Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Myths of Pop Psychology

"A little learning is a dangerous thing.  
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring, 
Where shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, 
And drinking largely sobers us again." 
- Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism

Pop psychology, as opposed to the Real Deal, has a few myths to sustain it.  Well, a little mythology can be a good thing in some cases: look at the typical governmental budget!  Anyway, here's pop psychology's contribution of noise in the realm of lucid thought:

1.  Human beings are basically good.  (We have Jean-Jacques Rousseau to blame for this.  Not that Thomas Hobbes' pessimistic view of human nature is any more valid.)

2.  You cannot have too much self-esteem.  (Traipse off into the realm of unreality where no man or woman has ever gone before.  You too can be a Kardashian.)

3.  You shouldn't judge anyone.  (Yeah, even ax-murderers or child-molesters?)

4.  You cannot love others until you love yourself.  (Actually, the opposite is more likely to be true.)

5.  All guilt is bad.  (The concepts of sin, responsibility, or accountability are quaint notions accordingly.)

6.  It's better to express anger than to keep it in.  (In fact, expressing anger or listening routinely to angry messages tends to increase anger.)

7.  It's better to be extraverted than introverted.  (Either fall within the realm of normal behavior.  Extremes, such as found with the histrionic personality disorder or the schizoid personality disorder are not normal.)

8.  You should refrain from having inhibitions.  (Would that even involve doing naked twerking on the courthouse lawn?)

9.  The full moon causes craziness and crime.  (Just a folk belief; but it did give rise to the word lunatic.)

10.  Opposites attract.  (This is more a story line in movies than in reality.  I do not expect to hit it off with Taliban Johnny or ISIS Walter.)

11.  The insanity defense is often used by criminals to avoid execution or being sent to prison.   (Actually, this is seldom claimed, much less successfully used.  It may seem to be more common because of the prominence of some cases in which this is successfully claimed.)

12.  Some people have clairvoyance, precognition, or psychokinesis.  (Is the Law of Conservation of Energy suspended on holidays or for left handers?)



12 comments:

Duckbutt said...

I worked in an institution some 40 years ago. I was told more than once that it was going to be a rough night because the moon was full. It was a common folk belief of some attendants.

Linda Kay said...

Your comment on inhibitions reminded me of a conversation with a friend last night who saw the "nude bicyclists" in Montana..probably up to 200 people riding bikes in there birthday suits or very little else. Not sure if that goes to your thoughts on the crazies? Anyway, enjoyed your thoughts on these theories.

Linda Kay said...

Your comment on inhibitions reminded me of a conversation with a friend last night who saw the "nude bicyclists" in Montana..probably up to 200 people riding bikes in there birthday suits or very little else. Not sure if that goes to your thoughts on the crazies? Anyway, enjoyed your thoughts on these theories.

Juliette said...

We have a lot of nudity at Oriente Beach on the French side.

MarkD60 said...

I believe the one about the full moon. When I was younger, I could recognize feeling rowdier. Also, here in Cayman, it will almost always rain on or a day or two before or after the full moon. Also, almost every woman I dated would have her period on the full moon. Really.

TexWisGirl said...

inhibitions can sometimes keep us out of trouble. as for the full moon, if it can control the tides, why not us as we're made of mostly water?

Big Sky Heidi said...

Maybe extroverts have more fun, though.

Mike said...

I don't think I've ever seen the word 'traipse' written down before.

Rudolph said...

Let your inhibitions sun wild.
Rod Stewart

beach lad said...

beats me how people can believe in clairvoyance.

Cloudia said...

great article! #4 is just another reason I infer "beyond your years" wisdom to you.

"In Greek mythology, the Pierian Spring of Macedonia was sacred to the Muses. As the metaphorical source of knowledge of art and science, it was popularized by a couplet in Alexander Pope's poem "An Essay on Criticism" (1709)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierian_Spring



ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^=

Bilbo said...

The only time a full moon really causes trouble is when you do it to a police car.