Normally I don’t release significant works until they are fully completed, however in this case I thought it might be interesting and useful if I share perhaps the most significant passion project I’ve been working on over the last six years. I think it may shed some light, at least obliquely, on some of the problems we have been facing as a society, and as the “industrial dream” reaches its logical conclusion.
The very short story is that following a couple of years as a researcher at a leading Canadian university, I went independent to focus on fundamental drivers of human growth across the lifespan; too niche a topic for the context I was working in. That rabbit hole, plus a great deal of adjacent research and a consilience-based approach, led me to suspect that there were some important parts missing of the picture, so to speak.
Following an extensive review of well over four hundred pieces of literature, most of them among the finest in their respective niches, I managed to put names to the anomalies driving my intuition and research activity, and in the process identified several core issues with the discipline of psychology as currently imagined.
Fundamentally, I claim that Abraham Maslow was mostly correct with his “Hierarchy of Needs”, and definitely on the right track with third-force psychology, but faced limitations from his enmeshment in the industrialized system that has explicitly sought to undermine human integrity. At the very bottom of the Hierarchy of Needs, at the very foundation, should be “Integrity of Self”, which is something I am still defining precisely but can be roughly understood to encompass things like self-knowledge, self-expression, positive self-regard, and self-integrity.
The most elegant point of contention with Maslow’s Hierarchy as traditionally understood is that people will happily die for issues of honour, shame, or even to make a point. This cannot be reconciled within the traditional model, and therefore a more foundational human need must be found.
The implications of this addition to the Hierarchy are wide-ranging. I contend that the entire industrial economy has undermined and compromised human integrity, and despite our trappings of luxury still does so cradle-to-grave. I cover this in one of my books, and also touch upon how psychology has been weaponized to confuse, manage, control, and pacify human life despite the best intentions of many of its practitioners.
In addition, there are some… issues with psychology as a “science”. Despite the many achievements of its researchers and practitioners, and the genuine value it has added to our lives, there are several problems with the discipline as currently imagined; my proposal to resolve these is called “Integrity Psychology”.
Maybe it will become a new school of thought, or perhaps it will just remain a passion project, but regardless a “mind map” that summarizes my insights, conclusions, and suggestions is available here.