Psychology as Storytelling - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


Storytelling has been with us sincerepparttar days of campfire and besieging wild animals. It served a number of important functions: amelioration of fears, communication of vital information (regarding survival tactics andrepparttar 126341 characteristics of animals, for instance),repparttar 126342 satisfaction of a sense of order (justice),repparttar 126343 development ofrepparttar 126344 ability to hypothesize, predict and introduce theories and so on.

We are all endowed with a sense of wonder. The world around us in inexplicable, baffling in its diversity and myriad forms. We experience an urge to organize it, to "explainrepparttar 126345 wonder away", to order it in order to know what to expect next (predict). These arerepparttar 126346 essentials of survival. But while we have been successful at imposing our mind's structures onrepparttar 126347 outside world we have been much less successful when we tried to cope with our internal universe.

The relationship betweenrepparttar 126348 structure and functioning of our (ephemeral) mind,repparttar 126349 structure and modes of operation of our (physical) brain andrepparttar 126350 structure and conduct ofrepparttar 126351 outside world have beenrepparttar 126352 matter of heated debate for millennia. Broadly speaking, there were (and still are) two ways of treating it:

There were those who, for all practical purposes, identifiedrepparttar 126353 origin (brain) with its product (mind). Some of them postulatedrepparttar 126354 existence of a lattice of preconceived, born categorical knowledge aboutrepparttar 126355 universe repparttar 126356 vessels into which we pour our experience and which mould it. Others have regardedrepparttar 126357 mind as a black box. While it was possible in principle to know its input and output, it was impossible, again in principle, to understand its internal functioning and management of information. Pavlov coinedrepparttar 126358 word "conditioning", Watson adopted it and invented "behaviourism", Skinner came up with "reinforcement". The school of epiphenomenologists (emergent phenomena) regardedrepparttar 126359 mind asrepparttar 126360 by product ofrepparttar 126361 brain's "hardware" and "wiring" complexity. But all ignoredrepparttar 126362 psychophysical question: what ISrepparttar 126363 mind and HOW is it linked torepparttar 126364 brain?

The other camp was more "scientific" and "positivist". It speculated thatrepparttar 126365 mind (whether a physical entity, an epiphenomenon, a non-physical principle of organization, orrepparttar 126366 result of introspection) had a structure and a limited set of functions. They argued that a "user's manual" could be composed, replete with engineering and maintenance instructions. The most prominent of these "psychodynamists" was, of course, Freud. Though his disciples (Adler, Horney,repparttar 126367 object-relations lot) diverged wildly from his initial theories they all shared his belief inrepparttar 126368 need to "scientify" and objectify psychology. Freud a medical doctor by profession (Neurologist) and Bleuler before him came with a theory regardingrepparttar 126369 structure ofrepparttar 126370 mind and its mechanics: (suppressed) energies and (reactive) forces. Flow charts were provided together with a method of analysis, a mathematical physics ofrepparttar 126371 mind.

But this was a mirage. An essential part was missing:repparttar 126372 ability to testrepparttar 126373 hypotheses, which derived from these "theories". They were all very convincing, though, and, surprisingly, had great explanatory power. But - non-verifiable and non-falsifiable as they were they could not be deemed to possessrepparttar 126374 redeeming features of a scientific theory.

Deciding betweenrepparttar 126375 two camps was and is a crucial matter. Considerrepparttar 126376 clash - however repressed - between psychiatry and psychology. The former regards "mental disorders" as euphemisms - it acknowledges onlyrepparttar 126377 reality of brain dysfunctions (such as biochemical or electric imbalances) and of hereditary factors. The latter (psychology) implicitly assumes that something exists (the "mind",repparttar 126378 "psyche") which cannot be reduced to hardware or to wiring diagrams. Talk therapy is aimed at that something and supposedly interacts with it.

A Letter about Trust

Written by Sam Vaknin


The narcissistic condition emanates from a seismic breach of trust, a tectonic shift of what should have been a healthy relationship betweenrepparttar narcissist and his Primary Objects (parents or caregivers). Some of these bad feelings arerepparttar 126340 result of deeply entrenched misunderstandings regardingrepparttar 126341 nature of trust andrepparttar 126342 continuous act of trusting.

For millions of years nature embedded in usrepparttar 126343 notion thatrepparttar 126344 past can teach us a lot aboutrepparttar 126345 future. This is very useful for survival. And it is also mostly true with inanimate objects. With humansrepparttar 126346 story is less straightforward: it is reasonable to project someone's future behaviour from his past conduct (even though this proves erroneous some ofrepparttar 126347 time).

But it is mistaken to project someone's behaviour onto other people's. Actually, psychotherapy amounts to an attempt to disentangle past from present, to teachrepparttar 126348 patient thatrepparttar 126349 past is no more and has no reign over him, unlessrepparttar 126350 patient lets it.

Our natural tendency is to trust, because we trust our parents. It feels good to really trust. It is also an essential component of love and an important test thereof. Love without trust is dependence masquerading as love.

We must trust, it is almost biological. Most ofrepparttar 126351 time, we do trust. We trustrepparttar 126352 universe to behave according torepparttar 126353 laws of physics, soldiers not to go mad and shoot at us, our nearest and dearest not to betray us. When trust is broken, we feel as though a part of us dies, is hollowed out.

Not to trust is abnormal and isrepparttar 126354 outcome of bitter or even traumatic life experiences. Mistrust or distrust are induced not by our own thoughts, nor by some device or machination of ours but by life's sad circumstances. To continue not to trust is to rewardrepparttar 126355 people who wronged us and made us distrustful inrepparttar 126356 first place. Those people have long abandoned us and yet they still have a great, malignant, influence on our lives. This isrepparttar 126357 irony ofrepparttar 126358 lack of trust.

So, some of us prefer not to experience this sinking feeling of trust violated. They choose not to trust and not to be disappointed. This is both a fallacy and a folly. Trusting releases enormous amounts of mental energy, which is better invested elsewhere. But trust like knives can be dangerous to your health if used improperly.

You have to know WHO to trust, you have to learn HOW to trust and you have to know HOW to CONFIRMrepparttar 126359 existence of mutual, functional trust.

People often disappoint and are not worthy of trust. Some people act arbitrarily, treacherously and viciously, or, worse, offhandedly. You have to selectrepparttar 126360 targets of your trust carefully. He who hasrepparttar 126361 most common interests with you, who is invested in you forrepparttar 126362 long haul, who is incapable of breaching trust ("a good person"), who doesn't have much to gain from betraying you is not likely to mislead you. These people you can trust.

You should not trust indiscriminately. No one is completely trustworthy in all fields. Most often our disappointments stem from our inability to separate one area of life from another. A person could be sexually loyal but utterly dangerous when it comes to money (for instance, a gambler). Or a good, reliable father but a womaniser.

You can trust someone to carry out some types of activities but not others, because they are more complicated, more boring, or do not conform to his values. We should not trust with reservations this isrepparttar 126363 kind of "trust" that is common in business and among criminals and its source is rational. Game Theory in mathematics deals with questions of calculated trust. We should trust wholeheartedly but know who to entrust with what. Then we will be rarely disappointed.

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