Science crumbles…

Today, I was reminded yet again of the seemingly paradoxical nature of life and understanding. This reminder came from the fact that it took a humanist, Jorge Luis Borges, to clearly state one of the biggest flaws in science. Borges’ short, “On Exactitude in Science” encompasses, with god-like brevity, the fundamental problem with science: over analysis. Borges’ example (of a world map so detailed that its size was that of the world itself) is a great hyperbole. In my eyes, the field of Psychology is a similar, although less extreme, example. The human mind is a place an extremely complicated place filled with strange phenomenon, most of which goes unexplained (by science that is). Our thoughts, emotions, memories, etc. interact in strange, unique ways. These interactions, which in terms of exactitude are largely unique to an individual, go on to define us. But when it comes to the science of these interactions, I believe there is less room for precision and universality than modern Psychology takes up. In today’s world, after only taking Psych 111 (Intro to Psychology), one is given dozens of supposedly scientific labels (each with their own respective connotations) to use in analyzing his own mind. But with so much exactitude in this science, people end up over-analyzing themselves and for example, labeling themselves as partially schizophrenic, a little OCD, a bit ADD, and just to add a cherry on top, maybe even manic depressive with a slight chance of being psychopathic. What’s the result? A person who has analyzed himself into a robot, probably taking 3 medications every morning, paranoid about finding another psychological classification he might fit into. This sounds a lot like the “Tattered Ruins of that Map” described by Borges. Luckily, there is a group of psychologists who see this as a problem as well:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labelling_theory


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