An interesting article on a confusing subject with its confused legacy of psychoanalysis onward through the cuckoo’s nest to the hard to evaluate world of clinical psychology/pharmacology (of which I was once very critical after working briefly as an orderly in a psychiatric crisis clinic in the Thorazine era: the void between ‘neurosis’ and ‘schizophrenia’ is tricky). The reign of modern psychology has not produced a viable understanding of man starting with Freud’s limited studies and gross confusions and the failed efforts at making a science out of psychology. The problem emerged in the wake of Newtonian physics and the onset of scientism, a limited realm pointed to by such as Kant and Schopenhauer: the left has suffered regression into scientism here due to the bad influence of marxist fundamentalism. Sufis, buddhists, and yogis, despite the wreckage of their own legacies in the occult wasteland of guruism have often noted this and produced a series of updated spiritual psychologies of often equally baseless superstition. But all in all buddhist style psychologies (despite buddhist confusion over anatta) or else secularized yoga psychology (minus hatha yoga) point to much that has simply been lost in the modern world, which however is slowly moving to correct its imbalance, leaving superficial psychology scientism behind. But the noumenon/phenomenon issue, however much science would tend to reject that form of idealism, lurks to render self-knowledge difficult…a long discussion for the moment…
Having worked around psychiatric residents in training, a gang of rapacious jerks, mostly, I have lost any trust in the realm of therapy and its exploitation as a crypto-capitalism of hapless victims of the hundred dollar an hour bluff of expertise.
The critiques from the left are of great significance but the left, even figures like Gould, has always been caught up in the social darwinism confusion and dogmatically structured around the darwinian ideology of natural selection. The inability to sort out confusions over evolution has resulted in a sad history of leftist darwinism, one the worst possible compromises with crypto-capitalist memes.
The 1984 book Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature was authored by evolutionary geneticist R.C. Lewontin, neurobiologist Steven Rose, and psychologist Leon Kamin. They begin by making clear the political ideology behind individual defect biochemical/genetic determinism: “Biological determinism (biologism) has been a powerful mode of explaining the observed inequalities of status, wealth, and power in contemporary industrial capitalist societies. . . . Biological determinism is a powerful and flexible form of ‘blaming the victim’.” At the time of its publication, Not in Our Genesreceived praise from prominent public intellectuals such as anthropologist Ashley Montagu and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould (who had similarly criticized the pseudoscience behind hereditary determinism of intelligence in his 1981 book The Mismeasure of Man).