Just what did I study, anyway? Both -- Thomistic and non-Thomistic -- are called "psychology," but only one of them even acknowledges the soul (psyche), let alone illuminates it in depth and with precision. Which is ironic, because my focus in grad school was on psychoanalysis, which calls itself depth psychology.
Now, deep -- that's a name no one would self-apply where I come from. But then, there was a lot about psychology that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. But then again, maybe that's why I found the field s'durned innarestin'.
In any event, "deep" isn't necessarily synonymous with profound. One can be deeply confused, or maybe you don't pay attention to the liberal media. For it is written: Confused ideas and murky ponds seem deep (Dávila).
Moreover, Profundity is not in what is said, but in the level from which it is said. At the same time, The depth of an idea depends on the capacity of the listener.
Putting these three together, we see that there is a true and false depth, and that depth not only transmits a content, but is a kind of form, such that that depth must call out to depth, so to speak.
While this may at first sound novel -- or, worse yet, original -- it is actually quite mundane and experience-near. There are credentialed morons who know more about quantum physics than we ever will, and smelly Walmart shoppers who know more about the soul than the physicist will ever even suspect. Which is why there is infinitely more wisdom at a single Trump rally than in the entire Harvard faculty lounge. For
Great stupidities do not come from the people. They have seduced intelligent men first.
Indeed, if you've spent any time in college, you know that A high I.Q. is indicative of distinguished mediocrity, and that The learned fool has a wider field to practice his folly. The institution of tenure is a way to transform idiocy into a permanent instead of temporary condition.
Now, back when I was in graduate school, I began to have my suspicions, although who was I to question the basis of an entire discipline? Nevertheless, I couldn't help noticing two things: first, that a discipline is defined by its object, and that psychology didn't have one. For example, one of the first courses will acquaint you with all the major theorists and theories of psychology. But if psychology is a thing, there shouldn't be wildly divergent opinions about the nature of its object.
Analogously, if you study physics, you don't begin with a survey of all the various disputed and discarded theories about the nature of physical reality. Rather, a mature discipline converges on a unity of both object and method.
But someone who approaches psychology in this way will probably be called fascist, or authoritarian, or medieval. At the very least, one will be told that's just, like, your opinion, man (or other preferred gender).
For example, just try uttering a banal truth such as "homosexuality is objectively disordered." That's not an insult. Rather, just a logical entailment of the deeper principles of biology. I myself am objectively disordered, because I have diabetes. It's an inconvenience, but not an insult. A dead pancreas is a lot of things, but I don't pretend it's normal.
So, the first thing I noticed was that psychology was and is pre-paradigmatic. It's not so much that the theories disagreed with one another, but that there was no agreement as to the object of psychology. Is it behavior? The brain? The mind? The unconscious? Attachment? Affect? Neurobiology? Neurochemistry? At least we can agree: it's not the soul, because there is no such thing.
What about morality? Is this totally subjective, or is there objective good and evil? Does human development have a telos, or do we make it up as we go along? Is there such a thing as human nature, or do we define ourselves by our own choices? Do we even have choices, i.e., is there such a thing as free will? If so, what is it and how did it get here? By virtue of what principle can freedom even exist?
Etc. The second thing I noticed is that there is no objective way to choose one of these 238 theories to guide one's life -- and the life of one's patient. So, on what basis do we choose? It occurred to me that we choose based on "what works for me." Being that clinical psychology isn't just a discipline of study but a "healing art," one will pick the one through which one was "healed."
Healed of what? Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's just call it "pain," which covers a lot of territory.
We're almost out of time. But as usual, I see that Dávila was here before me. For as he observes,
The great imbecilic explanations of human behavior adequately explain the one who adopts them.
Ah ha. This explains a great deal, not just with respect to psychological theories, but vis-a-vis every theory that pretends to be comprehensive. (I believe Nietzsche said something to the effect that philosophy is just autobiography in disguise.) It explains why feminists are feminists, why Marxists are Marxists, why atheists are atheists, critical race theorists are critical race theorists, ad nauseam. The theories explain them, but not us. And yet, so many of them want to force us to live under their theories, when all we ask is to be permitted to live in reality.
To be continued...