Monday 24 July 2017

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

The Law of Limited Knowledge:

1. No matter how smart you are, there is always someone smarter.

It follows there is no way, through smartness, to make sure you are not being outsmarted.

2. No matter how sure people are they're right, they may still be wrong.

Certainty is a state of mind. It is, perhaps, a feeling or even an emotion. It is also an attitude. It involves a closing of the mind and can have a defiant aspect: "I know it! period!" Certainty has degrees, from absolutely certain to very uncertain. But the point here is that certainty is a state of mind and has nothing to do with the truth. A person can be absolutely sure of something that is false or very uncertain about something that is true. (The idea of Certainty States was developed in conversations with now Dr. Spencer Kagan, in informal discussions we had in our college days.)

(The opposite of the state of Certainty is the state of Uncertainty. Most do not like the feeling of being Uncertain. Most people do not like the feeling of being wrong.)

3. No matter how much you know, there is an infinite number of things you do not know. There is even an infinite number of things you don't know about any particular subject or object (or person — including yourself).

Another way to put this third point is that, no matter how much we know, (individually or collectively), the sum total of our knowledge is infinitely small compared to the sum total of possible knowledge.

It follows that no matter how sure you are that you are a good person, it is possible that you are not acting in an upright and honorable manner but out of a motive hidden to yourself.

4. To learn the Law of Limited Knowledge as it applies to yourself is generally an unpleasant thing to learn. However, it is a necessary step (an early step but one that has to be learned over and over) for those interested in learning about themselves.

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