The Dynamics of Belief. An exploration of the New Philosophical Psychology that seems to be so popular, those who see themselves as a type of Lacan extrapolator, of sorts. (And I’m not talking about Zizek).
Psychology is for those who believe. For those who do not believe, psychology becomes an instatement of power. What I mean to say is that the tenants and findings of psychology are merely interesting, and while they may offer me a manner by which to consider and address unexplained facets of my own presence in the world, they are merely that: Ways by which I may talk about and consider what might be going on. What is really going on is never really touched upon.
The manner a person might become a believer concerns whether or not they think there is something wrong with them. If nothing is wrong, then three things can happen, neither of which convert the person necessarily.
One; the person has someone they care for who apparently has something wrong with them that is causing them frustrations, problems that they are incapable of sorting out themselves, is causing them personal distress or social ineffection or conflict. In other words, something is wrong with the person. A person who cares may become a believer here for the sake of the other person, but this belief is not necessary; it may be merely that the other person is at odds with itself, as this does not connote that the first person/care giver becomes then at odds with his or her self. This is to say the fact that the other person may be at odds with herself or himself and so looks to psychology for at least an explanation if not a solution, does not necessarily connote that the former care-giver falls into the psychological scheme of problem-solution. It only means that the scheme itself relates the situation of the other person to the care-giver. This does not mean the care-giver does not in fact care, but indeed shows that the care-giver has a capacity to care that is larger than the institution of psychology, since the care-giver is setting what belief may be reside, as in the case presented here of the segregation of belief and non- belief, for the sake of what the other person might need for itself, for its own state of being.
The second thing that can happen is the person himself thinks nothing is wrong (with himself), but others see that something is wrong in the person. This is the converse of the first case. Here, the person is indeed subject to a force of power, but still this does not necessarily connote a conversion to belief; in fact, it is the religious dimension of psychology that enforces itself upon everyone, that requires everyone to submit to its real principles of truth. This is so much the case that if someone does not agree to its methodological proposals then the person is seen as ignorant, delusional and even insane. This is the same mechanism by which religious institutions have declared heretics, and the same quality of reality, the same types of justification that require a total human submission. This is also the meaning and the impetus of subaltern silence.
Two questions inevitably arise here. One of the ideological state of the converted, and two, similar to that of the first situation above, that of the use of the ideological mechanism by the person for the purpose of relieving the tension involved in the person being viewed as a person with a problem. Of course, the issue is first noticed due to an insistence of propriety; which is to say, the person sees something wrong about the world or the way it is perceived by others that must be reckoned, that must be set right. There is no difference in the effect of such expressions; where there is difference, there we have a notice of belief, for when one is merely arguing over belief, there we have an ethical negotiation, which is always respected, whether the response be by discussion or machine guns. One can always assert what they believe because it corresponds as it reifies the common belief of the day, whatever that is, because the respect of belief as a route is the real way, is the belief in ideological propriety. If you are refinishing a wood table, it is only because there is this table that is wood; if you are asserting your belief, it is because there is this arena wherein belief resides and functions. One cannot assert a belief where there is no arena where belief has a place. But the table is merely a table, not the only table.
If we must all sit at the same table, then we immediately have a qualification for honesty. In the first case above, one could say that the care giver is not being honest because he does not believe in psychology, does not believe that the problem of the cared-for person has been properly located by psychology nor has the means to solve it; he is saying that the framing of problem-solution and it’s implied method has no true basis. The care-giver can be seen as dishonest because he is taking the cared-for to psychology for help. But this dishonesty only occurs at the table where the table is not seen as merely a place where things are negotiated, but rather as the only and essential place where all truth is, so if the care-giver is sitting at this table then all his cards are supposed to be laid up, such that what he believes is implied in his activity. But in so much as he is not speaking his belief, yet somehow his belief is exposed, he is then being subversive and deceitful. The table that is not seen as a table but indeed the only ubiquity thus enjoins and defines an ontological wholeness; here namely, thought and apparent (objectival) activity. But this dishonest situation occurs only because of the linkage, the suture, that equates a wholeness with a motivation, of sorts, a proper application chain, so to speak, in the human constitution, what is rightly called a teleo-ontology, where belief has a meaning that is included in a total, proper and essential human being; this scheme cannot convey a human being without belief. Those who see the table as the Only are thus oriented to view agenda within lines of a potential for deception; they are incapable of relinquishing their belief for the sake of the negotiation, rather, they merely assert their position and come to compromise amidst a cloud of concession. The negotiation, again, is seen to be committed by deceptive agents.
The third thing that can happen is the person comes to the table in full acknowledgment of the limitations of the agents at the table, and so enters into an authentic negotiation for the purpose of serving those at the table. Psychology becomes another vehicle or mechanism by which to serve those who cannot see beyond the table, those who cannot dismiss themselves from the agency of belief.