flowing motion

First steps to a deep understanding of positive psychology

Posted on: June 18, 2008

Learn to think like your tutors

When I went off to university, my father told me that I was going to learn to think like my tutors. That comment puzzled me for a long while. I had thought that I was going to think for myself. But of course that is what university does teach you – to follow a discipline. To give a simple example, I can add 5c to 5c and tell you that you have 10 c, or I can teach you how to count, and how to add. You can now think for yourself but following a schema that is also taught to others. It’s good. We can solve more problems, and we can communicate with each other.

Learn that there may be better ways to think about the world

The second thing we learn at university, if it is well run, is that many of the beliefs we grew up with are severely limiting. If our university did indeed ‘expose’ us to the universe, we spend the rest of our lives quite unsurprised when someone in the room presents a view that contradicts ours. Indeed,  we learn to welcome such surprises. They are not only refreshing in their novelty, they also broaden the puzzles we can solve and the people we communicate with readily. Foreign travel can achieve the same effect but without a tutor to interpret and structure, the experience can be hit-and-miss.

Learn that we are learning a system that we might replace eventually

From time-to-time, professions are faced with a paradigm shift. Physicists had a paradigm shift when Einstein moved beyond the physics of Newton that most of us learned at school. Whole professions are faced with a new way of thinking.

When I learned about Kuhn and paradigms in my first year at university sitting in Lecture Room 5 and day dreaming intermittently out the windows across the College Green and the Science Faculty to the skyscrapers in the city four miles away, I never thought that every thing I was working so hard to learn would be subject to one of these seismic changes.

First steps in the new paradigm for psychology

After I posted on the vocabulary of psychology, a philosopher friend of mine pointed me to Alan Watts on You Tube. Here is a link to a 15 minute explanation on vocabulary and how it is simply a schema we have adopted. The video begins talking about time and ends with this idea: is this a fist, or am I fisting.

To understand happiness, we have to think in terms of “happinessing” – as actions of ours. I’ll leave you to the video.

PS I won’t embed the video – it is very laborious to embed video in WordPress. The link will get you there just as fast.

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1 Response to "First steps to a deep understanding of positive psychology"

[…] an imaginative approach to life is new for many psychologists and I am learning from poets, philosophers and social […]

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