In this series, Amateur Egghead, I examine a range of different subjects on which I have no formal education or expertise of any kind. The opinions and thoughts within are my own and will likely piss a bunch of people off, mostly the ones who benefit from the things I talk about. -Ed.
It's difficult to start this without getting directly to the point; why is psychology still a science when the only thing we're learning about the human mind is all about the mechanics of the brain? The brain is the medium in which the "mind" resides, but it is not the mind itself without the person attached to it and the experiences that person has had. Science, as defined by Oxford, is:
"the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment..."
The world, as we know it, is already astonishingly complex, so much so that we don't know more than a fraction of what constitutes knowledge, and we've been hammering away at this ever since we became sentient. Hell, we don't even really know when that happened (though there are some really good guesses out there). Our universe, that which we can perceive and surmise from observation, is immensely enormous and, from our perspective, has no end. How do we even fathom that concept?
When you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it there's a tiny little speck, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, "You are here."The device works by extrapolating the existence of everything by scanning a piece of fairy cake (smaller cupcakes made by Brits using sponge cake). Even fictionalizing the entirety of the cosmos as a way of getting back at your nagging wife who complains that you lack perspective is just too big to grok (and I use this term on purpose, as you'll see if you click the link). Existence itself is simply too vast to completely understand beyond our less-than-subatomic little sphere of influence, perched on a tiny speck, floating in a dust cloud billions of times our size, which in turn is a speck that is one trillionth of another larger dust cloud.
It's no wonder people believe in gods.
Even on Earth, life is extraordinarily complex without even discussing the human factor. There are countless billions of all manner of life above and below the water. We discover new species almost every year. This planet, this tiny ball of rock and lava spinning in space, is literally teeming with life. Then there's us. Humans. People.
We, unlike any other species, have evolved the most, at least within terms we can understand (or grok, if you desire a deeper meaning). We alone have progressed beyond the mere simple acts of survival that differently evolved forms of life engage in. Thanks to our opposable thumbs, soft skin, and lack of significant offensive or defensive qualities, we came to develop a range of cognitive defenses that have proven formidable, especially when used against our own kind. Over millions of years and through several different iterations, we became sentient.
Once that happened, all hell broke loose. As soon as people started to understand that they were a "they", we began to develop everything we are today. We look at things and make decisions about them based on prior experience, whether that be where we were born and raised, who are parents were, who are friends were, the good and bad things that happened to us, education, food, sex, trauma, pain, love, everything. All of these have a basis in instinctual behaviors, but are mostly, significantly shaped by our experiences in life. We barely understand our place on Earth, much less in our galaxy in the even more incomprehensibly immense universe, to the point where we still believe in myths like Santa Claus and gods.