Flawed but Useful: In Which I Defend the Process of Research

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

― Albert Einstein

The more I think about it the more I see that the process science, particularly psychology, uses may be flawed, but at the end of the day the result is still good.

Psychology, and arguably the other sciences in some experiments, is a field where through experience and thinking about things, you can often arrive at the same answer as a long and expensive experiment, but where that experiment still tells you nothing with certainty. I have noticed that in psychology, we have these theories, that in a sense guide our investigation of individuals, but we don’t necessarily use to know anything. Probably a by-product of the number of studies that are correlational in nature. Even when they are experimental, we come up with these cool results, but rather than proclaim them to the world, we downplay them and say, well they might not generalize, outside this setting, or we might have missed some other variable.

In a sense this almost seems to be a field aimed at confirming intuition. Of course, especially when it comes to mental illness and understanding how to best treat them, human instinct has come up with some pretty bizarre ideas. Some pretty damaging solutions. Does this mean that as a field it is flawed? No. Sometimes even science science gets it wrong (drug companies I’m looking at you).

There is always room for improvement.

Perhaps because of the nature of evolution and development? We are finding new answers not because our science was flawed but because humans have changed – our environment, physiology, work habits, mating practices – we are qualitatively different from the generations before us, and will be different from the ones that follow – with development comes new issues and old issues die off. Before the invention of cars, drunk driving wasn’t a problem, before medicine advanced allowing us to live longer, many of the problems of old age, such as dementia, were never experienced.

I have read articles exploring the idea that if our DNA is 99% identical to the apes, and we are classed as a different specifies, at what point while man kind again be classed as a different species. It is easy looking retrospectively at skeletons and say, their skeletons and tools look different. But our sizes and shapes have changed as a result of our sedentary lifestyle – I am quite sure hundreds of years from now, if anthropologists dug up our bodies, they would find a species with a c-curved spinal shape from our poor posture and tendency to look down at our phones – would they class us as the first of a new species? Would my grandparents be classed as homo sapiens and I as homo praesent (somewhat funny, apparently the Latin word for phone, is almost the same as “present” oh the irony…either that or Google translate is having a laugh because other sources told me the closest word is telephonatus)?

Just a thought.

So our tests might be wrong, that’s going to have to be okay, there’s not much we can do about it. Want to know how we validate our new tests? By measuring correlation with the old test, which we are now arguing was missing something. So we’re making sure this new test is good enough by making sure it lines up with the flawed test.

riiiggghhtBut let’s say this works, eventually you get back to the original test, how was that test validated? Everyone agreed? Given the amount of controversy in the field, and the fact that each new test is developed because the authors argue that the old measure isn’t good enough, I find this highly suspicious. There are literally hundreds of tests of depression. Hundreds. Of course it’s not that straight forward – we add in the idea of incremental validity, it has to predict something else. For scientists to accept a new measure there has to be something it adds – incremental validity, otherwise what’s the point. But the incremental validity seems no more valid than the idea of convergent validity supporting the validity of a test.

Many of these measures involve issues of clinical concern, say for example depression. If the previous measures were used to make diagnoses, and the diagnoses are used to form the groups to be compared in validating the discriminability and general validity of the new measure – how do we know that the previous measure wasn’t so flawed it misdiagnosed. Now your results are impacted by the inaccuracy of your groups. Yet we assume that this is not the case, we may be perpetuating diagnostic and measurement flaws.

At this point I really just seem to be a trouble-maker, raising issues without truly acknowledging the benefits and solutions.

So allow me to flip the coin.

Our measures are potentially flawed so why use them?

Because we need some way of understanding – so we generate tests aimed at capturing the generalities of the disorders, and we make ourselves aware that an atypical presentation is possible. Maybe the new tests are because we have learned more and we are trying our best to include all the specifics we know. The measures may be flawed, but at least they tell us something. To know nothing is terrifying and useless. Identification is the first step in treatment, not the last, so if our measure was flawed, the individual may not get the diagnosis, but they can still have the help. If they were diagnosed, essentially their treatment will be no different, except in cases where medication (i.e. antipsychotics for schizophrenics, or lithium for bipolar) is needed. Basically? We have to start somewhere.

