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Psychology in Schools

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posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 07:20 PM
Knowledge motivates, so its not surprising that it has taken a knowledge of the brain, epigenetics, systems theory, a more sophisticated psychoanalytic theory of human behavior (than Freuds) and the reputable guidance of evolutionary theory to make clear what it is we need to do to help ourselves evolve into mature and mindful stewards, both of our own and the next generations subjective development, but of the planet we have grown too powerful to ignore our influence to destroy.

There is one over-arching concept that needs to be emphasized, which needs to be discussed with students, first as a rudimentary introduction, and then more elaborately in later grades, if we hope to a) reduce mental illness in society b) reduce crime in society c) reduce corruption in government and d) increase happiness and well-being in society in general.

Of course, the conservatives - mostly men - will find 'thinking about emotions' especially difficult because their biology preempts self-reflection with machismo feelings of invulnerability. This is something that needs to be challenged! It is stupid, ridiculous nonsense. But it is something which testosterone makes especially compelling to the experiencing mind.

These are the cornerstones of such a system:

a) The concept of trauma, dissociation, and enactment, need to be discussed and understood, but of course early on younger children will not have the necessary left-brain development to handle the concepts needed for this. Thus, in earlier grades, programs such as 'roots of empathy' and mindfulness' will help kids become 'embodied' (a mostly right brain ability). Early grades will concentrate on affective and communicative skills since this age is a period of mostly right-brain development.

b) but we cannot leave trauma, dissociation and enactment alone. Clinical psychotherapy informed by neuroscience indicates that psychological health is not merely a matter of 'right-brain' affect, but a whole brain integration of left-brain linguistic capacities and right brain affective experience. People become confused - and easily misled in aberrant behavior - when they don't know why they act. So lets see what psychoanalytic theory and neuropsychoanalysis have to say about how human beings function:

i) Dissociation is something the brain does. This is a staple of cognitive neuroscience but it's also becoming increasingly accepted that human emotional reality is fundamentally a 'performance act'. When the brain preempts our attentional processes by putting into our minds focus ways of being that are structurally determined by previous experiences, WE NEED TO KNOW THIS. We cannot continue on in this ridiculous charade of the "self made man". People do not make themselves. Human social reality makes people. People, in effect, for thousands of years, have developed strategies - unconsciously - to deal with painful subjective experiences. Dissociation is the name for the process that keeps from conscious attention facts (mostly from our history) that compel how we behave in any situation

ii) Dissociation is both normative and defensive. When we think, we can only think about ONE thing. This means the human mind is fundamentally "perspective", in thinking we only think in an 'aspect' about what actually exists. This needs to be understood, as can be seen quite clearly in todays world, people are ridiculously naive in what they assume about the nature of reality. But how can they be blamed if we as society have not taken the appropriate actions to help people understood real from imaginary?

iii) Defensive dissociation occurs whenever consciousness experiences a 'shock' - an emotionally overwhelming event experienced by the autonomic nervous system kicks into gear a whole-brain defense mechanism which 'dissociates' conscious awareness from the reality which induced the shock. This involves memory systems, emotional systems and homeostatic systems in the brain stem. For most people, what they defend against is unknowable until they know how to recognize it's symptomatic appearance in the body

iv) Enactment is what the body does when emotionally dissonant experience enters the mind (not the conscious mind but the unconscious mind). Take for example someone giving you a bad look. Pay attention to what your body does - even before you become aware to know what it is you're doing: you turn away, make a movement, perhaps even enact a yawn: these and countless more actions are unconsciously 'enacted' when uncomfortable experience enters our mind. But this is a rather simple example. More frequent and destructive examples are seen in bullying. How the bullied child presents himself is in itself an enactment of his fears (which he is having difficulty controlling). Shyness and anxiety 'hits' the unconscious of the bullier in a disturbing way, eliciting 'irritation', which is then transformed into a kind of sadism where the effects of his behavior on the mind of the bullied is dissociated in favor of the imagined pleasure he will experience when he 'enacts' his bullying.

v) This example highlights how most emotions human beings feel are structurally related to our past experiences (how other people have related to us). And so whether it is abusing or being abused, we 'act' because we ignore the meaningful origin of our reason for acting.

c) The evolutionary progress so often spoken about in popular discourse better be about the relationship between emotion and intent, that is, about human beings relate to their own experiences, than about anything else.

Global warming, bullying, war, deliberately crashing planes into mountain sides, ISIS, school shootings : all these things can be reduced to simply "not know why you feel what you feel" and finding a solution that DEFENDS AGAINST the felt experience of vulnerability.

Thus, can there be anything more relevant than including human psychology 101 as a basic part of any school curriculum, beginning around 10 years of age and becoming more complex in the highschool grades?

