealment of a crime.”

The prototypical example of an indisputably extant entity is you.  You are physically coherent, you have purposes and plans, you are self-aware from moment to moment; ontologically, it doesn’t get better than this.  And if you’re Donald Trump, you’re done:  end of ontology.  You slide through life like a bubble down the duodenum, a blob of solipsism. http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2011/09/on-what-there-is_28.html

“My experience in porn has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling, and empowering,” Knox — she chose the last name in a weird homage to Amanda Knox, the college student accused of murdering her roommate in Italy — wrote on the Web … http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2013/05/feminarcissism.html

That a movement may be emasculated by an embrace, was well known to the antiwar movement:  we called it coöptation.

I personally was not surprised:  the secret of his inversion was something he had been carrying about in his bosom for many years, no doubt since the first fumblings at Eton, and as a physician I can report that, though such a habitus may, in a well-regulated gentleman such as our visitor, be imperceptible to a layman, yet the sufferer himself goes through life as self-consciously as though covered richly in pimples.

Of desirelessness (technically:  anhedonia), I almost dare not speak …

Whoever was raised upon Marx, or Freud, or Chomsky, and who writes in their wake, is forever looking over his shoulder.   But occasionally -- as indeed with those masters, who after all had, for a time, masters of their own -- there is a clean break with the past, and no looking back.

Ontologically, perhaps, we are back where we began, though psychologically it is quite otherwise:   You can fall in love with Juliet;  you cannot fall in love with that x such that x julietizes  and, for all y, if y julietizes, then y = x.
For here the adolescing child is poised upon the cusp between pre-literate bliss and orthographic regimentation:  the schoolbench contribution to that shaping, shaving, repressive process that gives rise to Civilization, with all its Discontents.

She turns out to play a pivotal role between the sanity of the wife  and the madness of the husband,  until (as I shall argue)  her own mite of a weight upon the psychical balance-pan  at last causes the bar to kick the beam, as a folie à deux becomes a folie à trois, by infection.

The meaning for us, of Freud as of Holmes, is more a matter of a lingering taste, that we savor, than of any substance remembered and assimilated in detail.

The enigma of a woman’s heart,
finally espied  by a Private Eye,
for less than the price  of a Valentine …
This Rose
[Kindle]  [Nook]

This killer is not a victim.  He may well be (literally) possessed by the Devil:  but he invited the Devil in.

Magistricide !  An arrow, fledged and fleshed  --

Before we can come up with clever schemes to measure something, and evaluate each test on how well it accomplishes its goal, we need to know what we are measuring -- antecedently, independently of the tests (which, at this stage, are themselves being tested.)

The attempts by such scoundrels as Rick Perry or Donald Trump, to impeach the basic honesty of a significant proportion of climate scientists, is -- putting it at a minimum -- implausible simply on psychological grounds.   The motivations for scientists include recognition by their peers, the discovery of truth, the fun of solving puzzles, not having to wear a necktie, etc.  Very few get into the game for hope of fame or fortune;  and nobody goes into climatology (meteorology, geology….) for such reasons.

I myself had quite a nice childhood, with storytime and Pooh-bear and my very own coonskin cap.   But my idea of the Afterlife  is purely that of doing math, with the insight of angels.

The psychiatrist could blurt out the literal origin of the patient’s neurosis ("You thought your mom was hot!" or whatever), yet this bare statement, though given lip-service or intellectual assent, by itself breaks no bonds.  Neither is the neurosis thereby cured, nor are the symptoms abolished (although, caught in the act as it were, they may transmogrify).

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