Where do we start? With our understandings and interpretations of human behaviour. We cannot do like the theoretical physicists and think about our subject matter until the answer dawns on us (we we can but we have to have something to observe directly to spark our thoughts). While we have an intimate connection with  our subject matter, which could afford us access to more information, we are in a sense studying variations of ourselves. But we don’t necessarily understand our own mind, how are we to claim we understand the human mind – its functions, processes, limits, flaws, and potentials? The layman bases his understandings of others minds on how he would process the information, he doesn’t necessarily understand his own mind, but he uses his potentially flawed understandings to believe he understands the minds of others.

Psychologists adopt a much more rigorous methods, but we cannot completely detach ourselves from the issues of the laymen. Before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, we should recognize that while we don’t always understand our subject matter, neither do scientists. Do they know what an atom looks like? No, it’s too small to observe, but based on their conceptualization (which took quite a few tries by the way), they conduct experiments and make predictions – they have no concrete knowledge of the nature of an atom, but they use the theory like it’s fact. Do they know how the heart functions completely undisturbed? No, they see how it functions through imaging techniques (which could disturb the function in some way) or through scopes or when the chest is open. That understanding is still very advanced, and so they use it in medicine. Do they always get the results they were expecting? No.

We think we understand, we sometimes do, but sometimes, we are surprised and learn something new.

As Claude tells us, it is only through being proven wrong that we learn anything.

Studying the human mind, means we will often be wrong, but we can accept this issue, because we also have the opportunity to learn/understand something – may not perfect knowledge, but for me there is no true distinction between knowing fact and believing fiction. Both depend on our appraisal of the information and our experience of knowledge and understanding. If we accept that there is no way of knowing then we are helpless to function, predict, and understand.

At the end of my seventh semester, halfway through my fourth year, do I have a solidified theory of the human mind? No, how could I? It’s much too diverse. I have theories of specific areas of the human mind but no theory can cover everything. We are too different with too many parts. And then there’s the issue of knowing more than we can explain – like knowing how to run without being able to explain how.

Life is complex, we are going to be wrong sometimes, but like I said, we have to start somewhere. I have no solution to this issue, I cannot make the measures perfect, I cannot predict much with absolute certainty. The only solution I can propose is to accept this – let it be ok to be wrong, accept that only in this moment is our explanation useful in any way. Accept that we don’t know things, but we can have ideas, it is not wrong to use these ideas. We have to start somewhere.

In my mind, if we can accept that our process is flawed and somewhat illogical, then we’re alright. As long as we accept that moving from the specific to the general isn’t exactly right, and because of that we cannot reasonably argue that our specific assumptions based on our potentially flawed generalizations, we cannot argue with absolute certainty that we are right, then we’re ok.

For a really interesting TED talk from Kathryn Schulz check out here.

“Without being sure of something, we can not begin to think about everything else.”

― Kathryn Schulz

Check out next week – Claude and I had some really interesting conversations on the brain and what it does, I’m working on some stuff, but my minds a little busy and these things are a little messy.

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The Terror of Oneness

“All you really need to know for the moment is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it’s pretty damn complicated in the first place.”

― Douglas Adams

This I think was the aha moment Claude was pushing me towards. It was almost painful in a sense, some of the things I have come to realize in the last few days, and yet it was incredibly exciting.

Ernest BeckerAfter watching videos from Shots of Awe and noticing Ernest Becker was repeatedly referenced I decided to pick up two of his books, I am choosing to start with The Birth and Death of Meaning, while I’m insanely busy the next two weeks I will let you know how the book goes. I’m almost afraid to start it, afraid that like the explosion of awareness that started Tuesday night, Becker’s words will consume my mind.

