Dispatches from Clio's History (part three)



Brian
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Mar 6



Denis, Robert, Ted, Ken, and all,

Denis, thanks for this important article on the methodology of fantasy analysis (http://www.geocities.ws/kidhistory/ja/onfa.htm)It seems that within the psychohistory community itself, this methodology was acknowledged to be very much a work in progress.  I thought Howard in his commentary made some excellent suggestions about how it could be developed further and I wonder if anyone followed through on these suggestions. 

Robert, were your comments referring to Ted’s post or the link to the cold fusion article that followed?  It is not clear to me how this article connects to our discussion.

What Ted said about “the context of discovery” vs. “the context of verification” is extremely important and gets at something that Ken and I have been talking about quite a bit on this list.  I have argued that theoretical (as opposed to empirical) work has a legitimate place in psychohistory.  It is legitimate to ask what evidence supports a theory, but the person who creates the theory should not necessarily be required to answer this question.  That is the task of empirical researchers.  Sometimes the same person creates a theory and works to verify it.  More commonly, these tasks are done by different groups of people. 

In fact this division of labor is often institutionalized in different subfields of the same discipline, such as theoretical and experimental physics or economic theory (e.g. Keynes) and econometrics.  In psychohistory, DeMause is a theorist and it remains for others to test his theories.  This is exactly what Ted has done.  The data set he has assembled is a good one for testing the theory.  If proponents of Lloyd’s theory think that Ted has misinterpreted the data, then it is incumbent on them to ask for the complete set of cartoons and make the case that an alternative interpretation of that data does, in fact, confirm Lloyd’s theory.  If that can’t be done, then the theory stands disconfirmed.  I am not interested in doing this further research myself because I don’t believe in Lloyd’s theory that changes in mass psychology cause wars.

I also agree with Ted’s point that social phenomena are far too chaotic, like the weather, to be modelled mathematically with a high degree of precision.  A good illustration of this is the random variability governing the leadership element in politics.  If Hitler or someone like him had not been born, or if he had been assassinated early on, the entire history of the 20th century might have turned out very differently.  If you factor in this kind of randomness in the case of all the other great powers, strict historical determinism breaks down altogether.

That said, a great scientific genius is someone who can sift through the chaos of history and identify a fundamental process that is predictable.  I would argue that Marx was just such a genius.  While his theory was inadequate in many respects and some of his predictions were wrong, the major insight in his work—the mechanism of capital accumulation that drives the increasing concentration of wealth under capitalism—has arguably been confirmed recently by a massive project of data collection and analysis, reported in Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century

We are not at that point yet in psychohistory, but I have argued that research on authoritarianism and deMause’s psychogenic theory of history may provide building blocks for such a testable grand theory.  Unlike the case of Marx and Picketty, I don’t see a way to test such a theory using quantitative research entirely, but I think that survey research and interviews with people alive today can make a contribution to this larger project of verification.  Before turning to this, I need to respond to Ken’s comments about The Authoritarian Personality.  But I have already said enough for one post, and will address these additional topics in another post later today or tomorrow.

Brian

Brian D’Agostino, Ph.D.
President
International Psychohistorical Association
917-628-8253


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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
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Mar 6



Re: I also agree with Ted’s point that social phenomena are far too chaotic, like the weather, to be modelled mathematically with a high degree of precision.  A good illustration of this is the random variability governing the leadership element in politics.  If Hitler or someone like him had not been born, or if he had been assassinated early on, the entire history of the 20th century might have turned out very differently.  If you factor in this kind of randomness in the case of all the other great powers, strict historical determinism breaks down altogether.

Goldhagen of course disagrees with your assertion about Hitler -- he looks to the nature of the German people. Gotz Aly, in "Why Hitler, Why Jews," does as well. Anyone looking for support of DeMause may want to look to these authors, rather to what's coming down now through the pipeline in psychohistory.

