How a dialogue with the humanities can enrich psychological science


From Psychology Today: “Outside of the field of psychology, many are discussing the stark decline of the humanities. In a society that values more and more the utilitarian assumption that the worth of human life can be measured by what one produces, feelings of despair, loneliness, and insignificance are understandably on the rise. If psychology is going to fulfill its promise to help those suffering from the symptoms brought on by our cultural and spiritual malaise, it must reinvigorate the very resources our culture is ready to abandon.

There is no drug capable of curing an existential crisis, but beautiful art and great literature can express it. No statistical analysis explains our social and political ennui, but the best philosophies help us see beneath it. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) says nothing about our moral and spiritual longings, but the great religions and wisdom traditions were made to voice them.

Now is the time for psychology to resituate itself as the place where all disciplines that deal with suffering, identity, and the experience of the human condition meet. Only psychology in both dialogue and contention with the greatest works of human intellectual and artistic achievement can hope to address the crises of today and envision a more vibrant tomorrow (Freeman, 2023).”

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