What struck me as I thought about the human aim, the singulars and the generalities, expectations, and the reasoning of science was the idea of oneness.

We believe in our oneness, we believe that our uniqueness is something to be applauded and recognized but on what grounds? Why, when you consider the number of homo sapiens that have existed, that continue to exist , would our existence matter? Throw in all the other carbon form forms, living and non, and the planets, starts, and galaxies, known and unknown, and it becomes terrifying how little we matter. How insignificant our existence becomes.

Science, perhaps rightly so, occasionally allows error, ignores the exceptions to the rule because even 5% is so insignificant when you consider the proportion relative to all the other ones in the universe. Yet, science usually says no – any error is too much, it is after all the reason the science kids scorn the psych kids. Perhaps this is because they realize the terror of the infinite – the idea that as time goes one we are essentially becoming less and less significant. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, but it would explain their massive egos. If they make a massive contribution, they figure they count for more ones?

We realize that the human imagination is capable of infinite possibilities. Possibilities beyond reality, that we may never live to see come to see to fruition. And yet our significance, our life is incredibly, painfully, tragically, finite. Our existence is limited in many ways, even if our mind is not.

If we ignore the exceptions, discount them as too insignificant in the grand scheme of things – then we too, do not matter.

We work from generalities because the ones are too much to know. It is information overload. Perhaps psychology accepts this more because it see the vastness of the ones. Psychology is okay with being proven wrong, because the uniqueness of man, and the sheer number of people who have existed and continue to exist, means that it is incredibly likely that eventually an exception will be found.

Yet we have this need to understand, to grasp the infinite possibilities, the infinite nature of everything that is, has been, and will be and make it finite. Which is almost beyond our processing abilities – perhaps why people become experts and we all hate a know-it-all. To know everything, to know anything with absolute certainty is impossible. It may also be the reason we developed technology. Both to pull our ideas and conceptions into existence, and to remove some of the processing demands from our own minds; to free them up for bigger thoughts and allow us to see the infinite connections. To expand awareness beyond the limits of our biology. To create something less finite than our own existence. To go beyond our mortal flesh, beyond our impending loss of everything.

This has been an earth shattering realization for me – I am one in a sea of unknowable size, becoming less and less significant by the day. I have this finite existence, despite the infinite capacity of my mind. It has been suggested that the brain’s capacity for storage and processing is virtually limitless, but perhaps it is just that we have not the time to test it long enough to find the limits. If we are finite beings is our mind not something finite or does our mind go beyond our pitiful, insignificant existence? Do we suppose our minds are infinite and that we simply have not had the time to find it, to avoid the terror of the fact that our own lives are so finite? To avoid our own mortality? Is this an attempt by science to extend the human life, to conquer death, to make our bodies as infinite as our imaginations?

We have always grappled with this – it’s why the question of “Why am I here?” has plagued the minds of homo sapiens since we first developed the ability to think at such a level.

Is psychology then the study of the oneness? The careful studying of what makes us more than hydrogen atoms (not even water molecules) in an ocean? The attempt to find the things that bind us together to at least form a puddle. The drive to be a part of something that makes our own lives connected to something bigger so that we are no longer, the insignificant being that we fear we may be.

Feel small yet?

Feel small yet?

How about now?  For the record - one drop of water contains 1.39 time ten to the 21st (that's 21 zeros) molecules. Have I oversold this? Maybe, probably not when you consider EVERYTHING that has a will be. PS Catch the joke? ;)

How about now?
For the record – one drop of water contains 1.39 time ten to the 21st (that’s 21 zeros) molecules. Have I oversold this? Maybe, probably not when you consider EVERYTHING that has a will be.
PS Catch the joke? 😉

Maybe that’s why adolescence is so tough – the stereotypical cry of “You don’t understand! No one understands what I am going through!” (which I admit, I was not immune to, I was a teenager not so long ago, in fact I think I used the big kid variation last week.) is evidence perhaps that in adolescence, the whole spotlight effect is because we feel our oneness more deeply as we try to separate from our parents, the whole autonomy struggle psychology is always talking about. We try to become this one and it terrifies us, so in adulthood we seek out this understanding of a connectedness, the patterns and generalities that make us less alone.