 I read the IPA newsletter Brian linked to us, and really appreciate the book review where the writer argued the point I've been arguing here in regards to psychohistorians -- that many of us will be foremost motivated to keep the reputations of our own parents intact while we explore our subjects; that in a regressive period, the discipline risks being hijacked by abuse-apologizers -- but Brian's point of view here is standard conservative History even if he is not, the one that belittles all young, rash theory; the one that inflates the limits of human reach. Right or wrong (and I of course this it's wrong), it's one that any scold of youthful ambition would approve. 

Incidently, if we're in an intellectual environment that ends up in agreement with Brian, that the smallest of things might make the most telling of differences, advantage goes to the person who has done the most surveying, the person who has inspected absolutely every corner. Disadvantage to those, who haven't read anywhere near as much, but actually have a better capacity to discern what matters from what doesn't -- you can frustrate them by asking them if they considered this .... and this ... and this ... and this .... and this further avalanche of facts, because out any old dusty cellar might have emerged the telling difference! It's a way of keeping a whole field, better to oneself, and away from the young. 

-- Patrick

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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
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Mar 6



Sorry, in my response I accidentally conflated two interesting pieces from the IPA Winter 2015 newsletter --  the book review by Valerie Rose Brinton, and the report from France by Marc-Andre Cotton. 

I referred to Goldhagen and Aly, because if it turns out that there are some intuiting that DeMause might be right in his deterministic sense of human history, but might be balked from contesting those who see history as too vast to get such a simple handle on because they haven't done the lengthy service in libraries ostensibly required even to begin to debate, just know that there are some with the same gargantuan dump of facts in their heads as any, that have come to argue for your point of view. Maybe be proven wrong regardless, but stick to it!

If you see these scholars being contested, look for ad hominems ... as much as the sense of the variableness, the randomness of history was once an exciting prospect for youthful Romantics, every time I've encountered in the discipline of history it's being done by someone like Barzun, who steps into the debate all worldly-wise, having kept such lengthy company with the masters. 

I also realize that the idea of historical "ecologies" as complex is a potentially progressive idea, because it speaks against the quick lordly pass-over (i.e. values the subjects), and values the student's powers of sympathy and sensitivity; but if this idea is being praised because it frustrates the less knowledgeable but more presumptive -- one's who might actually see!!!! -- it's in service to conservatism. I hope that makes sense. 

-- Patrick


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J. I. (Hans`) Bakker
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Mar 6



Dear Howard, Brian, Denis, Robert, Ted, Ken, and everyone interested in the topic, 

Greetings from Boston, Massaschusetts, where tonight it is cold, but tomorrow it is supposed to get a bit warmer! 

My key point is about falsifiability and our epistemological assumptions about "science". The same or very similar point is being made by others who are reacting to some of Brian's statements. For many of us a "grand theory" is never really testable scientifically. Paradigmatic theory is by definition a set of hard to prove or disprove axioms. But psychohistory does not seem to really have much "research theory" of the kind that really can be subject to reasonable empirical test. There are no classical experiments in psychohistory, in part because as an "intediscipline" about half of it is history. There is no real possibility of an experimental design in history, at least not an experimental design with random assignment. 

We are discussing a lot of things at the same time, as usual. I am not against using cartoons as empirical examples of fantasy or some other aspect of the imagination. In the social sciences we often use illustrative examples. Sometimes we even do that in a somewhat rigorous way (e.g. content analysis of mass media). But that is rarely conclusive evidence for or against a general theory. My point  is that the evidence should be used very systematically if we are going to have a real "test" of a theory. Moreover, to test a theory it must be a "research theory" amenable to tesing. That means the research must really operationalize the variables in very rigorous ways. I am not sure the example we have been given really does that, even though it is interesting and worthwhile. (I would have been proud to do it and to have had it published.) 

Richard Koeningsberg's work is interesting and I often read his posts. I have no trouble with his general "research paradigm" and of course I agree with many of the things he writes. But often he does not present testable "research theory". There are different interpretations of the rise of the Nazi's and what precisely they represent. For example, Eric R. Wolf has an interesting research theory about the Nazis which comes entirely from a comparative anthropological perspective, although he does add some assumptions about psychological processes. But he is quite different from DeMause in his approach, or does DeMause also discuss the Kwakiutl and the Aztecs in terms of raw power (Macht) and "legitimate authority" (Herrschaft)? I am not saying Wolf is right and Koenigsberg is wrong. I am saying it is very hard to have the kind of definitive empirical test that Brian seems to think is a key component of a valid psychohistorical account. 

