she blinded me with SCIENCE


I am reading “The Pathology of the Human-Nature Relationship” (Ecopsychology book mentioned earlier) and it references Erik Erikson thoughts on the matter.  Basically, human adolescence is hard enough as it is, but couple that with our being cut-off from Nature and our specie-wide fixation and it “fits with the kind of boisterous, arrogant pursuit of individual self-assertion that characterizes the consumerist, exploitive model of economic growth, where the short-term profit of entrepreneurs and corporate sharholders seems to be not only the dominant value, but the only value under consieration.  It also fits with the aggressive and predatory militarism and emphasis on the values and ideals of male warrior cults that have characterized Western civiliation since the Bronze Age.”  He goes on to heap racism, paranoia, and fascism onto this as well. 

Am I to take this guy seriously?  Is Ecopsychology to be able to reach out past the tree-huggers?  Not if they can’t quit this type of dialogue.  It might be absolutely correct, for all I know.  The person who wrote the essay and referenced this is a professor at Cal Institute of Integral Studies afterall.  I am just a lowly undergrad.  What the hell do I know.  But still, I am liking this book less and less.  This book isn’t science, it isn’t psychology, it is poorly done philosophy.  Philosphy, at least, will not make assertions that can’t be shown through logic.  Thus far in this essay A and B are given and a far removed G is tossed in.  No correlation study, no statistics, no anything, just a “it seems to me that it follows that…” 

There is a division within the APA (American Psychological Association) called “Peace Psychology” and its intent is to study conflict and foster peace.  An admirable goal.  I did a lot of scanning of the literature of various journals and lectures from within this division and it is severely lacking.  I never found a counter argument that sought to study why aggression is better, or why conflict is necessary.  This is what science is, you seek to disprove your ideas.  You come up with your best guess and then you try to knock it down.  One article that I found showed a link to patriotism and negative feelings toward other countries.  It is a huge no no in the far-out liberal community to think negatively about any group (except conservatives, CEOs, and loggers).  However, when one looked at the actual study and picked it apart, it used two samples, twelve teenagers from England and fourteen teenagers from Germany.  It should have been argued by the board or at least the editor of the journal that this study is arguably not valid, not relevant, and not representative.  The division, generally speaking, does not offer science as it offers a soap box.

This article is lacking!  Oh my gods this article is lacking and it reaches too far.  “Jean Liedloff’s studies of mother-infant bonding among the Amazonian Indians and her “continuum concept” support Shepard’s  assertion that babies adn parents in hunter-gatherer  scoeities have an intense early attachment that leads not to prolonged dependency but to a better functioning nervous system”.  There is no reference to back up this claim, nor the other far reaching claims.  One of the first things one learns about conducting science is the importance of looking for confounds.  CONFOUNDS PEOPLE!  And the reason why Psychology is not respected by the other “hard” sciences (Chemistry, Biology, Physics, etc..) and is called a “Soft” science is because there a zillions and zillions of confounds that enter into the magic equation that determines our behavior.  It is a big guessing game.  It is predictions.  The best we’ve got is that past behavior predicts future behavior.  But that’s it.  How on Earth can the author make his assumptions in this article?

I just looked up the references in the back.  No mention of where this article was first published.  And in the footnotes of the essay there is only reference to seven articles, all of them essays, none of them research.  Okay, I’m being too hard… it is just an essay afterall and likely it was published in a magazine geared for environmentalists or such, and not scientist. Still, I want the friggin references.  I want the author to list sources of research to back up his (and to be fair, the outlandish claims of those he quotes) claims.

Okay, it appears that perhaps there might be plenty for me to do, to figure out research that goes beyond just preaching hug trees and the like.  Who says that having a great city isn’t a good thing?  Because it disturbs your hippy mentality?  That isn’t science and that approach will NOT change the world.  If I am going to go to other scientists, boards of advisors, government officials, and more and tell them that that a more organic approach to living on the Earth is not only better economically (ecnomisists are working on this), or ecologically (again, many are at work on proving that living in a healthy and complex ecosystem is better for our own health), but that a different relationship with this environment and our place within it dramatically improves our mental health as individuals, as communities, and as a species… I better have more than touchy-feely concepts that mirror political angst and stem from an existentialist longing for meaning. 

Sheesh people.  Lets look alive out there.

I am taking yet another Research Methods class (what is this… the third one now?) as well as a psychopathology class.  Good.  Perhaps I’ll have a bit of leeway in trying to come up with an experiment.  Since the psychopathology class is a 400 level class I assume I’ll have lots of reading to do.  And since I can never read just the three or four articles the profs ask for, and I usually go out to twenty or thirty (you should have seen my copy bill at UH in 99… HA) I hope to come up with some sort of research idea to test mental illness within an ecopsychology framework. 


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