Beyond the oneness, I see psychology as the study of thought, behaviour, emotion, and neurological functioning. Of existence, humanity, culture and uniqueness.

The study of the ties that bind, and the threads of the rope.

It seeks to expand our awareness of existence in ways technology has perhaps not expanded enough to grasp. Existence beyond the limits of ourselves, yet flowing back on the oneness at the same time. A perpetual cycle to understand humanity in an attempt to understand ourselves, which we use to understand humanity.

A cycle not unlike that of knowledge acquisition.

Wow. Just wow. What a week.

What do you think? Does the idea of oneness and complete insignificance terrify you? Do you think it somewhat explains mental illness? Perhaps is mental illness simply a reaction to this realization in some way? At least some of them?

Is that what psychology is?

Tell me down below what you think.

“The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren’t any space aliens. We can’t be the best that creation has to offer. I pray we’re not all there is. If so, we’re in big trouble.”

― Ellen DeGeneres

Psych, Psyche, Psycho, Psychic?

“I don’t believe that consciousness is generated by the brain. I believe that the brain is more of a receiver of consciousness.”

― Graham Hancock

Ladies and gents, go get some paper towel because your mind is about to be blown.

Mindblown

Like this is big. I wrote a piece sort of in advance (mostly because I realized that my post was getting too long) that I planned on using this week. I came to some pretty big insights into the function of psychology and why we accept the flawed system and how the system is still incredibly useful. The level of insight I am feeling now relative to then is like the difference between a firecracker and the atomic bomb.

The Psyche

As I mentioned last week this week we got into the depth of what is psychology, and while last week I got caught up in justifying all the systems – the education system, the system of psychology, the system of science – I think it is important at this point to talk about what is the psyche? Or so Claude drew me back to. This very quickly developed into a debate of the brain versus… something else?? One student raised the concept of the soul as the psyche, the brain camp quickly fired back that no – everything is a function of the central nervous system (CNS), and just for fun, I threw in the grey area of something that, I believe, cannot be boiled down to a set of neurotransmitters and electrical impulses, neurons depolarizing while still refusing the concept of a soul that transcends our being. 

I think at the time this was taken as I lie in the soul camp.

I don’t.

It sounds incredibly sad, and atheistic, and I want to make it clear that I am not out to question anyone’s religious beliefs, nor am I atheist – I was raised Catholic, but I have come to develop my own belief system, independent of any church. Which really I guess is atheism in the general public’s mind (which I argue shouldn’t be taken as a bad thing). Except I do believe in a higher power, something bigger than ourselves. I just don’t quite know what I expect this higher power to do. Some may argue that this sort of system is almost at complete odds with science – how can you believe religion when it defies all tenets of science? Answer – I can believe in the power and importance of science, while acknowledging that it hasn’t figured everything out yet, and there are some things it seems unable to figure out – there is still an explanation, but not everything needs to be explained.

So, all those qualifiers and asides… aside… why do I not hang out with the soul camp if I appeal to an area that science can never, in my mind, truly explain? Because I don’t believe that anything happens after death. When you die, I do not believe in reincarnation (though it creates a wonderful idea, an opportunity to repair your mistakes, find your “soul mate” whatever that actually means), I do not believe in some afterlife. When you die, people’s memories of you live on, if you’re famous, you may live on in textbooks, but eventually every trace of you is gone. When you die, everything that is you, dies too. All that is left is the memories of who you were.

Which suggests that I would find a better fit within the brain camp – if there is nothing intangible to continue on then everything must be housed in the brain.

No.

