Carter Wells's Archive

2 Commentsby   |  04.23.13  |  Student Posts

I happen to be fascinated by third-force psychology and the humanistic approach. It is people-oriented, relentlessly positive, and vastly popular. While it is arguably to idealistic and often fails to apply much needed perspective to life situations, it is nonetheless interesting and powerful in many ways. I think a great example of a modern movement is the universalist philosophy: all truth is relative and while we all experience and perceive things differently, what serves as our reality is a valid reality. I personally would love to believe universalism, but I have a very hard time accepting someone’s reality that involves sexual relationships with a child or the extermination of a race as reasonable or even just truths. I think humanistic psychology’s largest strength (it’s acceptance of the uniqueness and individuation of people) is also it’s greatest weakness (at some point a line must me drawn). While most of what is right and wrong in the context of human reason and emotion is “gray area”, most people would agree that at least some ethical questions have answers that are black and white.

3 Commentsby   |  04.11.13  |  Student Posts

Psychoanalytic thinking is most prevalent, at least in my opinion, in the fact that almost everyone is aware now of subconscious tendencies to act upon desires and impulses. Before psychoanalytic thought, little thought or respect was given to ideas dealing with the subconscious, and now, in my own life and in daily encounters with others, i hear attributions towards subconscious tendencies. So much of what we know about our functioning and decisions is attributed to automated thoughts and subconscious ideas, which would never have been considered before Freud and his contemporaries.


4 Commentsby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

When I first learned of behaviorism, it seemed rather common sense to me (hindsight bias I’m sure): give a dog food for shaking your hand and your dog will shake your hand. It was not until later psychology classes that I began to realize the breadth and depth of this school of thought. Behaviorism is fascinating to me because it has permeated so much of our world without much of society realizing it. Disciplinary methods in home and schools are derived from studies in behaviorism, ideals and belief systems are created through conditioning, advertising and media condition individuals to think and behave in certain ways, and we can change habits and activity through behaviorism techniques.
While behaviorism can be extremely beneficial in its applications, it scares me as much as it fascinates me because it can easily be misused and misinterpreted. It’s so reductive of human behavior that if applied in the right manner, humans can be “trained” or conditioned to do things which they might never have considered. This can be done on a personal level or a societal level. Therefore, I think it’s important to educate people on these principles to make them aware of the messages, rewards, and punishments that they are consuming through media, friends, or other sources.

The second blog

1 Commentby   |  01.30.13  |  Student Posts

When considering how history and ancient ideas have influenced our modern culture, I am reminded of the principle of hindsight bias (once we know something the thought of not knowing it seems absurd to us). It is easy to think that ideas of dualism and a good life are common sense or intuitive, since most of us grew up with these teachings; however, in the ancient world, ideas like these that are so prevalent in our lives were considered by so many to be absurd. It is key to remember that our culture and worldview are products of thousand of years of progress, paradigm shifts, and philosophical and psychological advancements.
The Greeks were responsible for such an incredibly vast expansion of knowledge, ideas, and sciences. They were one of the first truly individualistic civilizations that we study, which is one of the most significant dynamics in American culture.

The Good Life: Posted this yesterday, but somehow managed to post it as a comment

1 Commentby   |  01.21.13  |  Student Posts

Living the good life is a concept that is increasingly hard to define as our world diversifies and ideologies and norms shift. I have always stood by the ideal that the good life involves deeds, thoughts, and beliefs that do not solely benefit the individual, but rather edify and profit others. Living ones life in an altruistic manner is theoretically the best way to strengthen both yourself and humanity as a whole. In this sense, the Christian life of self-sacrifice is the most fulfilling and impacting life, which I would consider to be the true Good life.
However, lately I have begun to realize the importance of understanding ones own self within the context of living selflessly. I understand that this might seem contradictory. Although focusing internally might take away from altruism initially, having a clear understanding of both your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to adapt your behaviors and thoughts accordingly. With a detailed knowledge of your predispositions in life, you will be able to combat the patterns that are detrimental to your life while increasing and maintaining those which help you to lead a Good life.
Lastly, I think it is necessary to have a strong consistency between what you believe about yourself, the world, others, and God and the behaviors you manifest. It would be, in my opinion, near impossible to lead a Good life that is filled with cognitive dissonance and gaps between ideology and action. As the Bible says, “Faith without works is useless”. Whether you are of the Christian faith or any other belief system, dissonance between attitudes and behaviors will cause you enough discomfort, frustration, and self-hindrance to prevent a truthfully satisfying life.

Carter Wells's Comment Archive

  1. Carter Wells on Third Force Psychology
    2:26 pm, 04.23.13

    I think this is an important shift in clinical psychology. Historically those with psychological abnormalities (or in humanistic terms: radical realities that are still truthful and acceptable) were treated as burden and obstruction to society. However, with Rogerian therapy, we are no longer seeking to “fix people” but rather to help people adjust their perspectives to those of the people around them.

  2. Carter Wells on Blog Post #6
    2:23 pm, 04.23.13

    I like that you incorporated a social media cite in your post. Due to the anonymity, I think the internet in general reflects this movement as people are allowed to express their individuality without the fear of direct social repercussions. It also allows for unlimited customization of media and ideas, creating a massive wave of diversification and individuation.

