Monday, November 03, 2008

Why the field of Psychology is destined always to be mostly rubbish

It is a mistake to study the field of psychology--not because psychology treats of a not interesting subject matter, but for the pedestrian reason that the field of psychology so long as it exists is and always will be replete with falsehood. It will never be a subject that on the whole is done well, and consequently is not a field that should be taught at Universities, etc., as a unified subject. Psychology should be replaced by Pscychologies. There should be a separate degree available about each person who possess towards the subject a view that students are interested in studying. E.g., instead one should be able to get a degree in the various thoughts corresponding to the various psychological outlooks people view as important. Better that Christian psychology, Shakespearean psychology, Lockean psychology, etc., should exist as entirely separate departments. Indeed, the danger of it being seen that there should be a field of psychology being so great, an even safer approach is to have separate degrees in Christian theology, the thought of Shakespeare, the thought of Locke, etc. Deceivers tend to be better at deceiving about general human nature than anything else, which tends to make it inevitable that Psychology, so long as it is viewed as a field that necessarily should be unified, will be dominated by the deceptions of deceivers and liars.

My own particular human nature is something that I am the most well-positioned to understand. I am the only one who can perceive my thoughts, emotions, etc., directly. Others can at best only make well-informed opinions of what my interior perceptions--my reflections, as Locke would say--really are. This is not just true of me, it is true of everyone. It is easier to judge one's own (interior) human nature than it is to judge the human nature of someone else, not only because one has more data that could be publicly accessible, but more importantly, because one has data that can't be publicly accessible, namely that furnished by reflection.

The character of a particular person's human nature, being so much more accessible to the person herself than to anyone else, furnishes an ideal touchstone against which she may assay the sensitivity of another toward her own character. I am not saying that it is at all easy to make someone think her particular nature is something otherwise than it is. However, it can be very rewarding for selfish people to succeed in such an endeavor. To see why, I shall first reiterate something I have discussed numerous times before, namely that, as is entirely reasonable, one tends to judge moral goodness in another indirectly by judging sensitivity towards one's own character.

There is a great deal of confusion about why altruism evolves. The so-called evolutionary psychologists pretty much all assume some sort of game-theoretic approach that assumes an altruistic nature can't be predicted except from inferences made by past behavior. This assumption is neither reasonable nor common-sensical. I daresay that just a look at a beautiful girl is often enough to give sufficient evidence that the girl I am looking at very likely has especially beautiful, good traits. Nor would it be anything but unreasonable to suppose that many people would have evolved a similar remarkable sensitivity, to various degrees. Indeed, this sort of sensitivity is mainly something people have in connection with mating. The most important unselfishness so far as the evolution of goodness is concerned is unselfishness towards a mate. And it's a good thing, too, because it is only there that sensitivity would be expected to go hand in hand with an unselfish nature. When a person tricks a mate into a love that is not just, the result will be extra offspring by deceived individuals. For example, a selfish fiend could succeed in tricking a female into thinking he is especially good and thus loveable, and thereby cause him to have more children than he otherwise would have, an evolutionary advantage to him; but what he can't at all easily do is trick females into having sensitive children with him, because he can only trick insensitive gullible females, the children of which will likely inherit her insensitivity. It follows that there will be a high correlation between insensitivity and the tendency to deceive about one's own character. And this correlation is extremely useful to virtuous individuals, because it allows them to judge unselfishness (not easy on the face of it to judge directly) indirectly by judging something easy to judge, namely sensitivity towards one's own character. Sensitivity is something moral girls cherish in prospective mates. Selfish females mostly want money and caring; unselfish girls, being just, want their beloveds to possess good, unselfish moral character, and thus, being unselfish, these unselfish females often consider it just to greatly reward virtue and those males possessing the most reliable evidence for it, namely sensitivity. Girls love most importantly by sex, and the girls who are willing to love by sex being virtuous and therefore just, they especially want to love sexually a sensitive male, and so sensitivity evolves. Sensitive males get more rewarding sex.

