Rewriting Psychology: An Abysmal Science?

Rewriting Psychology: An Abysmal Science?

by David Y. F. Ho


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Of what use is psychology if it does not help to solve the pressing problems of the day at the individual and collective levels? This is no less a pointed question to the reader as it is to the author that sets the stage for an adventurous sharing of ideas. The author shies away from providing ready-made answers but spares no effort in stirring the reader to ponder questions about human nature and behavior. Soon, the reader will react with the exclamation, “Ah, this book is about me, useful to my life!” In this way, the book serves to bridge the gap between academia and the general public.

As the reader may well expect, bold assertions may be found throughout this volume. For instance, Piaget’s stage of formal operations does not represent the final or highest level of cognitive development; rather, dialectical thinking is the apex of human cognition. Viewpoints may be controversial, such as cautioning against importing Confucian education into America; the possibility that madness may enrich your life; raising the question if Trump is immoral, mentally deranged, or both.

The present offering is at once audacious and provocative: Having raised the question about the abysmal status of psychology, the author feels compelled to take on the challenge of rewriting an academic discipline. The reader is invited to consider new visions for psychology’s future development, both scientific and practical. Fresh materials or distinctive features seldom found elsewhere are presented: the author’s “secret thoughts” and self-revelations; a discussion on the birth of evil and reinterpretation of the fall of humankind. All these expand the traditional boundaries of psychology and bring it closer to be a science relevant to the human condition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781627347181
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 332
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Professor David Y. F. Ho, the pioneer psychologist who introduced clinical psychology into Hong Kong, has held professorial appointments in psychology and humanities in Asia and North America. He has had extensive multicultural experiences as a consultant and clinical practitioner. Professor Ho has authored numerous scholarly contributions in psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and education. He was the first Asian to serve as President of the International Council of Psychologists (1988-1989).

Table of Contents

Part 1 Psychology immersed in peoples’ lives 1

1.1 Reinventing psychology to “serve the people”: Is psychology an abysmal science? 3

1.2 Of what use is psychology to political science? 15

1.3 Slavery and colonialism: Evils of a bygone age? 21

1.4 Lying, lie detection, and mind reading: What would a world without

lies be like? 25

1.5 I saw it with my own eyes: How trustworthy is eyewitness evidence? 31

1.6 Love, sex, and marriage 37

1.7 You may interpret your own dreams 43

Part 2 Cognition: What makes humans human 49

2.1 Dialectical thinking is the pinnacle of human cognition 51

2.2 Dialectics of thought and action: A general method for problem solving 59

2.3 What the qualities and capabilities make us human? 67

2.4 On humanhood: When the demarcation between humans and

robots is blurred 75

Part 3 Education 83

3.1 Knowledge is a dangerous thing: Authority relations and ideological

conservatism in Confucian-heritage cultures 85

3.2 Myths and realities in Confucian-heritage education 93

3.3 The pains and rewards of Confucian-heritage education 103

3.4 Pressure cooker education: Social Darwinism and status ranking in Asia 113

3.5 Contradictions in the promotion of creativity: Are Asians less

creative than Westerners? 119

3.6 Teachers, good and bad: How good teachers teach creatively 127

3.7 Why aren’t there more world-class universities in China? 139

3.8 The politics of education: My secret thoughts, until now 147

Part 4 Madness, religion, and spirituality 157

4.1 The pitfalls of psychiatric diagnosis: Is Trump immoral, mentally

deranged, or both? 159

4.2 Madness may enrich your life: A self-study of 20 episodes of exuberance,

none of depression 167

4.3 Madness as creative energy: Self-observations during episodes of

unipolar mood elevation 173

4.4 Madness, violence, and human dignity: Transforming madness for

dignified existence 185

4.5 Psychopathology of religious luminaries: Are madness and evil necessarily

connected? 191


Spirituality and spiritual emptiness: Toward ecumenicity and

transcultural applicability 197

4.7 A guide to spiritual self-evaluation 209

4.8 Descent into Hell: A dialogue between Jesus and Lucifer 221

4.9 Lucifer’s brief: An interlocution about his charges and defense 229

Part 5 Psychology applied to enhance the quality of life 239

5.1 Counseling demystified 241

5.2 Basic communicating and counseling skills for healthcare practitioners 249

5.3 Dialogical Action Therapy: Principles 257

5.4 Dialogical Action Therapy: Strategies 267

5.5 Therapeutic intervention for families in distress 275

5.6 Crisis intervention: From traumatization to psychological growth 287

5.7 Coping with life’s misfortunes: Forbearance and meaning reconstruction 297

5.8 A clarion call to action: Instill hope, combat despair and alienation 307

5.9 Forgiveness as therapy 315

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