The establishment of modern psychology was steady and diverse since many scholars and philosophers contributed to this process. Brinkmann (2011) paid attention to two faces of psychology, stating that on the one hand, it includes therapeutic narratives, and, on the other hand, it also involves quantitative experiments. Before the 18th century, there was no psychological domain in science, and all phenomena were attributed to theological, philosophical, or moral dimensions. Rousseau and Hume were the main scholars who promoted the rise of psychologization, which was based on introducing the experimental method of reasoning, while previous theories focused on God, mind, and nature (Brinkmann, 2011). Namely, in the context of modernism, Hume referred to a person’s thoughts, values, and meanings to explain the psychology and its impact on society. As a representative of romanticism, Rousseau presented an innovative method of reflecting on self, such as autobiography, which implied the transition from the theocentric view to the anthropocentric one.
Relating the views of Hume and Rousseau to modern psychology, it is possible to state that people began perceiving the world in psychological terms. The social imagery that was developed by the mentioned philosophers shaped the basis for understanding that a person subjectively adds value to society. Hume and Rousseau psychologized morality and politics, setting the scene for using social instruments for the needs of individuals. This theme is also discussed in The Century of the Self – Part 1: “Happiness Machines” by Curtis and British Broadcasting Corporation, where Freud’s ideas were introduced in practice as public relations profession by Bernays (JustAdamCurtis, 2002). Namely, the video clarifies how Bernays manipulated the masses by causing the sense of the need to purchase constantly. Building on people’s unconscious desires, erotization, and other ideas of Freud, American corporations learned how to make the masses buy products and services they did not need. Accordingly, the discovery of the subconscious side of the human mind changed the world.
The all-around nature of psychology is noted by Rose (1996), who aimed to review the development of the psychological domain. The author stated that many spheres of life are increasingly considered from the point of psychology, including pedagogy, politics, family, law, workplace, and so on. To explain the functioning of these areas, people use psychological evaluations, strategies, and experts. The application of psychology was preceded by the expansion of ideas and theories through investigation and experiments. This resonates with The Century of the Self – Part 1, where Bernays experimented with convincing women that smoking is a sign of freedom, and this test was successful (JustAdamCurtis, 2002). According to the views of Bernays, the triumph of the self is a genuine expression of a democratic society.
The authority of ethicalization is also discussed by Rose (1996) in terms of psychological expertise. On the one hand, it offers people a set of tasks and tests to evaluate their personalities and relationships. On the other hand, it gives consultants and authorities power from making profits to leading military forces. The psychological expertise allows for establishing trustful relationships and relying on another person. For example, it can be observed in families, management, social work, and so on. The rituals and patterns of psychological expertise help to understand each other and contribute to social transformation. Also, the author added that the discipleship between people and those who consult them shapes the basis of their interactions.
Brinkmann, S. (2011). The psychological social imaginary. In Psychology as a moral science: Perspectives on normativity (pp. 17-38). Springer.
JustAdamCurtis. (2002). The Century of the Self – Part 1: “Happiness Machines” [Video]. YouTube. Web.
Rose, N. (1996). Expertise and the techne of psychology. In Inventing our selves: Psychology, power and personhood (pp. 81-100). Cambridge University Press.