“Psychology” is an emergent property of society

What is “psychology?”

Supposedly it’s a science aimed at understanding human mental function.

But there is no separation between mental and physical (which includes “environment”).

So what is “psychology?”

I have to agree with Norbert Elias – psychology is an emergent property of society.

And as society progresses into civilization, psychology and psychologizing (along with, interestingly, morality and moralizing) become more rampant.

To what end?

What is the purpose of this? Of what are civilization and psychology a symptom?

Is it simply that these emerge as a result of population density?

John B. Calhoun’s rat experiments (30 years of them) seem to suggest so.

In which case, consider the importance society has placed on the advances of “civilization” and “psychology.”

Meanwhile the geniuses of those areas all along were sorting out a symptom.

PDF Creator    Send article as PDF   

Religious behavior reflects cultural evolution

In a response to my post “Non-Random Thoughts on Motivation and Behavior” Aaron Schwenzfeier asked how I’d relate modern self-help behavior/literature to modern religious behavior.

Thanks Aaron!

Religion is an interesting topic. I know you’re familiar with Winkelman’s book “Supernatural as Natural.” There appear to be many endogenous “drivers” of religious behavior in primates.

If you combine that with the info from Jaynes’ hypothesis in “The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” – which basically said that prior to the evolution of the function of the hippocampus people heard their own thoughts as “the voice of God(s)” – you get an interesting picture of religion.

Modern religious behavior reflects modern cultural trends (which are based on the (perceived) needs and demands of the modern environment).

If the modern environment is one that psychologizes (which it seems to be), then religion will psychologize – or psychologizing will appear to be an appropriate action within religious contexts.

Similarly, we see the other facets of modern culture (i.e., a manifestation of the group interpretation of perceived environmental demand/need) in modern religious behavior – competition, exclusion/exclusivity, and “individualization” of religion (iGod), and…self-help behavior! For sure.

Create PDF    Send article as PDF