Over at Dinosaur Comics, Ryan North has a bit of fun with pop-psychology.
It’s always nice to see a takedown of simplistic, indeed vacuous, metaphorical statements posing as deep insights into human nature. A more substantial intellectual analysis is certainly needed for the evaporation of the delusions of the simple minded (if there’s any hope at all for that goal!), but in avenues where there is no space for such endeavors (such as in the dialogues of a humorous webcomic), good old plain and simple ridicule is to be welcomed and applauded. Every simple statement about human nature, appropriate outlooks on life, and related matters can be countered by equally simple statements leading to opposite conclusions because of the nature of such questions: there are no simple answers and the important questions about how to live (as if there was a recipe) can only be answered by delving into the subjects of philosophy, biology, psychology and other fields of science, in other words, into the only places where knowledge is to be found. Certainly, people can find their own way of dealing with their life and its struggles without taking the intellectual route, but such approaches can lead to nothing more than the realization of what seems to work for oneself. When the successful users of such not intellectually informed strategies go on to make bigger claims meant to express some kind of “truth” about life, they go way too far and need to be rebuked. The pop-psychology which continues to produce these laughable platitudes is to be despised, but when we don’t feel like taking the issue seriously, at the moment, ridicule is the next best thing.