A lot of people don’t give much stock to psychology– I’ve never studied it for more than a semester, but its one of my habits to try and profile everyone I meet– I try to figure out their ‘style’ of thinking. People, in many ways, are like chessboards– some people sacrifice some pieces to gain territory, others prefer to play cluttered deffensive games where every piece is held on to for dear life; still others blaze forward to try and keep initiative, while others are more patient and use fancy masonry to prepare for strong counter attacks.
Personalities are much the same way– they’re determind by a balance of power and weakness, as well as preferences and discomforts in terms of ways to play. The thing about people is that they’re creatures of habit too– with few exceptions, most people operate like chessboards full of pieces. That is to say– sure, there are a number of things that they can do, but ultimately, some moves are more likely than others given the way things are arranged on the board.
Take the example of parents, the earliest foundations of our personalities probably come from the way we were parented. Looking around at myself, friends, and family, it shows how one ‘reading’ of an individual personality traits or habits can be fairly contextualized if you know what their parents are like, and how they treat their kids.
There are no strict rules though. For instance: A person’s independence might be related to survival habits formed out of absentee parents. However, in another case, a person’s independence might be related to overprotective or clingy parents, and deliberate efforts to distance oneself from communal life.
So– what is the point of psychology if different people react differently to the same situations? What empirical relationships can it establish?
Like most sciences, I think what psychology does best is attempt to give us not the reasons, but the vocabulary to discuss. Sometimes, having the vocabulary to describe the situation actually affects the outcome of the thing being observed.
It brings to mind Shroedinger’s Cat– more specifically, Quantum Entanglement ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement#Concept ).
My point is, sometimes, we don’t care about what’s going on until we can define it. We don’t use words like “independence” until we get some sense of difference contrasted against “dependence.”
Which leads to the reason why I’m so fascinated by the psychology of people– because it is in them that lies all the complexity of the world. The more of people we experience, the more of people we observe, the more we seek to understand and define them– the more complex the world gets.
That’s my perrogative of course.
I think that people would be better at changing if they would take the time to judge themselves.
There’s so much talk about change, and the ability to evolve– mostly hold in relation to people who complain that they feel they’re getting nowhere with their lives. So, how do we pinpoint the difference between those who can evolve and those who can’t?
It has something to do with the vocabulary of people, and how much effort they put into building that vocabulary. By that– I guess it means a critical eye of the life experiences around us.
One of the big mistakes people make is in thinking that emotions and logic are separate– they’re not. They’re just different methods of representing energy– sorta like how you have analogue and digital recordings of an original symphony orchestra playing in concert. So some people distance themselves too much from emotions, preferring to fall back on methods and rules, being too “Vulcan” about everything. Some people are too emotional, and make bad practical decisions. There needs to be a balance between these two methods– we need to make deliberate efforts to experiment with both methods of thinking, because discord between the two leads to a denial of self–
–which prevents change.
The simple reason is that escaping into emotions is one way of escaping reality, while being too logical is a way of dismissing responsibility for one’s internal drives. If we want to live like whole people: we need to look at the two (or more) ways of looking at ourselves, maybe with some understanding derrived by exaggerations we might see in more extreme people around us. And then: we need to figure out how to get along with ourselves.
If we figure out who we are and what we want, then– all that’s left to do is experiment on ways to carry ourselves to do it.
Maybe then, we can make a surprising move, outside of ourselves, that allows us to change everything.