Monday, November 10, 2008

WWDNGH4 Psychology vs. material stuff

Money and simple materialism is relatively simple.
That is why improvement in material life quality is simple.
But it is not everything, and it is somewhat capped above. You cannot improve materialistic state endlessly and still gain much. So you are stuck with what people feel psychologically.

Psychological feelings etc. are much more complex.
Either satisfaction with one's job, life, and social situation.
Self perception. Relationships.
Occupying oneself with things that produce good feeling.
self actualization (sounds psychological nonsense. But it can be very important)
feeling of autonomy and freedom.
Not being flooded and overwhelmed with these feelings.
etc. etc. many more dimensions.

A few barriers for psychological improvement.

Complexity. As above it is not a summary of things. It is rather very complex.

Unseen. Much of psychology is unseen. i.e. even if resulting feelings are somehow the goal (at least part thereof), the psychological dynamics leading to them is very opaque, and many findings show that we have a very bad understanding of our own psych. {to whihc extent?}
Even feelings themselves are highly unclear.We may be more or less aware of ceratin feelings. (very very awareness changes the very meaning of a feeling. But it still counts. Like forgotten "objective experience" that should be counted)

Hard to apply. Changing psychological features of a person is hard. It is not as buying a new car.

No efficient market for psychological stuff.
Many material things have a market. Even when most people are inefficient, a few efficient people can make money on optimizing the tradable goods.

In psychology, nobody makes money from making me/you happier. Therefore, the only way for improvement is doing it ourselves.

A related observation is that certain trends in our subjective psychology are negative. i.e. contrary to economics where there is generally an improvement (suppose). In psychology certain trends are clearly negative.
These trends are sometimes social and cultural dynamics that sometimes move to the worse. There is no ulterior manager that makes all trends to the better.
A good read is "Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before". I cannot guarantee all conclusions, but there are clearly dynamics in the culture that are bad of our psychological well-being

Favorite qoute: All is psychology. jobs, philosophies, rationalities, incentives, moralities, are all names presumed to escape our child-like souls. Kahneman/Baumeister more important than Einstein.