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Thread: psychohistory

  1. #1 psychohistory 
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    i would really like to know what everyone thinks about psychohistory, it a subject i get heated about.


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    surely psychohistory is Asimov's science fiction invention in the Foundation Trilogy, not anything real ? or am i missing something ?


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3  
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    I didn't know that psychohistory existed. What is it?
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    I didn't know that psychohistory existed. What is it?
    I'm gonna guess creationism??
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    I didn't know that psychohistory existed. What is it?
    'Psychohistory is the study of the psychological motivations of historical events. It combines the insights of psychotherapy with the research methodology of the social sciences to understand the emotional origin of the social and political behavior of groups and nations, past and present. Its subject matter is childhood and the family (especially child abuse), and psychological studies of anthropology and ethnology.'

    From.....Wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychohistory

    Or for fictional.............


    'Psychohistory, a fictional science in Isaac Asimov's Foundation universe, combines history, sociology, and mathematical statistics to make (nearly) exact predictions of the collective actions of very large groups of people, such as the Galactic Empire.'

    Courtesy of Wiki Wiki Wiki..................

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychohistory_(fictional)


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  7. #6  
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    it applies psychology to analyzing historic event and the motivations behind it, Jung and Freud innovated the idea then it fissled out, now a very smal community of zealots protect its online representation
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  8. #7  
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    I think in order to live the lives or to go through what people in history went through we have to analyze what they went through psychologically. Why this has been put on the back burner is beyond me. I do know that archeologists attempt to do this but I had no idea it had it's own title.
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    A very good recent example of this idea is the phenomena of the Nazi regime.

    Nowadays when we analyse such things we are often aghast at the fact that such a large collective supported the horrors of genocide.

    We like to think and hope that such a thing could never happen because there will surely be people who have the reason and compassion to prevent such a thing.

    Yet when you analyse the background of Germans and especially the way they were raised as children prior to this era, which was very harsh in a lot of ways and sought to moderate or eliminate emotions, coupled with political activity and the suffering Germans experienced with the Geneva convention and the behaviour of the Jews towards the Germans during this time........well all these ingredients certainly make a recipe for the potential cruelty and genocide.

    Alice Miller, a German psychologist did lots of research on this and studies of the effects of child abuse and especially the sorts of abuse which are concealed because they are accepted by the majority as the correct way to bring up children, even postulated and confirmed and encouraged in sayings, for example:

    'Children should be seen and not heard'

    'Spare the rod and spoil the child'

    Alice Millers books For Your Own Good and The Drama Of Being A Child are excellent books to read for anyone that's suffered these subtle forms of psychological abuse in childhood, especially if you want to get more insight and understanding on the route to healing those scars.
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  10. #9  
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    I smell pseudoscience.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    pseudoscience smells ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  12. #11 Re: psychohistory 
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    i would really like to know what everyone thinks about psychohistory,
    It's vital. You'd be a very bad historian not to take into account the psychological state of the people in the past, or the psychological impact of events on people and societies.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    it a subject i get heated about.
    Why?
    Wolf
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  13. #12  
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    well, because historians aim to understand how people thought in different times in order to make sense of their actions, but, psychohistorians as we know of them today (DeMause's followers) are somewhat jaded, and if you look at DeMause you can kind of see that, he has no degree in history or psychology he has a masters in polisci and then he dropped out of his doctoral studies. DeMause and his followers (the bulk of psychohistorians today) defy much of the the historical and anthropological society. I would say the problem with their research is primarliy three-fold, 1. they focus on childhood, which is good but they often ignore or discredit everything else. 2. they use psychology where sociology should be applied (often assuming entire civilizations all think the same) 3. There is a definate lack of research, it is difficult enough to use psychoanalitical methods on a person in your time and place on your couch but in another setting without being able to ask them questions! please not reliable

    finally the field as a whole is now just a shadow really a sheet being held up by a small vanguard
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    pseudoscience smells ?
    Like going off milk, your not sure if its going sour or if the cream has settled.

    And the only way to know which is right is by tasting it .
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  15. #14  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    And the only way to know which is right is by tasting it .
    careful now, or you'll end up like the milky-bar kid
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    I smell pseudoscience.
    No that's sulphuric acid Harold

    Does anyone know a substance guaranteed to dissolve bones?

    Ah i guess i could always make glue

    Back to the thread:

    I agree with Wolf (which makes a change that we are not arguing!)

    A good Historian will always try to put him/herself into the mind frame of the people of the time being studied, taking as many factors into account as it possible, especially the psychology of a person or a collective.

    Lots of mistakes are made by regarding historical periods from the viewpoint of the era you are currently in.

    For example

    When i studied the Romans i had to suspend my attitude towards their 'sport' in the amphitheaters, in order to understand as best as i could why there was such an appeal for this type of 'entertainment', in effect i had to become a Roman and research further attitudes and belief systems based on primary evidence.

    One of the issues that fascinates me at present which i am studying is the current political apathy of the polity in the west, when we are supposed to have the advantage and luxury of democracy.
    To understand this i need to look at the current psychology and beliefs of westerners and the conditions in which they were raised as children, as well as political events leading up to the present which might have deterred people and encourage them to switch off from political interest.

    A couple of the factors which appear to be prominent is.
    1. A mistrust of politics and politicians and a sense of alienation and separation from political decisions from a sense of a 'them and us' which leads to a feeling of helplessness
    2. The increase in information of politics and current affairs on a global scale through the media, which overwhelms the brain and causes people to literally 'switch off'
    3. The economics which cause people to have little time available to study and take part in political decisions

    Two of these factors are based explicitly on a psychological basis.
    Number 3, although is economic, is implicitly based on the psychological belief that happiness comes from materialistic gains, perpetuated by psychologically manipulative advertising, and therefore leads people to work harder and longer to achieve this 'happiness' or fulfillment.

    Just an example of taking psychological factors into account.

    So Harold, pseudo, i think not, unavoidable, yes!
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  17. #16  
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    Psychohistory, as defined by Wolf and supported by Selene, is - for the reasons they state - mandatory, useful and appropriate. It is, however, different from the psychohistory referred to by ishmaelblues. The psychohistory he seems so uncomfortable with is a restricted subset, lost in a time warp where psychoanalysis has never been repudiated and Freud is still a God of psychology.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Pyschohistory is actually pretty cool stuff, and its impact on the world is astounding.

    Think about how events like Chernobyl and Long Island effected the world. Think how much the world would be different if those problems hadn't occurred, leaving their indelible mark on society.
    Wolf
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  19. #18  
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    exactly Ophiolite! historians have been pursuing an understanding of the psychology of past peoples before psychology even existed. but the current fringe science headed by DeMause claiming to be psychohistory is stuck on the foundation of Frued and is at odds with History, anthropology and the central tenat of Cultural Relativism.
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