Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

On the Popularization of Psychology (Cont’d)

Originally posted on March 20, 2018

People have tried to popularize theories of psychology for over a century. It occurs to me that contemporary psychology and psycho-pathology has been the province of those whom the ignorant think are supposed to know “better” due to their having “studied” many systems and hypotheses. Alas, psychology is still in the middle of its development and a goodly measure of humility is in order. But demagogues feed popular views that the combination of popularization, uncon-scious idealization, projection, and subtle denigration by demagogues combine so that even daring to write about what one thinks about becomes perceived as if the specialists thinking this stuff also think that this is way too good for “just laymen.”

My point is that modern psychology is for everyone. It’s a matter of psychological literacy. Knowledge about these matters are channels to personal growth. Right now they’re in the "therapy" category, but they are ripe to be born into the category of education for life, or adult education. As part of this, psychology deserves to be re-framed as in part philosophy. In other words, let’s admit to both playful and profound, paradigm-shifting attitudes toward psychology. We need to learn it, own it, employ psychology more in everyday life.

For example, for starters, take self-deception. Nice people don’t, they don’t have to. Oh, yeah? But this shallowness of thinking is rather common! Freud was half-wrong—don’t get me started — but he was half-right. Lots of people prefer to distrust and dismiss those who think otherwise. So we start with where people are. I myself have fooled myself and others by assuming that I knew myself, but in fact I didn’t have a glimmer of the depth of my repression.

So let’s let ourselves enjoy this venture into self-deception, with a view to reducing the number, variety, and depth of various types of self-deception. Join the human race!

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