  3. Carter Wells on Blog post 5
    11:30 pm, 04.12.13

    I find it incredible that psychoanalytic principles have spread as rapidly as they have. While we may not be ruling the world as psychologists, psychoanalysis represents the very real and powerful impact that psychology has on the way society thinks about existence, behavior, and the mind. I like the ice burg analogy, because we did not truly realize how complex and strong our automated thoughts and processes are until psychologists began to explore the subconscious mind.

  4. Carter Wells on Blog Post 5
    11:23 pm, 04.12.13

    It’s definitely true that psychoanalysis has become the most recognizable form of psychology and easily the greatest form of “pop psychology”. Even without actual representations of psychoanalysis in movies and TV, the jargon of psychoanalytic thought has permeated through. We often hear things like terms such as repressed feelings, anger displacement, and projection to describe the why behind actions and behaviors. I’m not entirely sure people truly grasp the depth and pertinence of these concepts, but they have become a part of our language and understanding of behavior, whether you are psychology student or not.

  5. Carter Wells on Behaviorism
    5:46 pm, 04.02.13

    There is one thing that truly worries me while watching this show: if so many people struggle to discipline and teach their dogs, how many more struggle with similar principles in raising a child. Now, I surely don’t think humans are as condition-able or as simplistic spiritually, cognitively, or behaviorally as a dog (or any other animal for that matter). However, it is a simple and inarguable truth that there is validity and reliability to behavioral principles. They are scientifically proven. I strongly believe behaviorism should be taught in our nation’s primary education systems rather than being reserved for collegiate level students. Parents who struggle to control their kids can utilize similar methods to peacefully, permanently change behavior and form powerful emotional bonds while doing so. We might not be able to change society as a whole like the commune discussed in class seeks to do, but we can definitely alter the faulty correctional methods and education offered to children in certain homes (and some much needed relief to the parents as well).

  6. I remember during a lecture in my persuasion course sophomore year when I realized that all of advertising is either priming or conditioning. I think far too often our automatic processing recognizes beauty, happiness, and popularity as positive rewards and desires to engage in that behavior without us even realizing it. After taking that persuasion course, I was a much more conscientious consumer. When I saw something that I wanted, I often asked myself why. Most of the time, I didn’t really have a firm answer…I just wanted it. I wonder how much of this can be attributed to free associations with positive rewards that we intake from advertising.

  7. In my original post, I discussed how easily our culture ignores the origins of our worldview. This is especially true for Islamic philosophers, prophets, and scholars. We spend so much times studying westernized philosophy and history, that we are blind to the fact that forward thinkers across the globe were proposing similar ideas and posing similar questions.
    Although we have core beliefs that divide and polarize our cultures, as humans, we all deal with questions such as these, and your post provided a perspective that many, myself included, often fail to consider.

  8. Carter Wells on Blog 2
    11:05 pm, 02.01.13

    I am definitely not an expert on feministic movements, so I found these quotes and ideas to be very interesting. Because women were devalued in our culture for so long, it is interesting to see that there were advocates of gender equality in early philosophy and politics (regardless of their effectiveness). If nothing else, one of the greatest minds in recorded history had the foresight to separate ability and gender. I’m sure, like most of his philosophy, this claim fell under harsh scrutiny, by the academics and politicians of the time, but without vocalizing ideas that contrast social paradigms such as gender equality, progress will not be made. Therefore, I definitely agree that his ideas about females helped society to move past the norms that prevented advancement. While we have not reached equilibrium, radical thinkers such as Plato have given us stepping stones towards equality.

  9. Carter Wells on Blog 1: "The Good Life"
    4:39 pm, 01.21.13

    I like that your definition of the good life involves seeing past materialism and surface level perceptions to the core of existence: joy, growth, personal identity, the value of others.

    I agree that making the best of bad situations is important, but I also feel suffering and mishaps are an incredible piece to our story. Just like the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, we often do not realize the beauty and joy we have in those around us and the experiences we have obtained until we are faced with suffering, loss, and despair. These mishaps and tragedies strengthen our relationships, identity, and faith; therefore, I believe that although we should bring positivity from negative events, negative events and our resiliency as individuals helps us to build towards the good life.
    A man named Fyodor Dostoevsky is quoted saying, “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. Great men (or women, I don’t think he was very p.c.) must, I think, have great sadness on Earth.”

  10. Ana,
    I too believe that the good life involves a strong sense of personal identity and direction. As humans, we need to have a firm grasp of ourselves and both our potential and need for personal growth. I like that you included the idea that we must develop ourselves through increasing our understanding of all people and cultures. As a member of a disconnected (ironically, since we communicate more easily than ever) generation, I think it is important to learn about different mindsets, lifestyles, and belief systems in order to grow within yourself and in order for our generation to make a large-scale impact on the future.
    I agree with your sentiments that an elderly person would have a much different idea of the good life. I think that growing as an individual and expanding your understanding of the world is a large part of the good life for our age group, and once we have completed that, I think leaving a positive mark on the world and society will be highly significant to our definition. It is my opinion that the latter will not be possible without properly achieving the first portion of a good life.