Thursday 26 April 2018

Short Observations

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JMH International Essays — Announcement

Original Essays on the Psychology of Anger and/or Violence 

We thank all those who have submitted an essay to the JMH International Prize Essay Contest. As of now, February 1, 2017, we have decided not to continue with the contest.

For those who feel they have an important contribution to the subject of the Psychology of Anger and/or Violence, please feel free to submit your essay with the form provided here. If the judges agree that the essay is a significant contribution, we will publish it here (subject to agreement with the author).

We include here links related to past essays — For the 2014 contest, click here for the summary article and here for the list of winners; for the 2015 contest, click here for the summary article and the list of winners; and for the 2016 contest, click here.

Longer Observations


I use the word Experience the way other psychologists use the words mind or the word psyche. The concept of experience is difficult to define. It includes all our thinking, all our feeling, everything in our imagination, all our sensations, and everything else that separates us from being completely unconscious.

I prefer the word Experience to mind. Mind is too closely associated with thinking. Experience covers much more territory. I prefer it to psyche and soul, because these words have more of a religious or mythological flavor. This is fine and is better, in a way, than the neutral word experience. However, because of its neutrality, experience, is a word that is less likely to offend people. It allows us to speak about a difficult subject in a way that is less likely to alienate.

There are schools of psychology that emphasize experience and even make it central to their approach. For example, all the approaches that emphasize imagery and meditation as well as those encouraging people to become conscious of their emotions and to express them are experience-centered approaches. Other therapies downplay the importance of experience and emphasize behavior or brain processes. Their goal is to change behavior or brain processes, and they think either that experiences will follow or that experience isn't as important as others say.

I think that each type of school has its point. You can't get away from experiences no matter how hard you try. On the other hand, if you're always focused on your experience, what are you and what can you get done?

Two Approaches to Understanding Psychology

via reflection on the world
via reflection on one's immediate experience

   the One   the Whole
the Sacred
the Ordinary
feeling stuck
feelings of failing,        of dying
 waking up — feeling reborn
   focusing   on the self
confronting the   unconscious
the whole person
living in multiple       worlds
learning about     the world
feelings of success,     of the good life