Sunday, August 06, 2017

Mistaken Personal Paths

There are many paths that claim to offer a way toward being a better person, and most of them are dead ends. I will examine some of them now.

One frequent claim is that good self-esteem makes good people and bad self-esteem makes bad people. This is completely wrong. The way in which I treat the next person is not based on how I feel about myself; it is based on how I feel about the other person. In fact a strong case can be made that it works in the opposite direction. If I have high standards for myself, then I will find it harder to feel good about myself than if I have low standards for myself. The person with lower standards will have a higher self-esteem; the person with higher standards will be a better person.

The main approach toward helping people who've undergone mistreatment has been to teach them to have high self-esteem and to be strong in themselves. I believe that this approach is mistaken. There are many ways to be strong. The self is not the only, nor the best, source of strength. I have known many strong people; and most of them were strong in something besides the self. There are many people who are strong in Christ, or in family, or in patriotism; and in many situations this form of strength is more empowering. If you are strong in yourself, then you will be less likely to make sacrifices. Whereas if you are strong in something greater than yourself, then you are more likely to act with genuine unselfishness and courage.

We see foolishness with “positive good, negative bad.” Positive thinking accomplishes absolutely nothing. In many cases it is the wrong thing to do. You need to anticipate problems and figure out anything that can go wrong. If you're thinking positive, you do not do that. If you are an engineer and you're thinking positive, you will design equipment that will blow up on use. If you are a policy maker and you're thinking positive, you will formulate a policy that makes more problems than it solves. If you are an attractive woman and you're thinking positive, you will fall for the line of a player without examining his actual character and wind up in a situation of abuse. For problems to be solved they have to be faced head-on. If it is negative to see a problem, then being negative is part of the process. If a nuclear reactor blows up you have to tell people exactly what has taken place. Being “positive” about such things is not enlightenment; it is lying.

Freud was demonstrably wrong. He mistook memories of childhood sexual abuse for erotic fantasy. On this false conclusion he built several other false conclusions.

One was that children are sexual. Children are not sexual; children are curious, and they may be just as curious about sexuality as they are about anything else.

Another was that women were an “incomplete gender” possessing a “penis envy.” What he saw was a situation in early 20th century Europe, in which men had all rights and powers and women wanted the powers and rights that men had. We do not see women envying men in places like Sweden, where women have the same status with men. Nor do we see women envying men in places like India, where women accept the “traditional” role as part of their religion.

His most famous error – that children are in love with the parent of the other gender and that love in adulthood is transference – is also demonstrably wrong. At that time there were few single-parent households; now there are plenty. And what we see again and again is that people raised in single-parent households fall in love just as readily as they do people raised in nuclear families. Since these people do not have a transference figure, their feelings cannot be transference. Finally, since the feelings that people raised in nuclear families develop are of the same character as theirs, then these feelings cannot be transference either.

Alfred Adler's ideas on “adequacy” are not only wrong; they are evil. Adler would pathologize everything that has taken humanity from caveman to man on the moon. No man is an adequate match for a tiger, nor should he strive to be an adequate match for a tiger. Man outdoes the tiger using superior methodology and in so doing advances the lot of humanity.

Personality psychology is not even rational. According to the definition of the sociopaths, they are evil and can only be evil whatever they do. This contradicts most basic reason. If people are responsible for their actions then anyone can choose to act rightfully; and if some people cannot act rightfully whatever they do then people are not responsible for their actions. With narcissism, if it is narcissistic to seek great success or if it is narcissistic to have original ideas, then anyone who's had great success and anyone who's had original ideas is a narcissist; which means that the world owes vastly to people with this disorder. Psychology has for a long time been seen by some religious people as encouraging permissiveness. This trend in psychology however is downright fascist.

All of these ideas are therefore demonstrably wrong, and they affect in a change in character that is not an improvement but a degradation. What does actually make you a better person? Deliberate choice to do the right thing. Understanding the consequences of your actions and being committed toward the best possible outcomes regardless of what it means for yourself. And my inspiration for that does not come from psychology. It comes from Jesus.


Post a Comment

<< Home