Of course, for many - mostly men - there will be a fear, dissociated from awareness, towards the idea that people could actually 'know' themselves in such a healthy, constructive, and pleasant way. This is part of the deep, deep nature of dissociation and trauma. People prone to sadomasochism - that is, most of us - paradoxically turn their hatreds and frustrations on themselves and society at large. Cutters, Chronic eaters, Smokers, drug users, sex addicts etc: human beings hurt themselves, as trauma studies have shown so irrefutably, because we fail to properly identify what it is that we our feeling. It doesn't make sense - certainly not from an evolutionary perspective - that we should want to hurt ourselves so much, but we do, and we do it because our minds perform wicked acrobatics, conflating other for self, so that, after being treated a certain way by others we come to relate to ourselves in a similar manner.

I point out men, because as so well acknowledge is science nowadays (for a recent study see Melvin Konners "woman after all") men are mostly the ones with the destructive emotional impulses. It's their narcissism - their testosterone - which makes life for the other half of the human race (females) what it is.

The core of all human experience revolves around attachment and recognition. It is the first, meaningful, pleasant socioemotional experience that every brain encounters.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 07:59 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

“The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us.”

Paul Valéry

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 08:18 PM
a reply to: greencmp

Hmm.. I appreciate Paul Valery.. I do.. But, I cannot help but suspect that this thing you posted, the only relevant part of which is the "oneself for an oracle" is total, utter, pseudo-intellectual BS.

Granted, I am posting at the 'black sheep' of websites where one probably wont find many university educated minds who maintain an interest in the neurosciences, psychology and eco-devo studies, but I'm bored. And it's probably a bad habit of mine to 'bark up' such an unresponsive tree.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 08:21 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

I almost walked away but, I couldn't leave without challenging the presumption of total understanding.

Of course, the conservatives - mostly men - will find 'thinking about emotions' especially difficult because their biology preempts self-reflection with machismo feelings of invulnerability. This is something that needs to be challenged! It is stupid, ridiculous nonsense. But it is something which testosterone makes especially compelling to the experiencing mind.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 08:46 PM
a reply to: greencmp

I had no idea that conservatism was biologically based and had to do with gender and testosterone and a lack of ability to get in touch with my feminine side.

My husband would be somewhat confused by this.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 08:51 PM
a reply to: greencmp

It's true. The most rigid minded - prone to dissociation - types of people tend to be on the right.

It's not hard to see. On the other hand, if you identify yourself as 'conservative' - and if you understand what dissociation means (from an evolutionary perspective) as "adaptation towards mental coherence" I can imagine that my saying that has caused you a bit of problems (i.e is causing dissociation).

Dissociation is a human thing. It happens to everyone, but, if I am going to be perfectly honest, people on the right have a harder time remaining "open" than people who identify themselves as 'liberals'.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 08:59 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

It is a technicality I suppose but, I am a liberal (in the original true sense of the word).

When I was young, I would have tended to agree having a wholly unrounded political education coming from Boston.

Now that I am beginning to educate myself I would argue that the polarity which you perceive, while true enough, is hardly limited to believers in individual freedom.

It could be argued though that, having changed my own mind, socialist indoctrination is not a life sentence. I must admit that I have rarely heard of anyone going back so that could be interpreted as a rigidity of attitude though, I tend to think of it as cumulative wisdom which may not be discarded once beheld.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 09:00 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

Where did I say that political ideology was biologically based?

It's not. Culture maintains political identifications; but seeing that political identifications structure and reify aspects of personality, and paying attention to the biological effects of social-relational information on the brains emotional-cognitive systems, how people relate to us, early on, plays a big part in structuring the biology of our attentional awareness i.e. our general 'worldview'.

These things are not biological. There was a time in my own life where was a card carrying conservative, but not anymore. Intellectual and emotional development - primarily emotional development - broke through the dissociative processes (acts of defense) that prevented me from assimilating certain meanings (those which my brain prevented me from acknowledging).

As for testosterone and behavior. It's a fact of behavioral science that testosterone makes people more aggressive; and since men have specialized organs designed for testosterone production (testes), men have much more of it; ergo, men are far more impulsive, aggressive, and dispassionate (not taking in the emotional-subjective realities of other people) than women are. That said, women who consider themselves aggressive, lo and behold, have high levels of testosterone (the adrenals also produce testosterone, though in lesser quantities).

When you pay attention to systems dynamics men and female 'stereotypical' behavior is mostly a consequence of the effect testosterone has on male behavior - and how that behavior, over time (which is now so crystallized in social practice) induces in females a complementary mental orientation.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 09:08 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

For years I've been telling people that there are two subjects that should be taught in school from the beginning that are equally important to the growth of a human being as math and reading/writing. Those being Psychology and Philosophy. One deals with how to understand yourself and others while the other is about understanding the world around us and how we interact within it.

