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I don't really have a planned topic, today, just the urge to post something. So I thought I would ramble.

I've been doing a lot of reading over the past year, even by my own rather expansive standards. I think I've been trying to absorb some of the atmosphere and thought patterns of the people who invented psychoanalysis and the times they lived in. And then for some of their successors, and so on.

I have no doubt that if I get to take classes in psychology, I'll get plenty of "current thought". But I have never really trusted those little one-page synopses of the life work of the founders of a given science that you always get in an Intro course. I figure they must have left out almost everything, and especially things that are no longer considered "current". So what you're left with is an outline, a trivialization of their originality because it's overshadowed by a hundred years of follow-on work.

So I've been reading some classic works of literature, and some philosophy, and rather a lot more psychology. One of the things I'm struck by is the waves of opinion that have passed through the science. The first practitioners were mostly medical doctors, and had the doctor's typical concept of "disease" and that something is either curable or it isn't. Later, there was the confidence of behaviorism, where research made us believe that we could train anyone to deal with anything, at the cost of any real feeling for a person's individuality. Then came the humanists, with their belief that we have a built-in potential for being human; the trick is to unblock it if it's blocked.

Interestingly, and unexpectedly to me, coming as I do from fields far removed from the humanities and psychology, each wave of opinion maintained its own type of optimism, that eventually we would be better equipped to help people be healthy. And maybe that's what I came to say: I'm learning. :-)


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I would imagine that he intro courses would be just that - intro's, and that later classes would go into greater detail. First year night be something to just get through until you could get more in-depth.

Sounds interesting. :)

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I think there's something to take out of each wave of opinion. They all have some valuable information to offer. It's good to keep an open mind, and it's nice to know we can continue learning too. :-)

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Mmm, I'm going off memories of my own Intro Biology courses. There were all sorts of pioneers, but generally you get one single quotation to summarize their work and go on to the next guy.

There's very little reason to revisit, say, "omne cellula e cellula" (only cells give rise to cells) in later classes; nowadays it's obvious. That's not the same with Freud or Jung; those ideas are still openly debated, though in modified form.

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