What Happened To You Psychology? You Used to Be Cool

Along with creating an easier way to communicate across vast boundaries and increased access to cats doing silly things, the internet has also created a huge forum to rant about whatever is bothering you. The Economy, the government, your lousy job, your relatives, the fact that Mage: the Ascension is clearly a superior setting then Mage: the Awakening, anything. As such, I would like to take the time to exercise my internet right to rant.

All in all, I have a mixed relationship with my school term this winter. For the most part I have good classes (Literature of the Romantic Period, Canterbury Tales, Creative Writing) and one real lemon of a course (Intro to Psychology). You’d think that just one bad course in a mix of good courses would be good, but for the most part I am really confused about what the hell I’m supposed to be doing. Part of me feels guilty for involving myself in the pointless pumping out of B.A.s for the job market, and as such I get a grim satisfaction that English Literature is one of the least “job ready” things I could be learning. The only joy that I am getting out of this is discussing deviant sexuality with my Romantic Literature professor and that my Canterbury Tales Professor happens to be one of the best professors in the whole damn campus and one of the big stand outs against the obsessive scientism of the rest of the Campus.

Speaking of obsessive scientism, I’d like to take this time to bring up how much I am detesting introduction to Psychology. At the very first class he said that psychology was a science and that anyone who said it wasn’t must have a confidence problem. This is the complete reverse of my own thought process; if you have to be considered a science then you must have a confidence problem. Since then I have been having to sit through some god boring lectures on child brain development, neurobiology and an impromptu test for my psychic powers which I had no time to prepare for. They are also not going to speak anything of Carl Jung, which is a personal peeve more than anything but shows my problems with the course. All I know about psychology I got to know I got from Jung, who is very much a “mystic.” He’s not even mentioned in my test book, and my professor had no idea what synchronicity was when it was brought up. Freud, who I appreciate more in the context of liteary criticism where he is given more time, is only going to be glanced over, probably because he wanted psychology to be a science. But the fact that we are looking at the human mind as something to be researched on the operating table and not in meditation and contemplation erks me. The fact that I can’t drink tea and have to sit in an auditorium with six hundred other people only makes this worse.

My point here is that psychology used to be cool back in the early 20th century. Freud had indirect influence over art movements such as surrealism, and surrealism is cool. Even without being all mystical like Jung, Freud came up with the unconcious mind, which was all big and mysterious and you can’t actually understand it but here’s a map that you can use. Jung had occult connections and an interest in the soul. The Psychology I’m learning in this course has nothing to do with that, and only gives passing mention to anything like that when we covered dreams and psychology. I doubt we’re going to cover anything else on that matter.

The larger frustrations I have with my psychology class are refelctive of my frustrations with the University of Waterloo in general. The University of Waterloo is, fundamentally, an engineering University. The big things here are science, and empiricism and such. You get a decent Arts program and there are some teachers who I like, but I am growing more and more feed up with the basis of science. This probably has something to do with Richard Dawkins and his ilk, as well as my abbility to roll things up over time. Right now I’m in a very extreme “Dawkins Loop,” where I focus on all things Richard Dawkins, which I find to be a negative force, until it spills out in socially unaccseptable ways. I may end up calling this mood a Dawkins Loop actually. The point is I need to defuse this Dawkins Loop so that science does not enrage me, at least not to the point were I totally freak out or become a Luddite or something. This is not to say that I want to agree with Dawkins, but I don’t want him always hanging over me like some kind of spooky self-inflicted thought-form.

Writing this down has caused me to calm down, and I hope that it is somehow constructive or entertaining to the reader.


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