There is something that goes beyond the neurons, the connections alone are too vast to be coded by DNA, perhaps the environment takes over from there, but babies are born with a personality (or so we are told). At least they are born with a temperament, which evolves into personality which is supposedly unchangeable. So maybe personality is just the more describable version of temperament, ascribed only due to how we as a culture ascribes the behaviour. It is temperament once those around us have had sufficient experience with us to describe us on broader terms.

Call it what you will – Call it life force, call it your essence, your personality, your you-ness. I simply believe that there is something that goes beyond the brain, but that which is dependent on the vitality of our systems, and impacted by the activities of your brain. Two gears working together that require the same engine to function.

So I don’t seem to have blown any minds yet. Heck I don’t even appear to have come to any conclusion other than I don’t like options A or B, give me a new option. Stick with me – we have to build up to the mountain peak before you can experience the awe.

This is the screen shot for this video. Watch it. Watch all of them.

This is the screen shot for this video. Watch it. Watch all of them.

The idea of a continuum was raised, which I think fits beautifully with my desire to give a only semi-concrete answer to what is the psyche. I lie closer to the brain end, but barely past middle.

The point was raised that we are essentially big giant bundles of carbon. True. Somewhat depressing, but true nonetheless. So at what point did we decide that the soul exists? At one point in the arrangement of carbon did we decide that something more than the brain existed? We claim cats and dogs can’t have the same emotions we have, but they have the same brain structures – they too have an amygdala (the supposed seat of emotion in humans) so why not emotions? We assume they do not experience emotions by entirely subjective observations and assumptions. We don’t know they don’t think and feel, they communicate in a way that cannot be converted to any known language so we assume they don’t think. The anthropomorphism debate is probably better left alone for now – I raise it only to bolster the implied argument that the existence of anything other than the soul is incredibly arbitrary.

Perhaps it is the result of some evolutionary hat trick – the one that allowed us “higher thinking” – we at some point developed a brain structure that allowed us to meditate on the functions of our brain?

But if the brain is the end game why would it create a sort of separate state of awareness and experience. For example, we talked about colour being in your brain versus your experience of the colour and the objective firing pattern of neurons, your experiences associate with specific colours. At this point the wise ass joke was made when Claude asked if “redness” was in your brain, to which, “well yeah, it’s pretty bloody in there” was given as a response.

I see what you did thereSo I arrive at the first major mind-blow of the night: Perhaps the mind was something that was invented to protect us from the terror of the unknown. In the same way, that I believe we create an afterlife because the concept that we will cease to exist is too much for us to handle, I realized that perhaps the mind was something I can believe in because without it we are powerless. If I accept that all that we are and do is because of a complex set of neurotransmitters and electrical impulses, then there essentially is nothing I can do to control anything. That is terrifying. We need to predict, in my mind, because we need to feel like we have some control, some ability to influence our environment. And I would argue that we cannot doubt that we can influence the environment. Or at least my theory has yet to be proven wrong. If I want everyone in Starbucks to start looking at me, I can say with reasonable certainty that standing on my chair and screaming at the top of my lungs will do the trick. I can “make” people look at me. I can control something. If my neurons tell me what to do, I can decide to do nothing. I am helpless, at the whim of the availability of neurotransmitters and neuron depolarization. 

In that sense perhaps the mind was a creation from before we could grasp the capacities of the human brain, before we had the technology to see the brain and all it’s power of computation. We need to know something about why we do what we do, we cannot accept our ignorance, yet the knowledge is too much for us to grasp. And yet the brain in its survival of the fittest goals would have us keep this knowledge to ourselves, but we don’t we share it and develop these every expanding extensions of our mind. As a great video from Jason Silva (seriously get more paper towel and go check him out on YouTube or TestTube Shots of Awe) pointed out – we are finding new ways to remove our intelligence from the confines of the human brain – create it in other substrates. The awe of human creation for me means that there has to be something else. We have to believe that there is something else, because to believe otherwise bursts the bubble on the philosophical question of “why am I here?”

