Archive for the ‘ Psychology ’ Category

The Importance of Medea in the Theatre, Psychology, and Philosophy

I am listening to The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

Medea (Play) in Wikipedia

Professor Robinson spends a whole lesson on the Greek Tragic Theatre, which he knows very well. He has added a new word  to my vocabulary – chthonic. A world very difficult to pronounce – because the ch sound is followed by the th sound. Understanding what means is difficult also – but after listing to him twice, I almost understand what is means – at a gut level.

Medea is an example of the primitive female (capable of great good and great harm) in literature, including Shakespeare.

Being Happy is Making Lots of Money

Coursera – top jobs for happy computer scientists

I worked with these guys in Silicon Valley, in the Nineties – and saw how immoral (and incompetent) they were.

Perhaps conditions have improved there, and programmers can now find satisfaction in doing a good job.

These MOOCs are taught by Universities in the U.S. mainly. None of them are taught by Universities in Latin America. These are hopelessly out of date, unlikely to recover – and can’t understand why. They were left behind by the Industrial Revolution – and are being left behind by the Computer Revolution.

They are also some of the most violent countries in the world – frustration and violence often go together.

Bad Information Reproduces Faster

It is like cancer – cells that reproduce without limit, crowd out the normal cells, and then spread elsewhere.

Bad information spreads because it is more interesting, because it is so unusual. Soon there is so much of it – it appears normal.

The Way It Is, and the Way They Want It To Be

There is a big gap between these two now. People are determined to make things behave the way they want them to – and ignore the way they really behave. Why? Because they have conquered them, and they must now obey.

This is especially true with the Computer, which is our slave – and must do whatever we want it to do. And make us ever more powerful and important.

Both of these ideas are crazy, as crazy as they can be. But crazy ideas can be very powerful – and people will eagerly follow them to their death. Self-destruction seems to be baked into the human race. Something we should be very aware of – but are not. Being crazy is more fun – a lot more fun.

I learned this from a couple I rented a room from when I was working in high-tech Southern California. When the wife laid her eyes on me, she wanted me for herself – and the husband agreed with this agreement. I could have her in the morning, after he had left for work, and he would have her in the evening, after he returned from work. She was very pregnant at the time – but that would not be a problem.

I should have had her, and had her many times – but that didn’t feel right to me. Meanwhile, the husband who was manic-depressive – stopped taking his meds, because being normal was too boring. I left them to go on one of my long backpacking trips. When got back, they had a baby girl – and the husband was recovering from a severe psychotic breakdown.

They thought they could have everything – but they ended up with nothing.

How often this happens!

If Someone Destroys Your Mind – They Destroy You

There has been some talk, lately – from guys who should know better (such as Stephen Pinker, in his The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined). Who is telling people what they want to hear – that they are getting better all the time.

This guy is not living in the real world, and has never had a real job – where blood flows between the cubicles, people get stabbed in the back – and everyone takes careful note of this, and does their best to make sure they are not the next victim.

This atmosphere kills people who take it too seriously – something every organization wants you to do.

To Die on the Cross, for them.

The Decision to Not Be

This, it seems to me – is a common response to today’s problems. The decision to remove ourselves from the picture – and just let things be. That way we won’t be responsible for anything that goes on – and plenty of bad things are going on.

This, to me, is the worst thing we can do – it’s mass suicide. But that does not bother other people.

Take the Woman’s March on Washington as an example of a slightly different approach. I have a sister who participated in this. She said they had a good time – and she came home satisfied with herself, for having done it. What did they accomplish? Nothing, but this did not bother her – this is not what they set out to do.

What did they set out to do? I thought it was to get President Trump to include Woman’s Rights in his programs. There is no evidence that this happened. And no evidence that people like my sister have realized this. They made a grand gesture, and let it go at that.

This is also true with the people who use LinkedIn to do Professional Networking with other people. Professions, of any kind – do their own networking, and do not need another organization to do this for them. But there are a lot of people who are not professional, by any stretch of the imagination – but badly want to be thought of this way. LinkedIn was made for them – it accomplishes little, but it makes its users feel better, about themselves.

We are dealing with two realities here – what’s really going on, and what’s going on in people’s minds. The two, in our time – are badly out of sync.

And no one finds this a problem.

The Masochism that Destroyed Personal Growth

Personal Growth was one of the watchwords of the Sixties – that amazing time that held such promise – but soon ended. The Hippies had Flower Power – but the Business Economy had the jobs.

This became a personal tragedy for me and my wife – who lived in Santa Barbara, California, in the Sixties – back when lots of people retired there, because it was so beautiful, and so cheap. We thought the good times would last forever. They didn’t.

The bad times arrived, and never left.

It is hard for Americans now to understand what happened – how anything so thoroughly bad – could have happened. And how irresistible this change was at the time. It felt wonderful – when, in fact, it was terrible.

People ask “How could anything bad, feel so good?”

I cannot answer that question – but can only point to what happened. Reagan destroyed California, and then the entire U.S. – and the American people loved him for it! For showing them it could be done – and done easily. All you had to have, was the will to do it – and they had that will, in abundance.


It’s hard to explain how easily this happened. It was made possible, first of all – because people decided not to notice what was going on. This was a tragic decision – but it felt like the right decision at the time. Big things were happening, and people thought it best, not to question them.

Let me repeat that. People felt things bigger than they were taking over – and, due to their religious nature – they had no objection to this. If it was bigger, it was better.

This habit, of not knowing, became impossible to shake off. And it has become integral to our way of life.