And now, for something completely different...

I am in the middle of writing an academic assignment. I am at the library in order to avoid distraction... housework for one, my bookshelf of unread books for another, and my never ending ‘to do list’. Although as I sit here surrounded by enticing books I realise a wee gap in my logic. However, I have slogged for an hour and my mind is wandering. I have gazed out the window, I have been to the bathroom, I have finished my bitter burnt coffee. I need to do something else. I need to write something else. I need distraction in order to refocus, which I know seems at odds. But people need extremes to be balanced. We aren’t single dimension characters from early AD greek dramas; we are dynamic, synergetic, often a mixture of polar opposite reactions in the one person and for some strange reason, if we can manage the opposites we find in ourselves, it can bring balance, harmony and a life well-lived . I am studying psychology, a discipline that looks for ‘a’ causes ‘b’ in human behaviour. After only 7 short weeks of my new academic interest I think I am quickly learning that ‘a’ could cause several different outcomes in the same person . Expect nothing, and you won’t be disappointed.

The problem is that the debatably objective scientific method requires us to look for tendencies and statistical significances across populations. What does that say though for expected outcomes for a single person. Not a lot really. A study may say that ‘a’ correlates with ‘b’ for two variables, but bang those variables together in a single person and you may get c, d, e, f, g – due to any of the any of the confounding or extraneous variables we have tried to eliminate. You can’t eliminate variables – variables are the essence of life. Humans do not operate in a bubble or a vacuum. So, I am not sure how reliable the scientific method is for studying people. I wonder if we spend years learning the scientific method only to come to the conclusion that it can be applied to people but not to a person.

I am sure I have just proved that a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. At the end of my degree I will look at this post and laugh at my ignorant self... or maybe I will look at this post and laugh at my innocent understanding, and how knowledge can get in the way of that.


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