Psychologists in the Future Will be Insane by Modern Standards

By Nobleman Nash Hollowhill - May 1, 2010 


The title of this article should hopefully explain itself. Namely, psychologists today are insane by the standards of the previous generation, and the notion of a psychological vocation itself would have been deemed insane by philosophers before the mid 1800’s. This pattern is quite easy to see, and it stands to reason that anyone studying the subject of consciousness should be prepared for frequent and earth-shattering paradigm shifts in the near future. I think everyone in the future will be insane by modern standards, but in the area of psychology, the difference will be much more marked, and perhaps even measurable.

Insanity has many guises, some of which are accompanied by physiological symptoms. However, insanity is also inextricably linked to time, and the insane can sometimes show none of these symptoms, but their thinking is so advanced for their time period, that that which is usually referred to as sanity cannot be applied to these people. Their identities and specializations (or lack thereof) are so vast and general, that they mat not be capable of operating functionally within their community and society. The boundaries of functionality may be socially defined, and thus may no longer be applicable to certain people’s actions, whether or not this is seen by the individuals themselves.

Because consciousness behaves like a field connecting all of our experiences, sanity also behaves like a field, in that one person by him or herself cannot make a judgment on whether they are sane. Outside opinions are required for this evaluation. Thus it is not a direct correlation between how advanced a person’s knowledge in various fields is, and their relative isolation from society. The two factors in combination (as well as an assortment of other factors) determine the degree of a person’s sanity, and it is a misnomer to diagnose a person as sane or insane outright.

Sanity does have a direct correlation with the amount of a person’s sense of self, which can be measured by the person’s awareness of the here and now and the degree to which they are aware of their past examples of successful self-actualization. I suppose that while psychologists in the future will probably have greater opportunities for self-actualization, these people will be less aware of these instances and have a broader sense of how these events influence, and are influenced by, the environment. Future psychologists will be better informed than us in the present about the nature of reality and our place in it, and thus will act more selflessly. By focusing on the end rather than the means, these people may lose themselves in the act of self-actualization to the point where they may display behaviors that we believe to be insane. Perhaps this is not a general rule, but can be applied to Western, egotistical society today.

Another possibility is that while future psychologists themselves may be relatively sane in comparison with their contemporaries, their knowledge of standards for sanity may be so different from what we consider today to be relevant, that by default everyone in our era will be considered insane. Do pre-Copernican astronomers and laypeople whose assumptions that the Earth is the center of the universe and that the sun revolves around us seem insane by our modern standards? Perhaps insane is not the correct word; confused, egocentric, or simply ignorant would be closer to the truth. They were oblivious to how technologies like the telescope and logical systems of mathematics could be applied to celestial bodies and thus were powerless to comprehend the implications of the data that was literally floating around their heads.

Will future psychologists believe us to be merely ignorant, or powerless to grasp the data that we were given at the advent of the 60’s psychedelic therapy and how this could have helped us to map regions of internal territory we all hold in common? Will they instead choose to think of us as insane for banishing these tools of introspection just as the church falsified Copernicus’s assertion that the sun is the center of our solar system?