Cheers from Boston, 

Hans    J. I. Bakker 

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Brian
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Mar 6



Hans, Patrick, Ken and all,

Hans, yes grand theory strictly speaking is not testable.  It is what Kuhn called a paradigm, a general conceptual framework.  But if the framework is scientific, testable theories can be derived from it, at least according to Kuhn (Structure of Scientific Revolutions).  For example, Newtonian mechanics is predicated on three dimensional Euclidian geometry and absolute time as a separate dimension.  This paradigm is not directly testable, but the laws of motion, theory of gravitation, and theory of light formulated in this framework do yield testable predictions, which were in fact tested by Michaelson and Morley in the 1880s.  This resulted in an anomaly that could not be resolved within the Newtonian paradigm and required a whole new way of thinking about time and space, which was provided by Einstein’s special and general relativity.

As for economics, if neoclassical theory does not yield testable predictions, then it is not a scientific paradigm and if it does, then the fact that no one has formulated such predictions and tested them is a commentary on the scientific immaturity of economics as a discipline.  Ted, the fact that the social sciences have been around for a long time does not mean that they are mature sciences, as Kuhn used the term.  A mature science is one in which there is a consensus around a paradigm and an organized program of empirical research deriving predictions and testing them.  This does not describe the state of the economics discipline, though it remains to be seen if Marx’s paradigm and the theory of capital accumulation that derives from it, which Piketty has tested, will put the discipline on more solid scientific foundations.

Note also that deriving “predictions” does not necessarily mean predicting the future, as the word prediction is commonly used.  In statistical research, we say that a model “predicts” certain values of the dependent variable(s) given certain values of the independent variable(s).  In this kind of research, explanation involves generating a model that can account for the data.  That is what Piketty has done.  We will not know how robust the model is until we apply it to new data, but this could be data from the past that was not previously known or collected.  That is also what historians do using non-statistical methods.  They generate theories that can account for the available evidence and the test of these theories is whether they hold up when new evidence becomes available.  Often the evidence was already known, but not known to the individual historian, so when they publish their work other historians say, “but your theory is not consistent with x, y, z evidence, which you have not considered.”

Patrick, as I explained in greater detail in previous posts, Goldhagen’s and any other theories that try to explain historical events entirely in terms of mass psychology are not viable, for reasons I will summarize briefly in the next paragraph.  Like deMause, Goldhagen has gotten very little respect among mainstream historians.  Your explanation is that those who reject such disturbing theories are personally threatened by them.  Saying this in an academic forum, as you repeatedly do, is as unproductive as it would be for people to tell you that you are clinging to simplistic deMausian orthodoxy because you personally cannot handle complexity and ambiguity and need to attach yourself to an infallible guru.  So let’s leave aside all such arguments and stick to the substantive issues. 

If the Third Reich was caused entirely by mass psychology, how do you account for the fact that left political parties outpolled right parties in German elections for decades before Hitler came to power and that Germany immediately became a stable democracy after Hitler was defeated?  (Note that it did NOT become a stable democracy after Germany’s defeat in World War I).  DeMause attributes such things reductively to child-rearing, but that factor changes on a time-scale of generations, while the Third Reich came and went in less than a generation.

Ken, I am aware of the criticisms of Adorno et al’s The Authoritarian Personality that you mention.  However, subsequent research by Bob Altemeyer (Enemies of Freedom) and myself (“Self Images of Hawks and Doves”) addressed these criticisms and found that Adorno et al’s findings were robust even though their methodology was flawed.  In my research, I measured authoritarianism purely as a personality construct and measured hawk and dove beliefs and policy preferences as a separate construct, correcting the fundamental methodological problem with The Authoritarian Personality.  I found that machismo and authoritarianism explained nearly half the variance in hawk and dove beliefs for males, and authoritarianism also strongly predicts hawk and dove beliefs for females.  In other words authoritarianism is positively correlated with hawk beliefs and negatively correlated with dove beliefs, and the correlations were much larger than are normally found in social science research.  This is a striking confirmation of Adorno et al’s findings.  Their study also continues to be relevant because they conducted interviews along with their survey research.

