Trusting Knowledge

The history of psychology is filled with various experts attempting to reinvent the wheel (the model of human behavior), and as a result there has been a sharp increase in theories, concepts, and definitions, over-complicating a subject that can be explained in far simpler and straightforward terms than the average psychologist or layperson can explain it.

In other words, psychology is complicated more because of the vast volume of competing and often impractical concepts than because human behavior  is complex.

This is not to say that human behavior is not complex, but that Occam's Razor is not being applied: Among competing hypothesis, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected.

Personally, I believe the "why" is the easy part, but that the "how" requires much more study than we've done to this point. We may know why someone does something (he's been conditioned) but the how of it requires psychologists to look at genetics, society, mental conditions, and interpersonal relationships.

So psychology is both very simple, even elementary, and yet infinitely complex (as complex as nature itself, which all of science has yet to discover even a percentage of). What happens if people do not understand this? If they live completely on one end of the spectrum or the other, either believing that psychology is easy or that it is very hard?

I think then we end up with elitist academics who do not trust laypersons with the "complexities" of psychology, and laypersons who think they can master the human mind by reading a few pop-psychology books (coincidentally written by academics*), or by mimicking their doctors.

I don't know if either of these types are dangerous, or more dangerous than the other, but they're both fools studying only one color of a prism. Both become know-it-alls who refuse to believe the other has anything to add, and so dismiss each other.

Humans dismiss each other at their own peril!

*Studying a subject presents a great risk to any student: a false sense of security. The phrase "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" comes to mind. If people do not maintain a mindset that they do _not_ know everything, and so that they must tread with caution, what knowledge they have gained, whether by book or course, can naively be used in the wrong way: a well-meaning friend trying to help a potential suicide through depression, or a doctor who misdiagnoses a patient for failing to be thorough in his approach.

Often what we think we know is a blinder to what is real.

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