Paul Fayerabend, who was a professor, among others, at Harvard University, said that “of all the ways of thinking that man has developed, science is one of them, but not necessarily the best”.
By this he was not questioning the role of scientific knowledge in the progress of society, but rather the possibility of criticising it, indeed, of not necessarily submitting to it on all occasions.
In the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, there has been much controversy over whether it was scientists or politicians who should make the decisions about what to do and what not to do.
The reality is that both, at the international level, have differed in many respects, depending on both empirical criteria and social necessity.
Translated to the present day, should we ask whether, in addition to the necessary vaccination of the population, have not the confinements and severe restrictions been counterproductive, creating altered nervous and immunological states and creating organisms defenceless against the virus? –
What do I mean by this?
That science has, even on a single subject, a diversity of opinions, and in many cases unanimity is far from being achieved.
Scientific knowledge is essential for the advancement of society in all its aspects, but it can also be manipulated.
If a tobacco company invested millions of dollars or euros in carrying out statistical studies to find positive factors for the health of tobacco consumption, they would surely find them, and a rigorous result could be published, ignoring the negative aspects, of which there are many, and highlighting only those positive variables.
Since the origin of psychology, there have been different schools of thought about the human psyche, emotions and behaviour. Anyone familiar with it will know that there are multiple offshoots in psychoanalysis only, as well as in cognitivism, systemic theory, bioenergetics, etc.
Each of these psychological lines has a certain vision of the human being, from the belief in an unconscious that stores experiences and conditions the current life of the person to a merely reactive vision of human behaviour, regardless of what has been his or her life path.
Now imagine, as it happens in reality, that we choose just one of these currents and make it “the true one”, invest money in experimental studies, make it official in universities and hospitals, and little by little we discard all the others, cornering them, until we discredit them.
Imagine if this were done with a political party, only one was elected and its ideology became “the only valid one”.
Why do I make this comparison?
Because by choosing only one of these psychological currents as official, one is not only betting on a therapeutic model, but on a model of human being, promoting a unique vision of the reason for psychic suffering and how to try to solve it.
My personal position, based on moderation, is critical of the drift towards which today’s western society is heading, something about which it is simply not possible to have an opinion, given that governments are imposing strict criteria on what is correct to say (and think) and what is not.
Therefore, if we want to have a diverse and plural society, also with regard to what corresponds to the human psyche, it would be fair to extend the scientific model in psychology to the different theoretical and practical variants that exist and not just to one of them, as is the case today.
The funding for these studies comes mainly from public money, and it is very easy to marginalise any theory that does not fit in with the unilateral, relativistic and postmodern vision that prevails today.
The development of knowledge throughout history has involved theoreticians and researchers, feeding back into each other, and finally accepting or discarding one or the other postulate on the basis of empirical results.
But today it is no longer enough to think logically and rationally; we have to do so according to the “new truth”, which is much more linked to social engineering than to the essence of what a human being is and has been. Essence, which for me, is invariable regardless of the time, the culture or the prevailing fashion of the moment.
Logical and rational thinking applied to psychology can still discover different theories and methods to approach the knowledge of the human psyche, and therefore to help people who suffer from different disorders to overcome them. And of course, it is necessary to scientifically verify all of this, but without ruling out, a priori, hypotheses that can sometimes be very close to the truth.
Psychologist and Jungian analyst
Barcelona, July 30th, 2021