Posted in psychology

Objectively being Objective

Do other bloggers/writers enjoy writer’s block as much as I do? I think it’s a time to explore what you want to say versus what you could say. Or maybe I’m one of those horrible people who see light in every darkness, and not in the cliche “there’s a positive in every negative” way.

Of course there’s a positive in every negative. It wouldn’t be negative if there wasn’t. Come on.

I was thinking about my previous post and about craziness in general, and about variation too, about how all of our experiences are different and yet they overlap. I wonder if they overlap because they are caused by similar “defects” (as the medical model persists) or if they overlap because we, again, enjoy organizing things into categories. Because it seems to me, in reading the research, that there are many different pathways that cause many different experiences, and no matter how much the media tells you serotonin is responsible for anxiety and dopamine is responsible for psychosis, no one actually knows.

Here’s a tip: if you hear a psychologist or researcher presenting information to the media, their work probably hasn’t been peer reviewed or replicated yet.

And so that makes me think about the spectrum of psychosis. I mean, there’s a wide range of experiences, and I touched on them last time just; this difference between internal versus external voices and how they were once regarded separate in their effect but now are regarded quite similar, the only difference being those with primarily internal voices have more awareness of their “origin”.

Some people have visual hallucinations, some people don’t. Some people have very few, like me. Some people believe people are coming to kill them. Some people believe spirits are coming to kill them. Some people think they’re God. Some people think you’re Lucifer. Some people sit silent, aloof, and stare at a wall (me). Others run down the street. A tiny fraction of people become violent out of nothing more than fear or confused anger.

So, what is it that varies all these experiences? It can’t all be chemicals. After all, delusions and hallucinations have a lot of fun playing off things/people/events happening around you.

There’s no point in arguing nature versus nurture, we’ll never be conclusive on that. People can have opinions, but the data will never be conclusive. What I think, then, is things like this should be considered with that ambiguity in mind.

It’s another fact that we’re human and humans hold bias. Researchers who want to be that one person to find conclusive evidence that a specific pathway with a specific chemical and electrical impulse in the brain is responsible for the cluster of experiences we call schizophrenia or bipolar or depression or anxiety will find that conclusive evidence. It might not be significant, it might not be real, and it will probably be correlational at best, but they’ll find it because they’re searching for it. They’ll find it because the companies they’re researching for toss out the evidence which doesn’t support the theory–that’s a big source of fraud in medical science these days.

It’s difficult to be objective in regular, everyday life. It’s ten times more difficult in research psychology, especially if you’re after fame or truly believe that your efforts will save millions of lives. Because if you don’t become famous and you don’t save everyone’s lives then you’ve just spend hundreds of thosuands of dollars on a degree in a job that may never pay off in the ways you imagined. And no one wants their fantasy squashed.

So I implore you in your daily lives, and especially those of you studying psychology or any science really, to remember nothing is certain. Remember a theory can never be proven; no matter how much “evidence” you think you find, we can never claim it as an absolute truth. Remember falsifying theories is more important; if we weed out the false ideas we can get closer to the truth, kind of how a limit never approaches zero but does that funny thing where it gets super close. Remember you’re the ass if you bend to the whim of money and fame and bribes.

Who wants to be so certain of everything, anyway? I enjoy waking up in the morning unsure of what the day will bring, and even more so now that I’ve stopped thinking “OH GOD OH GOD WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TODAY” and started embracing “I wonder what could happen today? Well, I guess I’ll just find out.”

Certainty is so boring. That’s probably why the universe doesn’t care for it.


Writer. Reader. Science advocate. Living well beyond the label Schizoaffective.

2 thoughts on “Objectively being Objective

  1. Sogyal Rinpoche once said: Theories are like patches on a coat, one day they just wear off. On a lighter note, I used to paint houses and every time I told my helper two coats he’d say: What about one heavy sweater?

    Liked by 1 person

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