So how can this help test deMause’s psychogenic paradigm?  First, we need to realize that research on phenomena in the present can shed light on phenomena from the past.  A good example is in biology, where laboratory research on DNA has shed light on the mechanisms of natural selection, and thus of the history of life.  In the case of psychohistory, the research on the present is basic research on human psychology encompassing all the subdisciplines including, cognitive, neuropsychology, clinical, and political psychology.  If we find that child rearing affects political belief systems in the present, we have reason to believe that it also affected them in the past, because the fundamental conditions of human existence have not changed appreciably in recent millennia.  I acknowledged that a great deal of empirical work needs to be done in this area, but based on authoritarianism and other psychological research, as well as deMause’s and other work on the history of childrearing, I believe we have the makings for a science of psychohistory, albeit not a mature science.

The role of neuropsychology is central.  In mainstream psychology and the social sciences today, the brain is viewed as an information processing system and behavior is thought to be driven by cognition of the environment.  While individual differences in personality and motivation loom large for clinicians, these factors are thought to be unimportant in mainstream political psychology, economics, and political science, which are dominated by “rational actor” models.  If this way of thinking is valid, there should be little or no correlation between personality self-assessment and political beliefs.  I tested this theory in my hawks and doves research and disconfirmed it.  I proposed an alternative “control systems” paradigm that subsumes the personality driven and cognition driven explanations of human behavior into a unified conceptual framework.  On this I built on William T. Powers pioneering work Behavior: the Control of Perception, which provides a view of the brain as a network of negative feedback systems.  Powers and his associates have done some impressive robotic modeling of human behavior using these ideas, though behaviorist and cognitive thinking continues to dominate mainstream neuropsychology.

I would like to suggest that basic theory in psychology, which yields testable predictions and will be confirmed or disconfirmed through research on people who are alive today, can provide the theory necessary to understand the historical process scientifically.  The nexus between child rearing practices, personality, and behavior requires empirical research if psychohistory is ever to become a science.  Then it will be necessary to combine this knowledge with traditional historical research to understand the historical process.  There is no simple way of doing this, but the way that laboratory work on genetics informs evolutionary biology is a model.

Brian

Brian D’Agostino, Ph.D.

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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
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Mar 7



Since I've been with the list I've heard arguments for two different courses for the subsequent development of psychohistory. 

The first is that it must accept that what it has is theory in abundance, but what it hasn't is adequate testing to see if there's anything to it. Young psychohistorians are to be recruited to not only test theories, but to show that the discipline is coming to have science in its bones -- no longer will you have psychohistorians fluff out books and books of outrageous theories and be irked when someone arrives who dares poke at any of it; no longer will it be a cult! It'll be modest, humble, but nevertheless through an accumulation of sober studies of limited scope, demonstrate convincing proof for theories that will begin to lead psychohistory into being a worthy regular contributor to the social sciences and History disciplines. No grand, all-encompassing theories; no egos. Everything within the decor expected of contemporary science … and maybe then some. 

The second, argued mostly by me, is that what psychohistory needs to do is make sure it's drawing in emotionally healthy members. If it doesn't get them, you can't trust their science -- research will inevitably prove the big egos within the discipline either wrong or vastly overreaching, and support psychohistorians who offer useful kernels of proof that while not earth-shattering, nevertheless are ostensibly unique contributions scholars in other disciplines will find useful for their own studies. If you don't get them, the future of psychohistory will be to inevitably keep it tamed. 

I've heard a lot of support for the first course — more testing, more humility — but I was delighted to find support for my cause within the IPA Winter 2015 newsletter. If you haven't read it, it commences with a book review of an exploration of childhood memory and abuse by Valerie Rose Birton, and reflects on the possibility that the key divide in the research is in the nature of the childhoods of the researchers, between those who as children grew into adults who carried the mandate of protecting their parents and those who didn't. Specifically, the problem is with adults, with researchers, who ... often act out their drive to protect parents and reenact their childhood traumas from the position of entitlement and privilege, now that they are the adults. They treat their own children as they were treated, requiring them to honor their parents more than the truth, just as they did when they were younger . . . . There are too many researchers who are unconsciously and deeply driven to protect parents and as such, they seek evidence that immunizes parents.

