Before you begin, play “Prophecies” by Philip Glass and read with a monotone but slow. Aristotle argues that the heart is responsible for thoughts and consciousness. Before, Hippocrates argues that this is actually the brain’s responsibility. Both opposing thoughts are correct for what facts have they that prove each other wrong? Psychology is still known as philosophy at the time. The soul, the mind, the nature of thought; all philosophy. It’s William Wundt that makes psychology its own discipline in the 1800s. He uses introspection. Light a candle or play a note on an instrument and say out loud how it makes you feel. This is introspection; examining your own thought process.
A 43-inch-long iron pole is thrust into Phineas Case’s brain as he tamps explosives into a hole. The year is 1848, none has managed to live through a brain surgery yet. Dare he to be the first. He bites on a piece of wood and endures the operation. To everyone’s surprise, he does survive and he recovers. But he becomes more impulsive and less in control of his anger. Of keen interest is the fact that it’s the frontal lobe of the brain that was damaged. What relationship is there between his impulsiveness and anger and his frontal lobe? And why exactly did he survive while all those before him had died? You may silence the music now. (Then go watch watchmen for the cinematic version of the song)
Do we really know where our thoughts and behaviors come from? Scientists first found out that our bodies are controlled by electric signals when trying to re-animate executed prisoners in the nineteenth century. (Much like Frankenstein’s monster for those who savor books and shows) At the time electricity was not commonly used. Advancements through time have enabled us to develop means of scanning our brains such as using Positron Emission Technology (PET) with no need for surgery. There still exists a problem though. If one has cancer, the ‘immediate solution’ will be to kill cells. If one dislocates a bone, the ‘immediate solution’ will be to re-position the bone. If one has depression, what is the ‘immediate solution’?
Psychologists use either direct face-to-face therapy or medicine to treat depression. However, it does not work the same for any two patients. What to some may be the cure for depression might not have the same effect on another. Artificial intelligence has been integrated to study psychological patterns. Think of google translate. You utter a statement. The statement is analyzed and translated then given back to you. For psychology, you answer questions presented to you by a professional. Your answers are recorded, analyzed, and compared to others in the database. Your behavior is monitored and you are given a predicament. This is an attempt to find your ‘immediate solution’. Research is still ongoing, especially for medicine that may need to be administered. Many people result to drugs as an escape from depression, what if there is some truth to it?
In 1963, Timothy Leary was fired from Harvard University for conducting psychedelic experiments with grad students. By psychedelic experiments, I mean using magic mushrooms/shrooms and LSD drugs for their experimentations. (You may have seen LSD in movies and TV shows such as “Deadly class”. It looks like a white piece of paper) He is quoted, “I have learnt more on my four hours on mushrooms than I did in my previous twenty years of psychology.” His research however died when he was fired. The fact that a learned psychologist and philosopher was willing to lose his job conducting research on a drug that many say ‘connects you to the universe’ goes to show that there are yet many mysteries in psychology and plausibly philosophy that we are yet to understand.