The Beginning of a Psychological Theory
Men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore Socrates is mortal.
I would like to propose as a starting point that we, each and every one of us who exists in this Universe and has consciousness, is a researcher, whether we know it or not. The wonder is that most of us don’t know it. The above argument is the basis for deductive reasoning, a string of logic which, if all parts in the string are true, leads to logical and useful conclusions. If the idea of inference and of deductive reasoning weren't Greek and ancient, we wouldn't have any trouble understanding it. But, we seem to have forgotten how simple and basic this thinking is, even at the earliest stage of development.
My mother’s breast is comforting and sustaining.
It’s there whenever I want it.
My wanting it makes my mother’s breast appear.
My mother’s breast is something I want,
But it is withered and she never gives it.
My wanting serves no useful purpose in sustaining me.
The concept is so simple we forget that we made the assumption. If this is true and that’s true, then the other is also true. What could be simpler? And with some assumptions about even the most basic things we cut a path for ourselves in the world. In the same way, we arrive at conclusions about some of the most complex events that are entirely wrong, but we nevertheless cling to them because they follow the most basic string of our logic.
Barack Hussein Obama is President.
His name is Muslim.
His skin is black.
The President of the United States is a Black Muslim.
Now lard it on with a little affect.
I am a white American.
Black Muslims are acting to destroy this country and kill white Americans.
Black Muslims want to kill me.
The President of the United States wants to kill me.
Inferential thinking is not so hard to understand. We can deduce anything that suits us. It is totally plastic, but suits our purposes best if what we deduce conforms to our beliefs. In fact, it is so easy that, I would argue, our most fundamental beliefs and conclusions are seldom in consciousness, but we still get worked up about them, putting us in conflict with ourselves and others, even to the point of making us paranoid, fearful of the world around us.
My mother is hungry.
Her breasts are withered.
The President of the United States is in charge of feeding people.
My mother is a person.
Barack Hussein Obama, the Black Muslim President, is in charge of feeding my mother,
But he does not.
President Obama is starving her and starving me.
This would all appear ridiculous, except that we are constantly exposed to this kind of thinking on a daily basis everywhere. Even if this fractured logic would not be so constantly on display, the underlying reasoning would still be there. In a more sophisticated world, which we no longer appear to have, these hypotheses would be tested by observing whether our conclusions are supported by evidence. We would gather evidence by observing events as they happen in the world, without reinterpreting what we see to make them conform to our beliefs, but by accepting the facts as they present themselves forcing us to work harder to get a better grasp of what we find there. As it turns out, most people prefer to leave it to others to interpret events for us because the labor of observation and consideration is too complex. It also can lead to unexpected conclusions that compel many people to invest more of their thinking than was planned or desired.
Barack Obama is President.
The President has to work with the Congress to pass budgets and enact law.
The Congress does not want to pass a budget.
There must be a reason they won’t agree with the President.
Maybe it’s because he is Muslim.
Maybe it’s because he is Black.
Maybe it’s because he wants to kill us.
Maybe that’s why I’m hungry.
Maybe that’s why my breasts are withered.
What is really going on here psychologically, whether we are aware of it or not, is that we try to make sense out of everything that happens around us, even when we have insufficient facts, even when we have insufficient will to accurately interpret those facts. But, we are always attaching reasons to everything we do. The effort we invest in understanding reasons and causes, however incomplete and fractured, is what tells us that we are researchers at our core. The willingness to examine our own thought process is fundamental to Psychological Survival.