Which is a powerful thought and realization for me, I was quite impressed with myself. Not bad But then I realized, wait why would the brain, if it is so powerful, give off some of it’s control to another entity. Why would it create something that would allow us to question it? What would the use of such a system be? Which I suppose strengthens my conclusion that there must have always been this mind – and really who can argue it wasn’t. It is an essentially irrefutable argument. I choose to see it as a theory that has yet to be disproved. I just don’t know how it would be disproved.

Or maybe the brain kids are right. I also entertained the possibility, that since the frontal cortex is praised as the epitome of higher thought, it is like a specific division of our brain that tells our brain how to interpret the stimuli? But perception and processing areas are all so spread out? Maybe we process, then send the info to a central analysis centre where we derive meaning from the processed input?

I will admit, I’m not really 100% on board with that explanation, doesn’t entirely fit with my concepts of the nature of experience and reflecting on the experiences.

Psychology as a Science?

Psychology is awash with terms that describe something that in no way can be measured, which has lead to two camps. The first accepts that we are using subjective or proximal indicators, but that allows things to go unexplained and allows for potential error. The second camp, argues that by studying the brain we can explain everything in concrete, objective terms – except it can’t explain everything, or at least the general population will never accept all of its explanations entirely. And it tries to ignore the fact that there are vast variations between individuals on the activity of the brain – it tries to deny the frustration of the individual in science. They can’t pin down the science enough to make it any more useful in explaining behaviour and creating useful generalities than the first camp. But oh, it’s science, it is measuring something much more concrete and objective

I prefer to take the sampler tray, and admit that some things neurosciences can explain – there are certain correlates between behaviour and brain activity. But this boggles my mind – in psychology we talk all the time about how correlation does not indicate causation, and yet the brain campers, on the basis of correlations seem to be suggesting that the brain activity precedes and creates the experiences of say love.

say whaaatApparently correlation=causation is the kind of stuff they accept in “science,” sweet, rigorous, careful, science.

So let’s return briefly to what is science?

  • the testing and validating of our generalities (in which case psychology is a science)
  • strict standards for measurement and evaluation of data (which is somewhat arbitrary – each field has it’s own standards for how likely or how frequently the null must be voided )
  • convincing everyone else that you are right (in which case arguably English essays are a sort of research report)

I took Claude’s advice and asked a science major the answer:

“Error bars – each field accepts progressively larger error bars, biology has the biggest error bars that should be accepted, psychology as a field accepts too big an error bar”

Doesn’t seem like a very scienc-y answer to me. And at any rate, the pharmacologists can never state anything for certain either, if the issue is that psychology is simply more accepting of the human condition, and the knowledge that we can know nothing, then the argument of psychology not being a science is pretty lame.

So I went to the chemistry building to find someone to give me an answer, all the doors were closed. Will continue that mission later

Google told me:

Good answer Google

Good answer Google

Thanks wikipedia

Thanks wikipedia

The Hard Problem

skeptical african

So you’re telling me, that you use what proves you wrong as proof that you are right?

Simply put, the Hard Problem (an idea I already had, now I knew the name) asks how can the brain activity explain experience? How can the depolarization of neurons explain how we experience things?

Theoretically neurons should react the same way to the same stimulus, but they don’t. So science argues that people have different sensitivities. So science uses the inherent individuality of it’s subject matter to explain the generalities of it’s subject matter.

Building on this, it was raised by Claude tonight, that you cannot put a brain up to a painting and have it communicate an experience. To which I raised a mental point – but we can trigger hallucinations by stimulating neurons? Which somewhat bolsters the idea that maybe we are just a hot mess of neurons, and we’re back at the idea that we created the idea of the mind, because the idea that this is the case, is too much. Like the concept of mortality is too much so we have created an afterlife, and a religion that promises a sort of immortality.

But if the brain is responsible (assuming an evolutionary perspective) for protecting us from harm, why did the capacity for such complex and harmful emotions come up – why would it create the possibility of love, when with this also comes the possibility of deep heart-wrenching heartbreak and loss. Why would it allow us to feel sorrow and rage?

