The social science of economics has just performed a trillion-dollar flop. The financial chicanery engineered by Wall Street was staged and directed by a circus troupe of economists who graduated from (and taught at) America’s top universities. Will some of these economists do the honorable thing and, before they’ve packed up their tents and pet theories, tell us exactly how their so-called scientific discipline was so removed from reality?
In the three-ring circus of Wall Street, these economists cavorted in an ever-expanding universe of debt, which they called wealth. That debt was heralded, trumpeted, and glamorized. It was also expanded, differentiated, extrapolated, integrated, truncated, and probably anesthetized—and still they called it wealth.
When it started to contract and collapse in upon itself, our economists finally began, through perspiration streaked with grease paint, to call it “troubled assets.” That’s a sly euphemism for the elephant dung they’re dumping on America’s unborn, poor, and struggling citizens.
So we have a legitimate gripe with economics. But we can be equally disgusted with the field of psychology, which is producing its own brand of elephant dung. That’s the expanding universe of subprime knowledge and C-rated factoids that are preventing us from getting to the heart of our personal and national dysfunction.
Psychology’s study of human nature has become completely inadequate, writes Dr. J.W. Ehrenfels at his website www.fireflysun.com, where he provides evidence of the inferiority of the psychology being taught and practiced in America. Ehrenfels says that the ideas and topics most victimized by the prejudices of the psychological establishment are those phenomena at the heart of the human condition, such as dreams, spirituality, attitudes, emotions, symbolism, and the structure and dynamics of the human mind.
Academic psychologists have run off with their so-called scientific method to count all the correlations dancing on the head of a statistic. In neglecting the heart of the human experience, psychology has created a mirror image of academic economics, which has refused to factor in American capitalism’s trouncing of the environment, impoverishment of the people, and fleecing of future generations.
If psychology were living up to its billing, its sacred mission to inform without fear or favor, then in recent years legions of psychologists would have been forcefully opposing the ruthless onslaught of American capitalism, militarism, and empire-building. With a few exceptions, psychologists have been AWOL in warning and educating the public about the abuse of predatory capitalism, the madness of neo-conservatives, and our own widespread passivity.
It’s so bad that Mary Pipher, author of the bestseller “Reviving Ophelia” and other books, returned her Presidential Citation award from the America Psychological Association in protest over the group’s policy condoning the presence and participation of psychologists at military and CIA torture sites. The “APA has long been a clan,” said Pipher, noting that psychologists were the designers of much of the torture programs. (APA membership finally voted recently to reject the policies of their leadership that had abetted U.S. government programs of torture and detainee abuse.)
Just one example of modern psychology’s disservice involves its marginalization of Sigmund Freud. He discovered that we all experience everyday situations through the dynamics of transference, projection, identification, displacement, defenses, and denial. These factors influence our capacity for self-regulation of behaviors and emotions, and also affect to what degree we’re being rational or irrational. Thanks to modern psychology’s refusal to accept the importance and the truth of these psychological tenets, only a small minority of Americans can see and understand the operations of these dynamics in themselves.This limits our intelligence and hinders our evolution.
I believe that these psychologists are choosing, unconsciously, to avoid the study of human nature. They’re fleeing into the “scientific method” and abstract studies in order to get away from a full examination of their own issues and weaknesses. The deeper one goes into one’s own nature, the more that doing so requires a person to make significant changes and improvements in one’s own humanity. This is the path less traveled, and it’s challenging. People shouldn’t become psychologists if they’re not going to accept this mission.
In their rush to the false security of denial, psychologists have become ultra-conservative. Psychology professors, writes Ehrenfels, “employ a combination of selection and reinforcement pressures to maintain a like-minded community of individuals intolerant to deviation and dissent and dependent on external sources of guidance, validation, and identity.”
He also writes that, “The professors responsible for psychology research and education are intellectually ill-equipped to address, and indisposed to appreciate, the meaning of psychological life. They also lack the mental toughness to endure the ambiguity and ambivalence inherent in their subject matter and lack the thick skin necessary to tolerate opposing points of view.”
Clowns and cowards all!