Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Subjectivism and Objectivism

     When I talk to myself (which I think is very healthy), I keep catching myself being amazingly subjective.  Instead of saying something like, "The world is a beautiful and wondrous place," I say, "To me/For me the world is a beautiful and wondrous place."  I think that the distinction between the two is cavernous.  The first depicts a world as a truth inevitable.  There is right and wrong in this kind of world.  If, to fit the example, one would disagree with the notion that the world is indeed beautiful and wondrous, he or she would be incorrect without possibility of revision.  But all should ask themselves, is a sunny day beautiful?  To me, rainy and overcast days are beautiful.  So obviously total objectivism is not valid in this world.  At the other end of the spectrum, total subjectivism can't be correct either.  If we think of "correctness" as a morally acceptable (which opens up a whole bunch of cans of worms, but I'll take it here as an assumption), then those with antisocial personality disorder, who think stealing and killing are OK, are also correct (or at least not wrong).  Are their motivations really OK?  No.  Obviously either extreme end of the spectrum is a bit much.  Like most things, living or working somewhere in the middle is better . . .  it provides a level of comfort, adaptability, and safety that most people thrive on.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Correctness of Psychotherapeutic Theories

     By trying to disprove previous theories of psychotherapy when there is documented proof that improvement has been made, are we really trying to help create better theories or just disprove old ones for abstract reasons?  I think that if there is documented proof of improvement, then something about the therapeutic relationship has helped them (if we assume that outside factors and time healing are not - or at least minimally-contributing factors).  Perhaps it is the case that psychoanalytic theory is wrong, but, again, something was going right.  Maybe it had nothing to do with the client's drives or motivations, but just the fact that someone is listening in a nonjudgemental fashion could be more of a common therapeutic factor.  So, by that logic, Freud did not have it all wrong (perhaps, even, psychoanalytic theory is 100% correct!).  He started everything that we do - sitting with clients, listening, etc.  He was the foundation.  Therefore, he was right, to a degree.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More on Religion (and Some About Science)

     Unfortunately this entry is going to be about religion again.  I still have some issues with it.  A doctrine built around a faith structure - a good idea?  I don't think so anymore than I did the last time I talked about it.  But is it a bad idea?  No.  At least, not when correctly philosophized.  What is religion more than rules about official conduct and beliefs about phenomena yet unexplained?  So, by that logic, is not science a religion?  It talks of proper behavior or etiquette - a certain level of sophistication and civility in this scientific age - as well as explanation of the unexplained - for instance, why does anything with a positive charge attract that with a negative?  I don't know . . .  They don't know, but we will give them names and observe them still.
     This brings me to to two points.  First, science is the obvious next step of religion.  And second, if science is indeed a religion, it is most likely not a good idea to listen to everything said.  If, by the stream of thought anchored from the first point, religion has spawned science and science is yet another religion unto itself, why are scientists not worshipping Reason and Logic?  Most likely in order to further themselves from formal religion and because practice, experimentation, and invention are they new praying, confessing, and sacrifice (and the former disallow the same attitude as the latter).  But, more to the point, I think that it used to be the case (and well still might be) that clergymen were the most educated men of their time.  This practically made them the scientists of their time (if such thought was not prohibited to begin with).  No, they did not experiment, for this was not their means/practice, but they observed, taught, and explained.  They did all they could with the resources they had.  Most likely it is true that most Renaissance thinkers were religious.  Many (thought not all, and the number is decreasing steadily) of our current scientists practice even while believing in more "old world" religions.  As technology progressed, and the fruits were received, it seems to me that the change in god figures only makes sense.  We could actually see changes and reasons for being through this new mode of understanding.  To a degree, just like the Greek/Roman gods are no more worshipped as they once were, technology and science are the new gods a la mode.  Old religions were in existence to explain the unexplained.  We now have "better" answers through this new apparatus.  The swift changeover from superstition to hypothesis is only logical.
     Could it be the case that science, like religious indoctrination, can lead to the closing of minds as much to the opening of them?  Yes!  Do we believe in the supernatural anymore? No, because it's not logical - even though there is plenty in the outside world that we don't understand.  It is very true that science has made the world/universe smaller; it has taken away some of its majesty through computation and through educated conjecture.  Science re-invents itself frequently as theories are proven to be false.  This means that everything we know is either a lie or an estimation (like modern physics).  Call me cynical, but it almost seems that creating astrophysics is akin to creating Demeter - another variant to explain another phenomena.
     Does this mean that science or any religion is bunk?  Absolutely not!  Far be it from me to take away someone else's meaning in life.  Should we all become Luddites?  Should we all throw away our science because we are afraid of what is to come?  No.  Indeed progress is very important.  Do progress and religion share every meal? . . . Maybe.  Very probably.  I think that we are only as un-evolved as our understanding of ourselves and our universe.  Science tells us a great deal about he latter, but the former?  Only we can know ourselves.  Only by really understanding who we are in this moment and understanding where we want to be in the future will we be free of all shackles of formal re-education.  A healthy dollop of personal understanding with a grain religion is, for me, perfect.  Goes down smooth, without worry of worry, cynicism, or self-hate.  The next question to answer is:  Who am I?  Were it that I could answer that question to its conclusion.  Unfortunately, I lack the cerebral skills and linguistic development that would allow an answer that is coherent and pleasing to read.