Ultimate point it comes down to for me – we cannot know for sure what does and does not exist. The concept of the mind, appears to be somewhat like religion – it cannot really be disproved, because it cannot be separated from it’s opponent – the brain. There is no way of knowing for certain.

Expanding once more on this – the brain perceives itself – thus perception is inherently biased, both the brain and the mind become hypotheses, that only in death can be proved or disproved. Once we die, so does the brain – it ceases to exist. What makes it the possible source of intelligence, thought, and you-ness is no longer functioning. It cannot exist.

To bolster this view is the concept of mental illness. Science has not found a way to diagnose someone of, say depression, or eating disorders, exclusively on patterns of brain activity – because as mentioned above, it is too variable. The only thing neuroscience can diagnose is the dementias because they have an actual, biological cause, there is something concrete that you can observe. Things like depression are diagnosed not on the presence of some brain chemistry, it is diagnosed based on the feelings, and yes to a degree the somatic symptoms, but the feelings are required, the physical symptoms are considered to be side effects in a sense of depression.

A brain scan cannot capture all the thoughts and worries an individual has. It cannot show or tell anything. It knows nothing beyond the electrical signals, and it doesn’t even fully understand those.

This is truly a thing of beauty taken from here

This is truly a thing of beauty
taken from here

BAM! Another mind explosion.

Emotions and such phenomena as the placebo effect were discussed tonight as biological – but then why do the drugs that treat depression not act as quickly as the placebo effect? Why have we evolved a need for these drugs? Perhaps if evolution had its way there would be no treatment, those whose brain chemistry or neural pathways were improperly assembled would die off. Which sounds callous. But I mean it in the nicest possible way – I raise it to point out that we have found a way around the problems of our brain. Has our brain manufactured them? Maybe. That’s something I cannot resolve. Going back to emotions – they can change on a dime. I know the speed at which the brain can process information, it is truly astounding, but how do emotions arise? We know where emotions are located, why we experience things such as fear, but not how they are created. Is it that we do not have the technology yet to discover this? Maybe. After all we used to believe the heart to be the seat of the soul – the site of thought and emotion, we no have demoted the heart to a pumping position, and went to the higher ups 😉 hehehe.

Perhaps one day science will find a way to disprove the theory of the mind, but until then, I will believe in this sort of consciousness, me-ness, thought bank, that is beyond the power of my genes and neurons.

What is the psyche that psychology is after?

It is the sum of the powers of the brain, and the attempt at understanding that which goes beyond the brain. The human experience. Call it a soul, call it consciousness, or you-ness, call it flipenflagen – there is something that science cannot explain yet, and until it can, if it can, there has to be something beyond the neurons.

A cogent explanation can be found from Shots of Awe, discussing singularity- Sylva argues that “religious myths reflect our yearnings to transcend our limits.” A way to deal with the fact that “with our minds we can ponder the infinite, yet we are housed in these heart pumping, breath gasping, decaying body.” Check it out here.

I found this from Dishing It Up Daily, but I was unable to track down the original source, which appears to be a tumblr account know-knowledge? Either way add to this that maps of the internet look like the same maps of the universe and neurons and you can see how connected these concepts and perceptions are - how the internet is an expansion on our own minds, one that has gone beyond the capacity of any one mind

I found this from Dishing It Up Daily, but I was unable to track down the original source, which appears to be a tumblr account know-knowledge?
Either way add to this that maps of the internet look like the same maps of the universe and neurons and you can see how connected these concepts and perceptions are – how the internet is an expansion on our own minds, one that has gone beyond the capacity of any one mind

So what is psychology? It is the study of everything man can and cannot know, attempting to converge the two into one coherent understanding of the universe, man, and reality. It is both the study of the concrete and measurable brain activity and behaviours, and the study of the unknowable state of the mental world of the individual. Attempting to understand how the two converge into one being.

“Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.”

― Ernest Becker