Of course I get similar reactions from some like you're getting so far. It's a shame too but then I realize that such reactions usually come from those who have little understanding of either one of those subjects and so they find the idea ridiculous.

I refuse to stop suggesting it though because I have an interest in both subjects personally and while I'm certainly not a professional of either I know for a fact that I've learned a lot from them and it's very useful knowledge to have.

Lately with the rise in Religious Fundamentalism I can only imagine such ideas will find even less fertile ground to grow from. As Science and Intellectual studies are removed to make way for Dogma of various kinds it really does seem that we are now working toward our own destruction rather than our advancement.

Hopefully the next generation after seeing our idiocy and failures will choose more wisely.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 09:21 PM
a reply to: greencmp

Past socialist systems were thoroughly PATRIARCHAL. Hence, the abuse of power that occurred - and rightfully feared - happened mostly because of the self-regulation difficulties that males have when it comes to power.

Many studies indicate that woman in power are

a) less prone to abuse it

b) are more conscientious, and considerate of the effect their actions have on others

c) encourage better relations in the organization

Thus, as the world moves forward, more and more females will take on positions of authority in corporations, governments and other important institutional bodies.

People can fret and complain and say what they will, fact is, I trust the inter-subjective proclivities (estrogen, prolactin, oxytocin, which are so active and operative in the mind of mothers) of female consciousness over the insecure aggressiveness of males ANY DAY. And the only thing that could prevent someone from not seeing that is.....dissociation.

Notice, also, that I frame my thinking in the most objective thing there is: the biochemistry of the lived body.

Neurochemistry is fact. Testosterone is idiotic in the context we live in today (made sense in the eat or be-eaten days of a large band hunter gatherer context).

So, I can imagine that you would agree with me that it is a VERY good thing that forward and progressive governments - such as in Sweden and now the EU - are mandating that females make up at least 40% of corporate executives. I imagine something like that will someday (hopefully sooner than later) be passed in the U.S.

The effects will build up. It's not something that can be predicted perfectly, but we have good reason to believe that woman will be far less volatile - and far more empathic and mindful - in positions of power than testosterone distracted men are. Thus, how we understand 'socialism', SHOULD change when we understand humanity not as MALE rulers, but as the 51% majority females represent; and no doubt, their approach to governance will allow males to relax their aggressiveness and feel more ok with expressing feelings of concern and empathy without feeling like their 'wimps'.

To return to my main theme: dissociation and the need to teach young adults how the human mind is organized to avoid the consciousness of negative feeling.

It sort of works like this:

Affect is the technical term for 'feelings in the body', such as in the musculature and the viscera. This is where testosterone works and where males experience its effects.

Feeling, is the psychological interpretation of affects. Since the affects provide the fodder, the mind follows whatever is there.

Emotion is the longer term idea of what we feel. It represents a stable emotional pattern, such as 'aggressiveness'.

This is how testosterone affects males and makes relating with other people such a needless game of machiavellian power-politics.

Females, conversely, left to themselves, are far more docile. Without the influence of high quanitites of testosterone flowing through their veins, the affects they interpret as feelings lead more to cooperative relatedness than to a 'dominate-submit' mode that testosterone tends to educe.

Anywhoooooooooooo..Just mull over this.

It's my mission in life to make sure that, at least in my neck of the woods (University of Toronto) scientifically valid theories of mental organization will taught in Ontario elementary and highschools.

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 09:32 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

It has been discovered that women can actually be more aggressive than men when they are anonymous.

One must ask how much better they would be in any official position, especially if that position requires professional detachment and/or clinical anonymity.

Let's not divide humanity literally in two, there is plenty of blame to go around.
edit on 26-3-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 10:02 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

I'll be darned. That is the first post you have ever put up where I agreed with (most) of what you said. I think that you may be underestimating (in the end) the "destructive emotional impulses" women can have, even in comparison to men. Therefore you are overestimating the destructive force of all that testosterone, or I guess... at least the blame for societies ills. There is a synergy there that often feeds both negative tendencies between the genders, but deciphering what is "hard wired" and what is a social construct is difficult.

I do agree that men seem to have a more difficult time in figuring out why they do what they do and dissociation can be a coping mechanism. If you push on that many men simply flip back and forth between parallel thought processes; the "rational" self and the emotional "irrational" self. The compartmentalization is often rapid fire and breathtakingly efficient at allowing them to cover their behavior and in fact, their own mental tracks from THEMSELVES. If you can get through that, many start dancing around an existential crisis. It's a thing. I don't know if testosterone alone accounts for the depths of it but I don't think that that is exactly what you're saying either. I also don't know if young boys are able to cope with this, certainly not adolescent boys that are well entrenched in this process.

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