This section is currently growing, but basically, it is all about meaning, dissonance, and a generalized (cognitive) conflict. Meaning knowledge, paradigms, and mental structures are needed to achieve our goals. These might include things like staying alive, or mating.
The gathering and maintenance of our meaning structures is essentially all of the learning that has ever happened in the world, including science and religion. Meaning Maintenance is also basically the major driver behind ever conflict that has ever occurred, including ever war ever (it is essentially two groups with conflicting cognition). In the end I guess it is just Memetics, but we will see.
Most of modern psychology can be said to be an investigation of the ways the world surprises us and how we react to it. For instance, emotions are generally associated with meaning violations, we feel great after we do unexpectedly well on something, and we feel angry or frustrated when someone (unexpectedly) does something mean or we cannot achieve our goal as easily as we thought.
More generally than that, I would like to remind you of a few things that Psychology has essentially shown to be true and that I just like to live my life by (this is more for non professionals, though it is based on solid data and reasoning).
number 1. You make the world more like you, simply by being you.
Everyone has someone who looks up to them (unless you are someone nobody wants to be like), and that person is literally trying to be like you, so make sure they are becoming a good person. This means living life in a ‘good’ way (a way you can be proud of), so that person can have a nice life. Assuming you care about them at all, it is important to help show them a good way.
number 2. The crowd is not always right.
They killed Jesus. They put Galileo in Prison. The crowd is Not Always Right. This can definitely be a burden, especially combined with number 1, because you have to do it the right way. I haven’t found a way out of it (besides becoming someone that nobody would want to be like, but trust me, you can’t do it any worse than me!). This is one of the reasons we look unflinchingly for the truth here, you are an example. They also killed Ghandi and put Nelson Mandella in Prison. And Socrates. Socrates!
number 3. Those who believe they can, and those who believe they can’t, are usually right.
I’m pretty sure I can! (sometimes even people say too much, but I don’t think so) and I definitely think you can. Really. Whatever it is. WHATEVER! 😀 definitely if we work together we can. So I’m taking action toward my goals, and I am not afraid of failure.
number 4. The first step at being good at something, is sucking at something.
Being awesome takes time. About 10,000 hours if you listen to some. Most of that is failing, and trying again. and again, and even when you fail again (for whatever it is) doing it still one more time. If you are setting your goals correctly, you will fail sometimes, trust me, I have!. Don’t give up. I hear it is comfortable but blegghh To quote Kanye, sometimes giving up is way harder than trying. It is better to shoot for the stars and land in the clouds.
number 5. Not all practice is equal.
10,000 hours, not of bullshit, of constantly pushing what you can do, of constantly pushing harder and soft failing (compared to hard failing which is basically suicide or death). This is no joke but the amount of work that I do in an hour is equal to two hours of my colleagues’ work. And I’m putting in more hours than they are. Im working half days on my day off. not always high intensity, for fun.
number 6. Enjoy the life
Work is not work when you enjoy it, and I really do generally spend my life doing what I like. This means a lot of Psychology (because I really like Psychology and they even pay me for it!), but also hanging with friends, video games, working out, all sorts of wasteful adventures as far as careers go. Do a few projects and don’t rush with any single one. After making significant progress on one project, I like to move to another, letting the excitement of getting back to a fun project build, wondering what step I will be able to do next or allowing myself to work through problems or difficulties.
That’s basically it. Psychology in 600 words. 😀 no, I joke, but that is most of it, I would say (especially the meaning part I wrote about at the top).
The things above are more general ideas, I get paid to look especially at how we can use psychology to understand how science works and help science work better. Psychologists know how to get people to generally make better decisions about things like smoking and QRPs, but we hardly use these tools in monitoring and improving our own practices.
Maybe you tell me what you think are the most important things to know about psychology? I would be quite interested in seeing these. 🙂 Thanks and hopefully we talk again!