On the whole, psychology has emerged as a modern voodoo priesthood. Think of the vaunted place afforded figures like Dr. Phil. Introduced to the culture through the old Oprah show, Phil McGraw met a perceived need for sage counsel felt by a national audience of stay-at-home moms. Advice from someone with a degree in psychology is widely accepted as somehow authoritative. Psychologists even offer testimony that can tilt the scales in cases determining a defendant’s fate. But what are any of their observations based on?
Dr. Michael Hurd stands out among the field. He offers psychological counsel based on something solid, namely the facts of reality. He opines daily at his website, and the offerings are always worth reading.
A recent post begins by considering a reckless driver who drove past Hurd and others on a shoulder near an intersection before running a red light. Hurd writes of the driver’s mindset:
In philosophy it’s referred to as subjectivism. The basic idea of subjectivism is that moral judgments are subjective, i.e., based on nothing more than feelings; offering no concrete basis for what might, in reality, be right or wrong. And we see examples of that playing out every day in the news.
In essence, subjective says, “If it feels good, do it.” Subjective truth is felt truth. Feelings are granted authority and dictate action. Hurd continues:
Good psychological health requires that our daily thoughts not be contaminated by subjectivism. Feelings are not always facts. Many of my clients find relief from their problems when they realize that we all have the right — indeed, the duty — to challenge our feelings and make sure they correspond to the facts. Straying from this can signal the beginning of mental illness, or at the very minimum, unhappiness and frustration.
No, I’m not encouraging that we repress our emotions. Feelings are a critical part of the human experience. We deny or ignore them at our peril. But at the same time, we have to take responsibility for managing our emotions rather than letting them run the show.
Take the time to read the whole piece. When we let our emotions run wild rather than root them in an acknowledgement of reality, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. A long pattern of such psychological disorder twists our character and damages our relationships.
Much of mainstream psychology deals in the subjective and fails to root the mind in its objective context. In truth, one cannot be healthy or happy without first dealing rationally with reality.