Friday 20 April 2018

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

Longer observation (17): The Center of Everything: It is usually as clear as a bell to young children that the sun and moon are the largest and closest objects in the sky; that the sun is the brightest object in the sky and the moon is the second brightest; that the sun is the center of the daytime sky and moves around our earth; and that the stars are the faintest and most distant objects in the sky.

It comes as a shock to the intellect of a child that this isn't the truth, that no part of it is true: That the earth with us on it is revolving around the sun (as is the moon); that we are all on a speck (comparatively speaking) in a massive universe; that the sun is a star, a faint one that is on the small side; and that we are part of a larger system which is part of still larger systems; and so on.

All this contradicts our senses, our experience, and our common sense. Realizing the truth is often felt as a massive upheaval of ones intellect that can perturb the emotions and imagination and cast a shadow over the bright senses and our clearest thoughts. Some never accept the evidence.

It is parallel with many children's sense of their individual selves. Nothing is more evident than that we are the center of everything; that the world unfolds around us with us as its center. 

And there can be a massive shift in us when we learn that there are other people who are, each one, as much the center of everything as we are; that we are one of many, not unique particularly or more outstanding or of a different kind and nature than anyone else. We are all people

And it a greater shift to realize we are, to others, as they are to us, objects in the universe that surrounds them; that our view is not special, not the only valid one; and that it is imperfect and limited, essentially and by the nature of things.

Many get used to these shocking and difficult truths in the same way they learn to grudgingly accept the shocking truths about the sun and moon and earth and stars. But not everybody does. Just as some hold out, against the evidence, and refuse to admit that the earth isn't at the center of the universe, there are those who hold out, also against all evidence, and refuse to admit that they aren't the center of the social universe.

Two Approaches to Understanding Psychology

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

   the One   the Whole
the Sacred
the Ordinary
feeling stuck
feelings of failing,        of dying
 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