Monday 24 July 2017

Short Observations

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JMH International Essays — Announcement

Original Essays on the Psychology of Anger and/or Violence 

We thank all those who have submitted an essay to the JMH International Prize Essay Contest. As of now, February 1, 2017, we have decided not to continue with the contest.

For those who feel they have an important contribution to the subject of the Psychology of Anger and/or Violence, please feel free to submit your essay with the form provided here. If the judges agree that the essay is a significant contribution, we will publish it here (subject to agreement with the author).

We include here links related to past essays — For the 2014 contest, click here for the summary article and here for the list of winners; for the 2015 contest, click here for the summary article and the list of winners; and for the 2016 contest, click here.

Longer Observations

Thinking

  • a different way of thinking

  • Abstracting

  • Calculating

  • Categorizing

  • Concepts

  • correct understanding

  • Differentiating

  • Ideas

  • Paradox 11: The gods are real and they are not real

    (Psychological Paradoxes & Puzzles — 11)

    A Paradox: The gods are real and they are not real

    If Freud and others are right, it is as if we have two minds, that is two ways of thinking. Typically, one is active at night when we are asleep, while the other is dominant during the day when we are awake and alert. The two ways of thinking are as different as night and day. The purest example of the night-time mind would be a dream, and the purest example of day-time thinking would be a rational, logical, scientific chain of thought. In sleep we relax away from the strict rules of rational thought and reality testing only to shoulder them again when we begin to awaken. Being rational and logical requires work, whereas, in the night-time mind, whatever is is real, and no evaluating is required. It is possible for the night-time mind to emerge and even take over in the day, and it is also possible for a person to think logically within a dream. For most people this may happen sometimes, and for some it may happen quite often. For some people, the rational, reality testing mind may be all but absent, even in the day, and waking consciousness then takes on a dream-like feeling where impressions and intuitions and feelings and inclinations rule without challenge and without control.

  • Paradox 3: A Thinker Thinks there are no Ghosts

    (Psychological Paradoxes & Puzzles — 3)

    A Contradiction in the Thinking of a Thinker

  • Paradox 6: What is "In" & What is "Out"?

    (Psychological Paradoxes & Puzzles — 6)

    "Inside" and "Outside": Paradox, Puzzle, Psychological Meditation?

  • Paradox 8: Regarding Consciousness

    (Psychological Paradoxes & Puzzles — 8)

    A Paradox regarding Consciousness

  • Paradox 9: Thinking, Depression, & Cheerfulness

    (Psychological Paradoxes & Puzzles — 9)

    A Paradox regarding Thinking, Depression, & Cheerfulness

  • Passive Thinking

  • Reasoning

  • Recognizing

  • Senility/Dementia

  • Short idea 010

    Short idea (10): In every conversation there are things unstated and un-statable. In every thought process there is something unthinkable. There are things we aren't grasping, can't grasp, and never will be able to grasp — no matter how confident and optimistic we are feeling at any particular moment.

  • Short idea 072

    Short idea (72): For many people, one of the most difficult things, psychologically, is to accept the feeling of uncertainty.

  • Short idea 084

    Short idea (84): If we make an analogy between the Imagination, Sensation, Need, and Thinking on the one hand and four rivers on the other, then there is a place where the rivers merge with each other and eventually form an ocean. Or, we can start with the idea of an ocean and picture the Imagination, Sensation, Need, and Thinking as four rivers that separate and flow out of it. — Without the ocean and its rivers we would all be dead. On the other hand, people often get swept away and drown in one of them. It's naive to forget the dangers of the rivers and the ocean and equally naive (and even fanatically suicidal) to try to get rid of them.

  • Short idea 087

    Short idea (87): If you cut off the head of a worm, the body goes on for a long time. It's pretty much the same with people. If you cut out our ability to think (maybe by some violent emotion), we can still eat and drink — and vote.

  • Short idea 098

    Short idea (98): In colleges in the U.S. we are trained to see Imagination and the Intellect as inherently at war. I think it is more useful, and probably more accurate, to focus on the possibility of them cooperating and on what they have in common. After all, they are part of the same organism and probably developed with the same goal, that is, the adaptation of the organism. I think they have a common source, and images are part of thinking. The two are like two gangling beasts who are married and who are constantly stumbling over each other and who often get into conflicts but who, deep down, still love each other, or, at least, should learn to get along.

  • Short idea 130

    Short idea (130): "2 plus 2 = 4" may express an eternal truth, but adding 2 plus 2 is a mental operation that takes place in particular people at particular places and times. Thinking is an activity that uses up time, and it always occurs in a particular place. Thinking can be done out-loud or to oneself, with others or alone, while awake or while dreaming. Like all other activities, we think for reasons, and these reasons can be more or less conscious. And we can think too much or too little, and in a useful way or in a way that causes trouble for ourselves and/or others.

  • Short idea 131

    Short idea (131): To a vast degree, the world is not what we think or imagine or perceive or expect or want it to be.

  • Short idea 152

    Short idea (152): An introspective exercise I did made me think that thinking is a branch of the imagination and that reason is a branch of thinking. However, it is just as possible that thinking and fantasy are offspring of the same parent (maybe the need to grasp the future). Or that they both come from the same root or need. Or that they are two forms of the same thing.

