Untrue Things People Believe
This is the eighteenth article addressing those things most people believe that are not true introduced in the article, "Most Of What You Believe Is Not True." To see all the articles, or any other one, please see the Index.
Psychology, which is the study of human consciousness, or the mind, is a very important discipline that unfortunately got off on the wrong foot, so to speak, and has never recovered. What goes by the name psychology today is as wrong and as superstitious as alchemy was or astrology still is.
From the very beginning psychology made two disastrous mistakes: it failed to identify the nature of volition and totally misinterpreted the nature of emotions.
About volition psychology failed to identify the fact that all human behavior, including thinking, must be consciously chosen. Nothing makes a human being do anything except a human being's own conscious choice to do it. Without volition there would be no such thing as the mind, and therefore nothing for psychology to study.
About the emotions psychology reversed the role of feelings and desires from being the consequence of what one believes, thinks, and chooses to being determiners of ones thoughts and choices. Neither feelings nor desires cause anyone to do anything. Feelings do not inform anyone of anything except the feelings themselves. The only cause of human behavior is conscious choice.
From there, everything in psychology went downhill.
Since all the problems with psychology have already been addressed at length elsewhere [Psychology's Anticivilizing Influence on the West, and Fifth Cavalry or Fifth Column: Examining Psychiatry's Role in Our Lives], I'll limit this article to some of the false concepts psychology has introduced in the world that almost everyone believes.
Untrue Psychological Inventions
Virtually all of the following ideas are widely accepted as, "scientific fact," because psychology is supposed to be a science (which it isn't), and because people love something that seems to excuse or forgive anything they choose to do, because they can't help it.
The subconscious, which is also referred to as the, "unconscious," is the invention of Sigmund and Anna Freud. The subconscious is supposedly an aspect of the mind which one cannot be directly conscious of yet supposedly affects one's conscious experience in ways that determine one's thinking, actions, and feelings.
There is no evidence of any kind of so-called subconscious. There is no such thing, but even if there were, it could not be known. There are only two sources for our knowledge of anything, that which we are conscious of (or deduced from what we are conscious of) and the fact that we are conscious. If there were something we could not be conscious of we could not know of its existence.
Furthermore, if there were a so-called subconscious, it couldn't have any affect on our consciousness if we were never conscious of it. If we are conscious of something, even if the source of the conscious experience, such as some emotions, is not clearly understood, it is not subconscious, but simply a conscious one.
Nevertheless the "subconscious" is a very popular lie. People love the idea that something they are not conscious of in some dark sub-basement of the mind wields some strange mystic force on one's consciousness producing desires, and feelings, and thoughts, or visions, which they have no control over, because it relieves them of responsibility for any thoughts or actions resulting from it.
But it doesn't! Even if there were a subconscious, it cannot make any choices because choices can only be made consciously. No matter what one feels or desires, or why, they are always responsible for their choices, and no one can escape that fact no matter how much they attempt to excuse it with some psychological lie.
The chemical imbalance lie attempts to blame individual's personality problems or emotional problems on some kind of chemical imbalances in the brain which can ostensively be corrected with some kind of drugs.
Every lie of psychology is put over because there is a degree of plausibility to it or a fact from the real science of physiology that is misapplied to psychology. There really are some "chemicals" that affect human moods and feelings. They are called hormones and when normal levels of these hormones are affected by physiological problems (over-acting or under-acting of some endocrine glands, for example) they can and often cause unpleasant and seemingly unexplained feelings. These hormonal imbalances can be treated and sometimes are treated with supplements.
As for so-called brain-chemical imbalances, none has ever been discovered or identified, and the drugs that are given to correct these non-existent chemical imbalances cause real physiological changes which are almost always deleterious.
No chemicals cause people's personality or emotional problems. What we feel and how we behave is determined entirely by what we believe, think, and choose. Personality and emotional problems are caused by bad beliefs, bad thinking, and bad choices, not bad chemicals.
This particular lie is promoted by both two pseudo-sciences: psychology and sociology. Social conditioning is the lie that what a person is, their beliefs, even their personality, is determined by the influence of whatever society they were raised in, including all familial, cultural, economic conditions.
The plausibility of this lie is in the fact that one's familial and cultural background are important, not as determiners, but as possible limits to one's personal development. Anyone who grew up anywhere one hundred years ago (or today where the technologies do not exist) could never become a computer programmer, an anesthesiologist, or bioengineer. Everyone's first language is the language of the country and community they grew up in, and one's first cultural practices such as dress, manners, music, and entertainment will be those one is first exposed to.
None of these things determines the kind of person any individual is, however. The Social Conditioning lie is almost never used to explain why those who achieve something in life and make something of themselves are successful, but to explain why those who never achieve anything of value and are mostly unhappy and always in trouble are failures. "It's not their fault, it's because of their social disadvantages."
The truth is that no matter how terrible a social background is [and some are truly terrible], even if most succumb to the belief their background prevents them from succeeding, some will nevertheless go on to achieve what the psychologist and sociologist deem impossible, that is, they will develop themselves into productive successful human beings.
What any human being is cannot be determined by any external factors, such as society, because it is an individual's own conscious choices that determine what he is.
The old excuse for bad behavior used to be, "the devil made me do it." The modern version of that excuse is, "my genes made me do it." The excuse has been provided by psychologists.
The plausibility for this lie comes from the fact that most of human physiology is determined by genetics. Psychologists embraced that fact, pointing out that determination obviously included the physical brain. Since psychologists generally ignore the volitional nature of human consciousness, (and therefore the entire nature of the mind), attributing everything to what the brain does, it was easy to put over the idea that what a person is, their personality, their thinking, their desires, even their beliefs, were determined by genetics.
Physical and other genetically determined characteristics do not determine what anyone is; they only provide potential to be developed and set limits or the scope of what is possible to any individual. Obviously one who is tone deaf will not become a concert pianist, and one who is only 5'1" is not going to become a professional basketball player. Everyone has different degrees of innate intelligence, and everyone has different mental abilities in different areas. One who finds mathematics difficult and boring will not be interested in becoming a physicist and someone who finds poetry and fine literature tedious is not going to become a poet or novelist.
Within the scope of anyone's genetically provided abilities and characteristics, there is no limit to what anyone can make of themselves or be. Who and what any individual chooses to be is determined only by what they choose to make of themselves, not by genetics.
Evolutionary psychology is a new pseudo-science that combines the two pseudo-sciences of psychology and evolution. Evolutionary psychology begins with the acceptance of the genetic determination lie and attempts to explain it in terms of its evolution. It is another assault on the volitional nature.
According to evolutionary psychology, people are what they are because that is what they have evolved to be. It turns the excuse, "my genes made me do it," to, "it's not my fault, it's how I evolved."
Evolutionary psychology is the lowest rung of psychology—it cannot get any lower. It not only is an assault on volition, but on human hope. Like the old Christian doctrine of, "original sin," which said everyone is a sinner because that is their nature, evolutionary psychology says, "you cannot be anything other than what you are, because that is how you evolved."
Fortunately original sin and evolutionary psychology are both lies, and anyone can choose to be whatever they are willing to make the effort to be.