Valerie Rose Birton argues that what is alarming is that regressives are taking over the science. Specifically she writes: 

The account of Dr. Snyder’s harrowing legal encounter with the scientifically sparse but widely publicized movement against child abuse memories reveals the degree to which these forces have infiltrated the field of child abuse research and treatment, and exemplifies the damaging impact this has had on therapists, on protective parents and on children who have been abused.

Birton is alarmed because if this lot comes to own the field, she knows that plenty of science will be done … that will inevitably conclusively demonstrate whatever is required to protect parents and leave children vulnerable to abuse. Other researchers contesting them will be powerless, because scientific proof won’t matter so much as the collusion of the scientific community, who aren’t ultimately beholden to science but to the approval of brutal parents somewhere kept in their heads. Guilt over mishandling the scientific endeavour won’t factor in, because the need to find proof for research will mostly be overladen by the need to keep their own abusive parents looking good. Every time they think they feel pleasure for their doing good sober science, it’ll really have arisen because they’ve conferred authority to studies that will further safeguard their parents.

Within the same newsletter, Marc-Andre Cotton discusses infiltration within the French psychotherapy profession. He writes: 

While 36.8% of all Europeans face emotional distress according to a recent survey, the French authorities decided to reserve the title of psychotherapist to medical doctors and psychologists only, without requiring any personal therapy in their curriculum. Conversely, many certified therapists claiming a long practice but with no medical background are currently losing the right to exercise their profession–in violation of a legal principle of equity.

And concludes: 

From my standpoint, psychohistory’s framework of interpretation could offer a meaningful perspective on this conflict, reaching far beyond the scope of such professions. On the one hand, we indeed find genuine therapists–mostly women– dedicated to helping their clients heal unresolved grief and trauma by offering trust and empathy. On the other, politicians and bureaucrats, serving the interests of the pharmaceutical giants and organized medicine, are seeking to delegitimize such work, which will most certainly prove counter-productive in terms of public mental health. I see this as a clash of what psychohistorians call “psychoclasses,” one of which believes in imposing bureaucratic order, reflecting their intrusive childrearing, while the other believes in the crucial relevance of listening, reflecting their experience of nurturing. Let us hope that the latter prevails!

Cotton concludes the effort to professionalize psychotherapy, infiltrate it only with PhDs, might be an infiltration of the intrusive psychoclass, coming at the cost of those from what DeMause calls the more evolved, “helping” psychoclass. If we hear calls for more professionalization here, at psychohistory, maybe we should expect it’s moved by the same -- keep an eye on the wayward. 

In my judgment, there are few fields that are more likely going to attract those unconsciously motivated to protect abusive parents and provide further frustration for abused children, than the field of psychohistory. It’s saturated by the idea that childrearing matters, that abuse within families is historically prevalent and results not just in wrecked homes but in distraught whole societies and sick widespread social phenomena like Depressions and wars. 

DeMausian psychohistory in particular should be expected to draw in those operating under the influence of their abusive parents, neutering it, effectively steering it into oblivion for good, because DeMause not only talks about abuse and caregivers but, appallingly! goes where even child right supporters take care not to roam: he focuses attention on the one who spends most of the time with children — one’s mother — and refuses to lie to those who expect that the neglected, abused, denigrated, patriarchally suppressed mother will do anything other than incestuously use her children and discard them when they’re no longer of use. To get a sense of how brazen this is, consider that when on this list Brian explained to Molly Castelloe that:

The fact that infant care in our society is assigned almost exclusively to females means that the deepest and most unconscious introjects of both sexes are female.  It also means that when adults of both sexes project this infantile material, it is onto women that we project it. Note that all this operates independently of the quality of parenting, which has been Lloyd deMause's focus.

it’s possible that this — we’re not talking what any particular mother may have done to their child but just universals of human behaviour, which presumably are vastly more relevant than “variations,” so don’t think when we discuss it think we’re actually considering what you may or may not be doing with your children (what may have brought this whole discussion on) ... we wouldn't dare touch that! — wasn’t so much explaining as it was mollifying … mollifying the internal Terrifying Mother within so many of us that would want to spank down the affront of DeMause, and react to any irked mother (sorry Molly) as if she bore the power of his own. 

