MaryLynn Kemp's Archive

Blog 6: Third Force Psychology

4 Commentsby   |  04.23.13  |  Student Posts

A reaction to the Third Force Psychology movement.  For better or worse, what modern individuals (excluding psychologists), or contemporary movements & trends best illustrate the spirit of Third Force Psychology for you?


I am not sure if this seems applicable to anyone else, but something that resonates with me in connection with third force psychology is home-schooling. Mostly this is connected with the self-actualization aspects of the humanistic mindset. I personally was home schooled elementary school and some of high school, and my only experience with “real” or “standardized” schooling was in middle school and college. I firmly believe that I would be less driven to success as an individual and to discovering and fulfilling my true potential if I had not been homeschooled. In a similar manner to humanistic theory, my parents strove to encourage my individuality and creativity with unconditional positive regard. I am different than my siblings, even though we have a lot in common, and we all felt that we had the opportunity to discover ourselves and be “the best you you can be”. I was able to forge ahead in areas that I grasped quickly and spend time focusing on things that took me longer. My family was a place of support and guidance, but not control or demands.

I see this as connecting with third force psychology’s main spirit of allowing the individual to flourish in whatever unique way is healthiest for them.

Self-Titled EP: Blog 3

2 Commentsby   |  03.05.13  |  Student Posts

Evolutionary psychology is a field of thought that has tendrils reaching into many other fields, although it is questionable how applicable evolutionary theory really is to some of those fields. An example of an issue that many feel evolutionary psychology does not have anything reasonable to say is religion. Although I do believe that evolutionary psychology, in congruence with social evolution, implies and explains many things relevant to religion, I do have a few questions regarding some of the conclusions people occasionally arrive at, as well as the steps they take to reach those ends.

One specific question I have is in relation to the idea that people act selfless and moral in order to gain approval from potential mates and society as a whole. This idea leads fairly directly down a logical path to the explanation of religion as just an organized example of that evolutionary trait, as do other ideas. However, I see evolutionary theory as completely incapable of explaining most religions, especially those with strict moral codes. For example, in Islamic traditions, cowardice is heavily frowned upon – which makes sense from the perspective that prioritizes the benefit of society, but not at all from a personal genetic standpoint. Similarly, Christian views hold that a man should have only one wife, and vice-versa. This could not have developed from an evolutionary basis, as the goal of a male from the evolutionary stand-point is to have as many mates as possible.

I am not saying that the existence of these moral codes disproves evolutionary psychology, far from it. I just think that if evolution were all that guides our behaviors, these religious traditions would never have developed. Therefore, there must be something else going on as well.

Blog 2

1 Commentby   |  01.30.13  |  Student Posts

It is difficult to say how much the influence of Greek philosophers impacted contemporary thinking – but then again, I’m allowed to describe it in whatever way I want and using additional mediums as I like.

So I’m going to use my favorite medium: Internet memes.

Dating Advice from Philosophers

Two of the most famous Greek philosophers are, Plato, and Socrates. In my personal opinion, Socrates probably had the most obvious impact on the average person (at least the average person I have contact with). The Socratic method of bringing people to realize new ideas through asking them questions is clearly evident in today’s culture.


Although many people view these questions as intentionally convoluted and confusing, in many other cases this tactic can be seen as enlightening a person to something that they never would have been able to figure out on their own.

What If I Told You...

Still others feel they can stumble upon these truths on their own – through contemplation of the universe they can grow to learn more about it, without use of observation. This thought also follows from Socratic ideology, based on the idea that a person doesn’t need to be educated to know things. Socrates believed that even a slave already understood complex mathematics and did not need to be taught, merely ‘reminded’.

Plato also had significant influence (although probably the most common used of his name is in the word platonic, which fairly few people realize comes from the fact that he described love as having two forms, vulgar and divine). His allegory of the cave is one of his most famous ideas, and I think it is actually fairly well understood by most people who hear it, since he did a very good job of making it accessible to the common man.

Plato's Cave (XKCD)

I think one of his most profound impacts on modern thought is based off the theory of the forms. Although most people do not consciously believe that there is a perfect version of each thing that all other things are striving to emulate, people do strive for a perfect unattainable ‘something’, oftentimes without even recognizing precisely what that thing is. We seek for a thing that we know must exist, based on other things that we see… Even though what we seek is generally just a concept, rather than a physical reality.

Pythagorean Cat

Although I cannot possibly say what all of the impacts of the Greek philosophers are and will be, I definitely think that we are more influenced by them than most people realize. There are, I’m sure, more historically accurate and concise ways of explaining it, but this is a blog, this class is awesome, and I don’t have any more time. I shall leave you with a philosophical question about religion. (Please forgive me for going so incredibly far past the word count – for as we know, a picture is worth a thousand words.)

Philosoraptor on Religion

0 Commentsby   |  01.15.13  |  Student Posts

When I looked up the definition of the word life in the Random House Dictionary (utilizing the well respected scholarly source I found several scientifically based answers. Then, clocking in at number five on the list of definitions, I saw this gem with its attached ironic example.

5. the general or universal condition of human existence: “Too bad, but life is like that.”

In the context of this blog, I found this incredibly humorous but also a bit insightful. In this blog post I’m supposed to describe my personal definition of “the good life”. Is it not interesting that humanity as a whole can describe life as organic compounds and other scientific words and phrases, and also “too bad”? Our society is filled with people who expect the worst, demand the best, and refuse to settle for anything less than what they want, right here, right now. We have difficulty understanding this life as “good” because we refuse to accept that the world around us is good enough.

