Monday, January 08, 2007

Identity, philosophy, popular psychology, religion, stuff like that: 1 - psychology & philosophy

I am curious about the complexities of who we are, and how we integrate the different, often contradictory aspects of ourselves.

Like most people I know the names of Jung and Freud, and that apparently everything is my mother's fault. Actually I thought that this was the central tenet of adolescence, but that, like acne, you grow out of it, but of course, these were men.....

PhilipLarkin famously blamed both parents, though his second verse might be about Jung and Freud. How come the happy people don't get famous? Imagine the million dollar best-seller, I have a great life! My parents taught me all I know, God bless'em! (Oh go on, let me miss the point if it amuses me. I don't get to do smug very often.)

From Oprah, Frasier and The Simpsons, I have learnt that families are important in determining who we are.

So I've got the main psychological theories covered.

Thanks to Monty Python I can list lots of philosophers too, and thanks to Sophie's World, I even know some of what they had to say when they'd sobered up. Actually, I must confess that I didn't finish Sophie's World. This might be the time to get it back from whoever I lent it to, or take a stroll down to House of Prose. (I obviously don't have anything else to do, with a new term starting next week!)

Yet dilutions of all of these theories have become part of how we westerners see ourselves and our world, even though most of us have probably never done our homework.

Incidentally, while Psychology is a Humanities option in the International Baccalaureate programme, all Diploma students study Theory of Knowledge: "The course discusses how the student is able to know something. The student is described as a "knower" who attempts to find knowledge, where knowledge, as defined by Plato, is 'justified true belief'.................................... The course is formulated and centered around one main question: How do you know?" Interesting, hm? A good subject for an International School, where every class contains intelligent, articulate people of several nationalities, cultures and religions; some of whom may be in positions of public influence in later life.


nzm said...

You could always tell them that the answer to the question is 42!

MamaDuck said...

Good point, but would they listen?!