— Patrick

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dr.bobstern
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Mar 7



Re: Patrick's post 
  
Is there a link between psychopathology and the Scientific Method?

"There are too many researchers who are unconsciously and deeply driven to protect parents and as such, they seek evidence that immunizes parents."

But, aren't  there plenty of researchers demonstrating particular mental and physical consequences of child abuse? 

If I read Patrick's post correctly:

The hypothesis (assertion?) proposed is: Advocates for scientific research on particular psychohistorical hypotheses (group 1) are substantially populated by the  "emotionally unhealthy."

At the risk of a priori confirming my mother's abuse of me by even posing the question: I think the hypothesis needs more scientific study. 

B



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Ken Fuchsman
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Mar 7



Some are saying we should treat psychohistory scientifically.  History is not classified as a science, but a humanity, though history certainly has scientific elements within it.  Academic psychology is a social science, yet much of psychology outside of academia has as much affinity with the humanities as the sciences.  Those who look at psychohistory primarily through a scientific lens are one-sided.  They are not recognizing that the humanities are as integral to what psychohistory is as science, and are underplaying the complexity of psychology, history and psychohistory.  Science has revolutionized knowledge and set high epistemological standards. Yet for all its significance, when it comes to many things, we do not need scientism, and this is true for psychohistory as well as many other things central to life. So let us be more balanced when discussing the nature of psychohistory.   

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dr.bobstern
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Mar 7



Absolutely agree, Ken. 

There are historical matters that lend themselves to proper historical investigation: examining primary documents (correspondence, etc).  Whether those documents are authentic lends itself to scientific methodologies -- chemical analysis of the age of paper, ink, etc.

But, if a theorist claims that the gene that makes broccoli taste bad (or that weaning before the age of 9 months) has a significant causal connection to some (psycho)historical outcomes, this certainly suggests that a discipline that wants to be taken seriously does more than engage in academic discussions to establish the hypothesis as proven fact.

B


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Brian
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Mar 7



Ken, I completely agree with everything you have said here.  Kumbaya, brother. J  I have always argued against reductionism, including the reductionism of physicists, many of whom claim that a unified theory of the laws of physics would be a “theory of everything.”  In fact, biology cannot be reduced to physics, and neuropsychology cannot be reduced to biology.  Psychology and history have one foot in the natural sciences (because the human body and brain are part of nature) and one foot in the humanities for the reasons you say.  My position would be “scientism” and one-sided if I were trying to reduce psychology and history to natural science, which I am not.  I do argue that psychology, history, and psychohistory are potentially sciences, but not ONLY sciences.  I have been discussing the scientific side of these disciplines, but did not mean to exclude the humanistic side.  Here Freud, who in many respects is not one of my favorite people, was indeed a pioneer in creating a psychology that sought to integrate natural science and the humanities.  We need to build on and update that project.

Further, even a comprehensive scientific/humanistic psychohistory would be one-sided if it sought to reduce all of history to psychohistory.  In this respect, I do not agree with psychohistorians who define the field as uncovering the “why of history,” which in practice reduces the “why” to unconscious motivations.  Rather I have argued, in the tradition of the Frankfurt School (of which Adorno et al were members), that a complete understanding of history can only be achieved by combining a psychohistorical approach with an analysis of socioeconomic and institutional factors.  In this respect, I think Trevor’s work is exemplary, and want to add my own kudos about his new book to all the others that have already been expressed.