I personally, as an aspiring philosopher, think that the word good is incredibly subjective. Since this is about how I view “the good life” I’m going to use my own definitions and priorities. First and foremost, let’s consider good in regards to morality. I believe that living a morally good life is not something that humans are capable of doing without outside help – the originator of which is God, although He uses many different tools and people to help us. Although it is possible, and in fact incredibly likely, that people can do good things without God helping us, have good intentions and good impacts on the world, we cannot truly be good people without the intervention of God.
I believe that quality of life follows directly from morality of life. Living a moral life has positive impacts on personal self-worth, the people around us, and the responses those people have to us. It is easy to see how people could disagree with this idea – after all, Christians are persecuted throughout the world and throughout history, and I am talking about Christians.
However, I would argue that the Christian living in persecution is in fact living “the good life” to a fuller extent than anyone else. The joy that we can achieve through following Christ is greater than success at work, sex, drugs, money, or anything else that people value.
And that is my definition of “the good life” with original thought and creativity, between 200 and 500 words.

MaryLynn Kemp's Comment Archive

  1. MaryLynn Kemp on Third Force Psychology
    11:18 pm, 04.23.13

    I liked what you said about third force psychology bringing back the emphasis on the beauty of life. Many of the theories seemed so manipulative, like the counselor is on some authoritative pedestal and sees all, knows all! But I don’t want that kind of pressure or that kind of authority, and the team-work/support/journeying alongside kind of structure seems much more healthy for both the therapist and the client. This theory definitely seems more adaptable than most.

  2. MaryLynn Kemp on Blog post number 6
    11:15 pm, 04.23.13

    I really enjoyed what you had to say about parenting.
    I am glad I’m not the only one that feels that way – I feel like such an idealist sometimes!
    I definitely agree with the desire to let kids become whoever they were meant to be, and share the question of whether or not that is ever possible. I feel that we are so shaped by outside events, expectations, and influences that we are in fact incapable of escaping the effects those things have on us.
    But the great thing about unconditional positive regard is that it supports in an even, unbiased (as much as possible!) way. I think the humanistic/third force method of psychology is what is healthiest for people with self-image or self-esteem problems… And let’s be honest – isn’t that all of us?

  3. MaryLynn Kemp on Behaviorism
    11:16 pm, 04.03.13

    I think it is really interesting how culture has trained us to view the world as if these impossibly ridiculous things aren’t stupid! I’m not saying we think commercials are documentaries, but the more we see them the less we realize how incredibly fake they are, and the more we are duped by them into buying things we would not otherwise want. Brainwashing, one thirty-second interruption of the superbowl at a time!

  4. MaryLynn Kemp on Blog 4: Behaviorism
    11:14 pm, 04.03.13

    I like that you brought in potty training as a real-life example of behaviorism in our everyday lives.. Not just something that makes pigeons turn in circles, but something that can actually be used to make people’s lives better. I think it’s fascinating that behaviorism is one of the few types of therapy that can be just as useful in the lives of healthy people as for those in need of therapy.

  5. I think it’s really great that we are taking time to recognize the flaws in regards to explaining the behavior of specific individuals using evolution. Any one of us, or even any huge group of us, could be mess-ups, outliers, with traits that do not fit with evolutionary explanations of behavior. Does that mean the evolutionary explanation of our psychology is wrong, or just inadequate as a standard for how life SHOULD be? Well that’s a personal choice. 🙂 Yay individuality!

  6. MaryLynn Kemp on Blog 3
    11:44 pm, 03.05.13

    I definitely can relate to that desire for more proof, more verifiable facts… But now it is MY turn to play devil’s advocate – I think that there is a lot more proof for evolutionary explanations of those kinds of things than there is for any other explanation that I’ve ever heard. It’s like when people doubt the existence of Jesus Christ – there are more writings about Him and more evidence of His existence than of most of the Caesars, but no one doubts their existence.
    SO I guess all that to say – don’t discount things just because the proof is hard to find, especially if there isn’t a viable alternative explanation.

  7. MaryLynn Kemp on Blog #2: Greek Influence
    12:01 am, 01.31.13

    I think it’s really interesting how the view of valour and bravery as central values has shaped our definition of “what a man should be” today. I definitely have seen the negative impacts when society defines a man as different than the actual men who live in society.

  8. MaryLynn Kemp on Blog #2- Greek Culture
    11:59 pm, 01.30.13

    I love the use of Hercules, which I find a humorous commentary on how Greek culture influences modern entertainment and also on how Hollywood modifies our understandings of history to fit their definitions of entertainment.

  9. MaryLynn Kemp on Blog One: The Good Life
    1:07 am, 01.22.13

    Hey Lyndi, I’m glad I wasn’t the only person who used relationship with God as a main characteristic of the ‘good life’. I really like the faith and trust you express in God’s leading – to want what He wants and be willing to let that be enough. Of course, this is a great maxim and generalization, but it can be so incredibly difficult to apply to real life situations! I think it would be interesting to talk with you about specific instances in your life when you lived this out, because I’m a firm believer that sharing personal experiences is a really good way to communicate thoughts and ideas.

    Edit: Once again, I thought this went through the other day – I was out of town this weekend and apparently the internet access I had was even worse than I thought it was.

  10. MaryLynn Kemp on Blog 1: The Good Life
    1:02 am, 01.22.13

    I love when people are able to respectfully value other people’s opinions, while acknowledging differences. Raymond, I really like that you value family and friends – I feel like so few people do in our society anymore. Personally, I believe that Family is not just those who are physically related to me, but also those who I choose as my family, the close friends that I have committed to a level of emotional connection and intimacy with that is of equal intensity as with my family. However, I also see the church as a whole as a family, of sorts – which can often highlight the conflicts and differences between members of a family!

    Edit: I thought I posted this comment over the weekend, but it appears that my internet at the place I was staying this past weekend was faulty, and told me I had posted it when really I had not. Sorry about that.