Psychology: The Most Powerful Science on Earth
“Bah,” you scoff. “Psychology? Powerful? Yeah right! What could possibly be scary about a bunch of old Harvard guys sitting around discussing how my fear of lizards is related to some insatiable childhood craving for my mom’s nonexistent cock?”
We understand. When people think about psychology, they usually imagine a bearded German guy listening to someone sit on a couch and cry about their childhood while he scribbles notes on a pad. Every problem is caused by childhood traumas and abandonment issues. A dream about a floating turkey head pecking out your ball-hairs is an indication that you’re bored with your job. In reality, therapy is just one aspect of psychology, and some of the others are so ball-shrivelingly powerful that you may need some therapy yourself.
Why it’s Powerful:
If you’re reading this right now, chances are you’re doing it from a cubicle. Look out at the office floor. Chances are that you are working in a seemingly endless sea of cubicles. Why do companies design their office buildings like this, knowing how soul-crushingly depressed it makes all of their employees? Because of psychology.
There’s an entire field dedicated to designing the workplace for maximum productivity. Industrial-organizational psychologists work for big companies across the world, doing stuff like planning training programs and designing those delightful motivational exercises that you’re forced to endure. They’ve helped design new pay schemes to motivate workers to work harder. They’ve redesigned the work environment to root out distraction. Including, apparently, freedom, since these are the guys you can thank for your cubicles. They’re even behind stuff like content-control software that blocks “unproductive” websites within the office. In other words, they use psychology to manipulate you into working your ass off… without you realizing it.
Pictured: An industrial-organizational psychologist
You know what other industry employs a lot of people with psychology degrees? Advertising. All those commercials that you TiVo over have been painstakingly designed in the penthouses of New York City advertising companies, with a bunch of guys in suits coming up with ways to manipulate you into buying their crap. And hey, it works.
It turns out businesses manipulate their environment to make you want to buy stuff. Who do you think came up with that? Psychologists. And politicians hire psychologists to design those godawful ads we all get flooded with on election season.
Neuropsychologists have singled out the physiological changes within people’s brains that cause positive and negative emotions. And hell, they’ve created pills that can make you feel happy on cue just by changing up your brain chemistry. Some guys even plugged a bunch of wires into a rat’s brain and used electrical stimulation to move them like remote-controlled toys. The army is using them to find (and, oftentimes, accidentally set off) mines.
Why it’s Horrifying:
The only big problem with psychology is that so much of it is theoretical. Hell, it’s only been around as a science since 1871. Most of what we know now was found through experimentation and research, and a lot of it hasn’t really been tested in reality. Even more has been proven utterly, retardedly wrong. Ahem, Freud.
“It’s all penises.”
Remember all the panic with subliminal advertising? Today most people know that it’s bullshit, but it’s not like companies didn’t try. Hell, if you could use magic flashing words to get people to buy your products, wouldn’t you? The only thing stopping McDonald’s from buying ad space on Heidi Montag’s tits and flashing giant Ms on them throughout every episode of The Hills is that it doesn’t work.
But one day, they’ll find something that will. Psychology is one of the fastest-growing sciences in the world, and guess what its biggest subfield is: research. Labs and universities across the world are doing thousands of experiments every year, broadening psychology’s knowledge base. Most of them are bullshit. A few are freaking revolutionary.
What are we going to do when some guy actually finds a way to make subliminal advertising work? Nothing, that’s what. We’ll see commercials that will inexplicably make us crave the special edition DVD set of Twilight, and we’ll have no idea why. The most conservative Christian in America will go out and vote for a retired gay porn star and think that he’s making the best decision on Earth. We won’t be able to do anything to stop it, because we’ll have no idea that it’s happening.
Hell, it could be happening right now. You could be breathing in thousands of psychiatric drugs released into the air to make you think that you’re sitting in a comfortable bed and eating a bowl of delicious ice cream, when in reality you’re sleeping in the streets and eating gruel. Bullshit, you say? We already have antidepressants, which are essentially pills that manipulate our brains into happiness. Who is to say they won’t discover how to manipulate us further? And if there is a way, why wouldn’t they (the government, the corporations, some supervillain) use it?
One day, your creepy Psych101 professor will be slowly, carefully manipulating every single aspect of your life.