A short rant on why I hate Humanist Psychology- to the Humanists out there
You are about as scientific as banging your head against a cheese grater
Last time I read an article concerned with Humanism it was literally just a bubbling, excited Da Vinci Codin’, Tin Hat wearin’, George Lucas praisin’-like passage about how Maslow, before the fella died, was coming up with a new layer of his pyramid of needs- Self Actualisation. Because he didn’t put a book out on it, it’s not very popular. If the merits of your lord and master are simply whether he published an idea or not, as opposed to you know, scrutiny and peer-review, then you got something to worry about. Self Actualisation? What is this, the Buddha speaking here? What’s the deal with the pyramid thing anyway? In fact…
What is the deal with the pyramid of needs anyway?
You know what other things have pyramids? The Ancient Egyptians (dead) and Amway.
You hijacked the “Psychology” section at bookstores
Namby pamby self-help, and tapes about what a great guy you are ARE NOT psychology. Save the token appearance of Freud looking sad on a cover (and his thing was psychoanalysis, not psychology), it’s all a bunch of organisational wank and how to use hypnotism and mental diversionary tactics for a whole range of issues, like losing weight, having better sex and being more organised. Come to think of it, don’t late night informercials have that sector covered?
You fill non-Psychological areas with the most poorly constructed tests in the world
Outside the worthwhile areas, such as seeing whether you have a mental disorder, or what your IQ is, or how you stack up on the introverted/extroverted scale, Humanist psychology has managed to make the wankiest little grid pattern, progressive matrices, quesstionnaire bullshit ever devised. I have never, EVER seen ANYONE do what the Myers-Briggs test reckoned they were going to do. My brother, working at uni in architecture, gave me a bunch of tests they made him do. As a psychologist I could literally not read them without taking a break every five minutes to appreciate what a total waste of time they are. According to this test, my brother is a “mercantilist”, “industrialist” and “businessman”. Apparently he has “great people skills” and “good at making things work”. You’re kidding right, someone who applied to do arhitecture is good at making things work? That leads me to my next point.
You are so happy and unbigoted
Gardener’s multiple intelligence theory posits that everyone has degrees of intelligence in different areas- you know, street smarts, maths, creativity and so on. A popular game for kindergardeners with this sort of concept is to make them cut out a circle (helping the retarded ones) and then have them draw up a pie chart with percentiles of what they think they are good at. What’s so great about this is that it always adds up to 100%, so everyone is a winner! Yay!
Babies, as if you didn’t know, are egocentric because they haven’t organised feelings for others yet. “Hang on” I said, plaintively in a developmental course “does this mean that they have no empathy?” “Of course not!” the lecturer happily informed me. “They’re babies, they’re egocentric. It’s different.”
While humanists probably have the developmental sector nailed like a reindeer head to the wall of their hunting lodge due to parents wanting to read up on the inherent beautiful goodness of their children, I can scarcely feel comfortable in informing them that these ideas have no grounding whatsoever. Humanists like to make people progressive, happy and always improving. Erik Erikksson talks about “challenges” that when beaten give you “qualities” like you life is some sort of platform adventure game upgrade thing. Life is great, la la la. Shame is, that life is hard, difficult, painful, cruel and not everyone is as equal, or nice, or progressive as you would like to think it is. People die, are dumb, are born unequal. Saying everyone is gonna be happy isn’t going to change this- actual work with the real world however, will.
You make stuff up as you go along
Another happy go lucky concept. I forget her name but she’s fairly recent. Anyway this one came up with the idea that there are men characteristics and female characteristics. The chick then suggested, the best sort of person is one that has a lot of both types of characteristics. What would one call a person who has many of both characteristics? Androgynous. No I’m not kidding. Here’s me thinking androgyny was someone who has no characteristics, and that people who had many male and female characteristics were called something else.
They make crap up as they go along.
You piff-paff good psychology
While I’m sure they are buddy-buddies with the infinitely more powerful (i.e. actually useful) discipline of CBT, anything so much as an idea of an IQ test, or some sort of lab work has them in paroxyms of pseudopostmodernism. “IQ tests don’t test anything apart from western ideals” or “its so unnatural to have experiments carried out in a laborotory” or the ever popular “the human mind is too complex and beautiful a thing to have numbered attached to it”. Let me slap some sense (unfortunately figuratively) into you. Without IQ tests you would not have a job, furthermore they are the most extensively applied, regulated and overarchingly useful tests in predicting life success anywhere in the world. Lab work is inherent and important and we find useful and applicable psych lab-based discoveries every single day and while agree with you that the mind is indeed a complex thing, it doesn’t mean we just stop getting quantitative data from it. Qualitative data is for Current Affair shows and charity adverts, the rest of us will use more useful methods.
EDIT: For some reason, that picture had been taking up a whole heap of views, and given the search engine terms, were unrelated to the topic I was discussing.