Kim OHara wrote: ↑
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:58 pm
Psychology (as a profession, which is where this thread started) is all about one person helping another to "adjust" to society and be happy in it
But isn't it downright bizarre how psychologists don't actually help people to do that? Well, that is, they can help people who already implicitly see fitting in as the greatest good and the highest goal in a person's life. But what I'd like to see is a justification for why this view should be adopted as the highest one.
If anything, psychology is like the modern incarnation of the Holy Inquisition -- assuming the same kind of authority over people's minds and lives, with the same kind of social influence and power over an individual's life. Psychologists don't burn people at the stakes, but they do lock people up in mental hospitals or issue documents that make it impossible for a person to get a job.
The ideal outcome of Psychology is a conformist person contentedly immersed in consumerist society; the ideal outcome of Buddhism is a person completely free of any need to conform to society or even engage with it, although willing (bodhisattva / arahant ideal) to work tirelessly to reduce the suffering of those still stuck in it.
So what's the ideal outcome of "Buddhist psychology" ?
"Buddhist psychology", like so many other things that have the word "Buddhist" in them, has little or nothing to do with Buddhism, other than Buddhism being awfully fashionable and sellable lately.
Thanks for the discussion, Retro and Kim.
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As a matter of interest: Ven. Nanavira wrote an interesting short piece on conformity, In & out
/.../ So finally we have what I think was taught by the Buddha and probably by nobody else—the fourth stage, which is arana. Here we think: there are those two doors marked IN and OUT; it makes not the slightest difference to me which I use to go in and out by; but if it is noticed that I don’t seem to think it is a matter of any importance, those who do think it is a matter of importance will make trouble for me; but this would be a disturbance, and would hinder my work; so, then, other things being equal, I shall go in by the door marked IN, and out by the door marked OUT, and I shall pass unnoticed and untroubled. And so I think that the Buddha has so arranged matters in the Vinaya that the Sangha is a highly respectable body of men who are losing or have lost all interest in respectability. It is at the beginning that the respectability of the Sangha is irksome, and some who are still A.Y.M. do not join it on this account (which is a good thing), and prefer to breathe fire and slaughter at the Establishment as Hindu ascetics and other odd things. But I find my present situation quite fascinating at times, and could almost wish to appear even more respectable than I do. I sometimes repeat to myself, with all the earnestness of which I am capable, cela m’est tellement égal.5 Try it yourself. It is a potent phrase if uttered with enough esprit de sérieux.6
I'm not sure though that it is possible to translate this approach into embracing the norms of psychology as a whole in one's life, ie. to think, feel, speak, and do the way psychologists say is "normal".