If You Want the REAL Truth About Psychology, read on…
So you want to know about psychology? You want to understand yourself and others better and you want to know what makes us all tick? So did I once. I wanted to know if birds of a feather really flock together or if opposites attract. I wondered if absence makes the heart grow fonder or if it brings forgetfulness. Innocently assuming psychology might have some answers, I undertook a long study of the subject. And I learned that psychology has no clear answers to any of my questions. There are no ‘universal laws’ when it comes to the human psyche because we are each utterly unique individual souls. Just as no two snowflakes are exactly the same, nor are we.
What really baffled in the early days was how all the various schools of psychology would arrogantly claim to have all the answers to the question of what makes us tick. I could see that each branch might contain a slither of truth but how could any one of them claim to illumine all that we are and can be, all that we think and do and feel and experience? At that point I was no academic, so I ploughed faithfully on with my study of all the different and competing schools of thought: we’re animals, proclaims the biological school; we don’t have souls, only programmed behaviours state the behaviourists; we are what we think, argue the cognitivists; we’re driven by erotic instincts that society forces us to control according to the psychoanalysts; we are our feelings say the humanists; we are spiritual as well as physical beings according to transpersonal psychology; we are eternal consciousness having the illusion of being a separate individual states the mystical school. So which school of thought is ‘right’?
My instinctive answer when I pondered this question was everybody and nobody. Everybody in the sense that each perspective can bring something to the table of human understanding, and nobody because none of them has ‘the’ truth whatever that may be. The problem with academe is that there is no real desire to help humanity, only a war of egos battling to prove who’s right. None of the schools I studied had the good sense to admit that there is so much that we don’t know, and our limited perception means we don’t even know the extent of our ignorance – we don’t know what we don’t know. Still I plodded on to post-graduate studies in the form of a master’s degree in social psychology and felt like I had entered a parallel universe. All teaching was performed by human robots trotting out the postmodern party line like sheep: all truths are equally valid so pluralism rules, i.e. anything goes; all individuals are equally lovely-jubbly so we must embrace equality and multiculturalism; we say no to nasty, competitive hierarchies where some of us would be at the bottom; we only want touchy-feely heterarchies where feelings cannot be ‘offended’ by male-dominated, oppressive hierarchies; no universal truths exist because we chucked out the baby with the bath water when we proclaimed God to be dead and replaced faith with the belief that every truth is relative and provisional.
So the position of leaders in academe as well as leaders in every other sphere of influence is that truth is always relative except in the case of their own postmodern position where relativity is a universal truth. The irony is lost on them.
During my post-graduate studies it was drummed into me that everything we call reality is constructed, the world we experience is a fabrication conditioned by our culture. Things only exist because we agree that they exist so reality comprises only what is endowed by society. No account is taken of the inner depths of the individual and no way of escaping the mind that has conditioned this thinking is considered.
Having completed the Masters and left the madhouse one very disappointed and disillusioned student, I abandoned psychology for a while. But my curiosity wouldn’t let go so I decided to conduct my own psychological research into what makes us tick. What I discovered was astonishing and transformative. I learned that without Aha moments of insight we can never escape the insane asylum of our own minds and habitual responses. But with Aha moments psychology can effect not only change but genuine transformation of the self to a higher level of consciousness. This is achieved by being ‘Integral’, by leaving nothing out of the equation of who we truly are. Integral means to integrate all the valid forms of knowledge that we have right now and plot them on a map that reflects all the ways in which we know, or can know, what we know and who we are. The results of my study clearly show that we can all have Aha moments at every level of our potentials of consciousness from body to mind to soul to spirit. Only Aha moments can waken us up to all that we truly are, freed from the limitations of partial thinking, ego domination and cultural conditioning.
Annie-Leigh Longhurst, PhD is a coach, lecturer, facilitator and proud founder of Aha Integral Coaching (AIC) offering cutting edge techniques that transform your life.