  • Short idea 172

    Short idea (172): Linear (or active) Thinking is a chain or line of thought in which we use thoughts to solve a problem. Associative (or passive) Thinking is a line or chain or thoughts linked together by previous associations. Both Linear and Associative are step by step processes with each link in the chain, each point on the line, connected to the previous one by an understandable connection. There is another type of thought that we might call Archetypal in which an idea "pops into ones head," and it seems completely unconnected with any previous thought. It "came out of no where," as it were, "out of the blue." If, on examining a new archetypal thought, it does seem connected with ones previous thoughts at all, it seems more as if it is an observation or commentary or insight about the line of thought that came before. It may seem as if it came from outside oneself, almost as if it was the point of view of another, often more intelligent and wiser, person.

  • Short idea 175

    Short idea (175): Anger is a way of holding things at arm's length, of isolating oneself from what you are angry at. We know the negative sides of this distancing for oneself and for others, but a positive function is that it seems to be a necessary step in thinking; it is pre-condition of observing and analyzing.

  • Short idea 176

    Short idea (176): If you are the type of person who is devoted to thinking, it is probable that you are not the type of person who continually tries to balance your feeling state in order to feel as good as you can feel. And vice versa: If you are constantly monitoring your feelings and sensations to adjust them to their optimal state, it will be almost possible for you to be what is called "a thinker." All your thought and energy will be devoted to adjusting your feelings.

  • Short idea 188

    Short idea (188): It seems to me that there is a third option when confronted with an unpleasant situation besides Fight or Flight. There is also Assessment. Assessment includes Stopping, Waiting, Observation, Feeling, Thinking, and Imagining.

  • Short idea 195

    Short idea (195):There are beautiful ideas and there are true ideas. Occasionally we find a beautiful idea that turns out to be true. And, occasionally, we stumble across a true idea that we come to see is very beautiful.

  • Short idea 200

    Short idea (200):Perhaps the most seductive things in the world are words — including the words that come into your head. 

  • things in Fantasy

  • things in the World

  • Thinking

  • Thinking about ...

  • Thinking Scientifically

  • Thinking, Truth, and Reality

    Thinking, Truth, and Reality

    I separate Thinking (which is an activity), Truth (which can be the result of Thinking, and Reality.

    Using spatial metaphors, thinking can be used to make a point or a series of points. It can be a series of unrelated points, or it can proceed in a line from one point to the next. This can be done in a step by step manner that obeys the rules of logic, or in a more random and, perhaps, intuitive manner. Logical thinking involves work and is active. It can be sharp and clear and clean or fuzzy and muddy and confused. Thinking can arrive at the truth or hit on the truth or lead us to truths.

    All Thinking is Real and part of Reality. Truth is Real and part of Reality. Thinking can help us deal with Reality, but it Thinking does not give or take us to Reality. Thinking is one dimensional (points) or two dimensional (lines of thought), but any Reality is multi-dimensional. Though thinking is part of reality, a piece of reality, it can also be a veil that keeps a thinker away from other parts of reality. It can be a buffer between a person and reality. Thinking is about something: Reality, on the whole, isn't about anything — it just is. Thinking is an activity (passive or active) done by someone and felt to be going on now; Reality, on the whole is not done by anyone and is not felt by anyone to be anything or at any time.

    Thinking is one or two dimensional, but there can be different lines of thoughts about the same topic. So it is possible to have a whole web of thought, as it were, and this web can be thought of as three dimensional. In so far a thought process or series of thought processes take place over time, thinking can be thought of having a fourth dimension, the dimension of time. But each line of thought (qua line of thought) can be thought of as represented by a series of positive real numbers. Reality is thick with Reality, as it were. Continuing with the mathematical metaphor, it has more than four dimensions, and many (or all) can not be represented with real numbers. The dimensions of Reality would be represented by irrational numbers.

    Thinking, at best, gives the Truth, but the corresponding Reality is always bigger than the thought or the truth about it. Thinking never gives Reality. At best it gives Truth. In a parallel manner, it can lead to Falsehood but not Unreality.

    There is such a thing as the Set of all Thoughts of all human beings. There is no Set of all Real Things. 

    No matter how logical a person's thinking, no matter how true his or her conclusion, this does not mean the person has fathomed or grasped the Reality about which he or she is thinking. Reality always escapes thought. Reality is not a series of Truths; it is bigger and deeper and thicker and richer, to use another series of metaphors. 

    Finding a Truth can be dangerous for a thinker in that, it can lead to an incorrect feeling of security that one has mastered the corresponding Reality. Thinking about war and arriving at Truths about war is not the Reality of war. Truths about sex and thinking about sex are not sex.

  • Type

  • via the Intellect

Two Approaches to Understanding Psychology

via reflection on the world
via reflection on one's immediate experience
Close




   the One   the Whole
the Sacred
the Ordinary
People
Action
Experience
Consciousness
Universals
feeling stuck
feelings of failing,        of dying
waiting
 waking up — feeling reborn
   focusing   on the self
confronting the   unconscious
the whole person
living in multiple       worlds
learning about     the world
feelings of success,     of the good life