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there was a great deal of self-consciousness, maybe suffocatingly so where hardly a conversation could be had without referencing the political.

I suspect that self-conscious discussions involving political choices was part of what I described above as bringing the pattern of compulsion into consciousness and placing it under rational control. If that process has noticeably decreased, as you suggest, it could indicate a return to conscious repression of awareness of the compulsion, which would allow the compulsion to operate more noticeably.

Part of this may be generational. Even former German leaders have noted that the current leadership has lost sight of common European interests and that the current political situation has little tolerance for actions and expenditures that do not benefit Germany itself. This goes hand in hand with recent economic policy, which has asked sacrifices from the German working class in the name of "competitiveness". So much of the German electorate feels, with some justification, that that they have made sacrifices and now it is time for others to do the same.

Of course there is no discussion of sacrifices by German business elites, who have greatly benefited from German labor's sacrifices, as it is easier to blame the peripherals. Nor is there any appetite to look at the consequences of neo-liberal policies or, especially amongst the media and politicians, for understanding that it was banks in the "virtuous" trade surplus countries that took imprudent risks with loans to the peripherals, that for the surplus countries to have their surpluses there have to be deficit countries or that EU and ECB policies have favored Germany at the expense of the interests and needs of the deficit countries that are now unable to pay the loans that they took on in better times. Nor is there any recognition that the pain that is being inflicted on the peripheral countries far exceeds anything that Germany has itself experienced since WW II and its immediate aftermath.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:44:49 PM EST
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The American Novelist Walter Abish (an American of German Jewish descent) described his trips to Germany as a matter of showcasing a repression of German history in plain sight. This was seen from the early postwar German days as new towns were built over some with bad histories, literally over the bones. But a perfect example may be Paul Celan's Todesfuge which describes a concentration camp. Celan disowned the poem when he realized that German children were discussing and reciting the poem in school in the national curriculum. To be fair to Germany, this is an immensely difficult and monumental task, to put the past in context, commemorate it, and at the same time build a future. Given the 20th century, it seems an incredible task for one to undertake. A pyschoanalytical approach may be one of the last things that's applied to the task itself, and it comes almost as a luxury.

And by the time it comes, we're ready for it to happen again.

by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 05:54:58 PM EST
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A pyschoanalytical approach may be one of the last things that's applied to the task itself, and it comes almost as a luxury.

And by the time it comes, we're ready for it to happen again.

Well, by now, it is largely considered an unscientific curiosity, as the hermeneutics based approach is rejected. Fortunately, brain science is beginning to reestablish significant parts of what was lost and on firmer foundations. The Skinnerian Stimulus-Response based psychology, which was mostly what was left, really could not resolve the differences between a rat and a man, so it was not too useful for analyzing higher level functions.                          

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 02:50:50 PM EST
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The Skinnerian Stimulus-Response based psychology, which was mostly what was left, really could not resolve the differences between a rat and a man, so it was not too useful

Well - er - actually... :)

The Freudian stuff diverged off into psychodynamic theory, attachment theory and various sort-of-hand-wavey theories of personality.

They're not all completely wrong - some of them make useful predictions - but it's not obvious how formally scientific they are.

The problem for all psychology is that objectively, all you can look at is behaviour. Conscious and unconscious motivations are much more difficult to judge.

But the DSMs are mostly behavioural, and work on the basis that if someone does a lot of A,B,C and D, it's not a surprise if they also do E and F.

I've said before that none of this has worked its way into politics or economics in any useful way.

The Marxists turned Freudianism into a weird intellectual fetish object that was almost completely disconnected from real actions, and completely undermined any contribution it could have made to public debate.

I think at some point in the next century - possibly the next quarter century - psychology is going to explode all over politics and economics, and there may be an outbreak of sanity after that.

Although it's not obvious, the DSMs are all about moral behaviour, and the fact that certain illnesses cause individuals to act in a maladjusted (immoral) way.

Obviously you can debate that, but it would be better to have that debate than it is to live with the current situation, where personal and social morals have almost no connection at all to practical political and economic morality - but almost everyone assumes they're very similar.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:27:31 PM EST
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I think at some point in the next century - possibly the next quarter century - psychology is going to explode all over politics and economics, and there may be an outbreak of sanity after that.

Hope springs eternal! Come the day. And I certainly do not deny that there were abuses by some and bizarre forays by others out of that tradition, but is was far better than nothing but Skinner.

I think a combination of brain science and hermeneutics is essential to the future development of the field. We have to accept that there will be a higher level of uncertainty about human psychology than about many physical sciences. But my inner cynic suspects that it has been very convenient to have most psychological disciplines under a cloud. What remains or has become respectable mostly are approaches that generate cash flows and promote social control. We need to do better.

 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:54:10 PM EST
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As someone in literature, I am not at all bugged by the a-paradigmatic things we study. That we lack empirical data points to the phenomena studied. I'm fascinated by brain and cognitive science (I'm actually "The Power of Music" right now by Elena Mannes) and I think it's very worthwhile but its going to have a great deal of difficulty accounting for a field that is difficult to even describe, never mind touch and measure.
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 08:52:34 PM EST
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Hermeneutics is the basis for almost all art and literature, so, when it is dismissed, so are all of the "humanities".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 11:13:12 PM EST
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Well, Freud and the Freudians did not do themselves any great favours by fudging their research data and generally defending themselves against criticism in the manner of a fundamentalist sect...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 04:00:52 PM EST
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ThatBritGuy:
I think at some point in the next century - possibly the next quarter century - psychology is going to explode all over politics and economics, and there may be an outbreak of sanity after that.

I just fear it will land in marketing.

by generic on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 05:11:31 PM EST
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Psychology is already heavily used in marketing and advertising.  Go to any Marketing department, start pontificating about "rational consumers" and watch them explode into laughter.  Psychology will only enter Economics in a big way when Economists decide to stop farting around and study how an economy actually functions.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 08:35:32 PM EST
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