Sensitivity gets males into bed with extra-loving females. Selfishness also can be rewarding to males, because it makes unnecessary many sacrifices that otherwise a desire to be (unselfishly) just would demand. The problem for selfish people is that, as explained in the last paragraph, they tend to be very insensitive. So a common strategy of the selfish is to fake sensitivity. True, the difficulty of faking sensitivity is great, but then so are the potential rewards. Girls may let you fuck them (perhaps even in a reproductively meaningful way) just because your fake sensitivity might make them think you are nice. But here is the main point: Indeed it is intrinsically difficult to fake an understanding of the particular interior personal aspects of another, but it is not nearly so difficult to fake an understanding of the aspects of another that are held generally by people. I could not make up what a girl's personal tendencies, ideas, and reflections are and expect her to believe me if I'm clueless. But were I deceptive, I could with much greater chance of success make a girl interpret her interior thoughts otherwise than in the way that should make the most sense. General notions applicable to girls in general are just what the seducer needs to convince girls into thinking themselves as what they are not. And why after all should a bad male be any worse at coming up with deceptions as regards how a girl should interpret her own internal feelings than he should be at coming up with other sorts of deceptions? Indeed, one wouldn't expect him at all to be worse at coming up with deceptions so close to what he needs to convince girls that he be sensitive, the very deceptions he perhaps most needs to increase his sexual success.

People are not born with many innate tendencies; most tendencies are what I call abstract tendencies, tendencies that arise because an understanding of one's other tendencies suggests that there is a pattern of tendencies into which the abstract tendency fits. I.e., one innate tendency is to adopt as tendencies those tendencies, the abstract tendencies that are abstractions from one's other tendencies in the sense that they seem to fit the pattern of the others as best understood from one's understandings of things in general. It is not at all likely that a seductive male or a manipulative woman would much be able to be sensitive towards an other's innate tendencies, but it is not particularly unlikely that a deceptive person particularly skilled at his deceptive craft can not infrequently make people (and members of the opposite sex, in particular) come to understand themselves in a way that more or less guarantees as a consequent a set of tendencies abstracted from error which may not only be understood by a seducer or manipulator, but predicted beforehand by him. Since it is not trivial to differentiate one's natural understanding of one's self from an unnatural imposed one based on error, and since most tendencies are abstracted to varying large degrees, this method of faking sensitivity by imparting erroneous understandings of general human nature is sufficiently possible that given its potential rewards one would expect evolution to cause in selfish people the tendency and faculty to deceive about general human nature to be refined to a degree far exceeding their other deceptive tendencies and faculties. With a cunning and faculty greater than about anything else, selfish people lie about what people are.

One must grudgingly have some respect for what bad people are skilled at and realize that any general field that deals in what bad people are best at lying about is doomed to be replete with lies and deceptions, and will mostly be dominated by the immoral. Since this general field is psychology, the study of general human nature, it's nothing but counterproductive for there to be such a field considered a curriculum. Even if somewhere psychology could be studied wisely, it can't really be expected for that situation to last very long. Of course, it is very important that good people be allowed to express the truths that are counter to the lies of psychology employed by the deceptive people, and in flavor, these truths also could (if one was imprudent enough to think the concept of psychology ontologically deserving) be called psychology. But they shouldn't be called psychology. For instance, I have much to say about human nature, and in particular how it relates to morality and sex. But I would not want what I have to say about it to be considered "psychology". No, if it ever comes about that my ideas get studied in the universities, it would in every way be preferable that my ideas be studied separately from the ideas of others, say as Meigsology. Psychologists so long as they are considered psychologists rather than students of some particular type of thought will always mostly be vile and not the sort of people I want teaching my ideas. Even evolutionary psychology bothers me, because it is psychology after all, and indeed one only need look at most of what goes by evolutionary psychology to see how ridiculous most of it is and replete with the same sort of errors that render psychology vile. There should be no general field of evolutionary psychology, just fields corresponding one-one with the individuals making inferences about human behavior (whether partly from evolution or otherwise), each individual being considered separately perhaps along with the people he respects who influenced him.