Category Archives: Psychology

Character-strengthening

In yesterday’s post, I laid out positive psychology’s six virtues. Each virtue (wisdom; courage; humanity; justice; temperance; and transcendence) consists of three to five character strengths.

Each of these character strengths can technically be considered a “sub-virtue”. Let’s assume that maximizing at least half of each virtue’s sub-components–or achieving medium competence in each sub-virtue–leads to attainment of the higher virtue(s).

Wisdom’s character strengths are: creativity; curiosity; open-mindedness; love of learning; and perspective.

Courage’s sub-virtues are bravery; persistence; integrity; and vitality.

Humanity’s are love, kindness, and social intelligence.

Justice’s are citizenry, fairness, and leadership.

Temperance’s sub-virtues are forgiveness/mercy; humility/modesty; prudence; and self-regulation.

Finally, transcendence’s character strengths are: appreciation; gratitude; hope; humor and playfulness; and spirituality.

Building on each of these 24 aspects of one’s character leads to its ultimate strengthening! How does one build on them–all the way from creativity to spirituality? And: Is it better to focus on a few sub-virtues…or to balance them all equally?

Existential-humanistic psychology

Existential-humanistic (E-H) psychology is the study of human existence.

Psychology in general is the science of mental processes (mind) and behavior.

Thus, E-H psychology enlarged is the science of mind and behavior within human existence.

But what is human existence with no mind? Mind is a necessary feature; for without it, we’d have no room to consider human existence to begin with.

Behavior may be said to pervade all levels of reality. In physics, we speak of the behavior of particles. Social science considers the situational behavior of persons as human beings.

Mind and behavior are thus part-and-parcel of human existence. Our science of the former two topics must serve to bolster our understanding–and, ultimately, experience–of the latter.

As minded human persons who behave situationally, how do we experience our existence?

Sartre and Maslow on romance

Warning: Mature content ahead.

Had a nice idea!

Sartre and Maslow both favor non-possessiveness. Sartre’s point is more philosophical: We cannot, as a matter of ontological fact, “possess” the Other. The prime example is in romantic love–particularly, in the consensual sexual (“consexual”) act.

During “consex” (obviously, consensual sex…), we might gaze upon the other with desire for their flesh. Uh…

…let’s desexualize this. “Deconsexualize”?

Maslow believed self-actualizing people do not seek to possess their romantic Other*.

When we put Sartre and Maslow together in this constext, we neither can nor should possess another whose presence we enjoy and desire.

*My subjective interpretation of Maslow’s actual view.

Are psychological diagnoses meaningless?

Part of the issue is the power psychiatry wields as a profession, relative to psychology.

“Evidence-based” usually translates to privileging biochemistry over psychology (the latter of which is “soft”, and therefore “less empirical”).

People have equated the brain with mind more and more, over time. Pushing that further, if neural dynamics determine psychological states (such as moods) outright–but, not vice versa–it becomes logical to target biological factors to uproot behavioral problems.

It is telling that psychological diagnoses are outlined in a manual published by the American Psychiatric (not Psychological) Association. Much of modern psychology grew out of psychiatry–see Freud and Jung, but also other theorists around their time like Karen Horney, who was an M.D.–so part of this is attributable to psychology’s heritage.

As the field develops its identity more, perhaps we’ll see psychologists push for greater control over the field’s diagnosis-establishing processes.

Psychological W’s and H

What we think is generated by the brain.

What we feel is in the heart!

What we do is by the body:

Who we are is our soul…

How we are is our spirit–

Why we are and do is gut-driven.