Brian

Brian D’Agostino, Ph.D.
President
International Psychohistorical Association
917-628-8253

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Ralph Fishkin
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Mar 7


Other recipients: rfish...@gmail.com


Patrick,

As usual, your final paragraph is a killer.  I think I’ve finally got it.  I have trouble with your perspectives on two grounds:

1. You polarize.

2. You have a cause. You wrote, in another killer paragraph,

"The second, argued mostly by me, is that what psychohistory needs to do is make sure it's drawing in emotionally healthy members. If it doesn't get them, you can't trust their science -- research will inevitably prove the big egos within the discipline either wrong or vastly overreaching, and support psychohistorians who offer useful kernels of proof that while not earth-shattering, nevertheless are ostensibly unique contributions scholars in other disciplines will find useful for their own studies. If you don't get them, the future of psychohistory will be to inevitably keep it tamed. 

"I’ve heard a lot of support for the first course — more testing, more humility — but I was delighted to find support for my cause within the IPA Winter 2015 newsletter."

If someone disagrees with your cause, they will become your emotionally unhealthy and untrustworthy adversary, and then we will all be off onto an argument in which we will try but will be unable to convert each other to the our own point of view.  I sense that you are looking to create this kind of interaction.  We have had polarizers with missionary causes on this list before and this has resulted in fights that dominated the discussions and polarized the subscribers in a destructive way.  Therefore I am not taking issue with a number of your assertions that I think are generalizations that are determined by your cause, which I think is to destroy the abusive authoritarian parent (mother) that you think we have all had but that those of us with “big egos” protect.  Freud separately promulgated the hypotheses that emotional illness could be attributed both to trauma and also originate in phantasy.  He never took back the seduction hypothesis.  I suggest that we strive for nuance and steer clear of trying to convert each other in our discussions.

Ralph



  
On Mar 7, 2015, at 9:46 AM, Patrick McEvoy-Halston <pmcevoy...@gmail.com> wrote:

it’s possible that this — we’re not talking what any particular mother may have done to their child but just universals of human behaviour, which presumably are vastly more relevant than “variations,” so don’t think when we discuss it think we’re actually considering what you may or may not be doing with your children (what may have brought this whole discussion on) ... we wouldn't dare touch that! — wasn’t so much explaining as it was mollifying … mollifying the internal Terrifying Mother within so many of us that would want to spank down the affront of DeMause, and react to any irked mother (sorry Molly) as if she bore the power of his own.

=============================
Ralph E. Fishkin, D.O.
Secretary, American Psychoanalytic Association

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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
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Mar 8 (23 hours ago)


Other recipients: rfish...@gmail.com

Thanks for the history of the site, Ralph. 

I came to this site wondering how much was being done to engage with DeMause's theories. What I've found is that there are people (at the IPA newsletter) who are finding evidence in our times of what DeMause would expect -- progressive groups are being infiltrated by regressives; more and more people are experiencing growth panic and finding themselves in agreement with punitive adults and skeptical of children -- and, frightened, seem to be suggesting that we might all want to explore his work with urgency. I didn't know of these people; maybe I'll be able to say something of value to them. I'll be tempering down to see what more activity is out "there," but the idea of children desiring seduction disgusts me. 

-- Patrick

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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
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Mar 9 (22 hours ago)



I'm a book and film reviewer. If anyone would like to read my explorations of literature, please feel free to explore them here:


or here:



-- Patrick

P.S. I've been doing film reviews for the last few years; I'll post a link to them as well at some point. 

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Barney
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Mar 9 (19 hours ago)


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Dear Cliofolk,

If you are in the mood for a semi-Professor Irwin Corey, semi-Borges, 95% semi-whacky, strangely fascinating, like a crooked Escher crossed with Elmore Leonard, entirely cool (if you ignore the occasional semi-precious semi-clevernesses) and wickedly entertaining evaluation of the semi-fictional characters of Gulliver (Swift) and Robinson (DeFoe) Crusoe, then rush to your address line and copy in


and enjoy the talent of Patrick McEvoy-Halston (what's that monicker all about?) that lurks behind every sentence. 

Entertaining, stimulating, only occasionally leaves you dangling in hothouse verbiage that is easy to detect and to skip.

I am kind of shock and awed. There are a whole parade of other essays I have not yet read, but I suspect will have worthy moments.

When you aren't watching Fox News at 10, you might enjoy draining the Amazon swamp, meaning the on-line store, of course.


Barney

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