Rain Mason, PhD, BLM, ACAB 🦊 Profile picture
clinical psychologist ✨ magic ✨ divination ✨ animism ✨ psychoanalysis ✨ RSPM ✨ Hellenistic astrology ✨ poetry ✨ not actually a human, reborn as a wild fox
22 Nov
Stated disbelief in magic is “rational,” yet saying we're rational doesn’t make it so. Research shows that so-called irrational, magical thinking lurks right below the skeptical surface of the minds of Western individuals, ready to pop out under conditions of risk. 1/thread
Eugene Subbotsky & Graciela Quinteros (2002) performed two cross-cultural experiments to show how a person’s verbal beliefs come apart from their behavior. If a person says one thing but does another, it shows that their state belief does not deeply penetrate the mind. 2/27
In both experiments, Subbotsky & Quinteros compared British university students with rural Mexican participants, examining what they thought about and how they behaved in the face of unusual, apparently magical phenomena. 3/27
Read 28 tweets
21 Nov
Jung's personality typology uses a few basic concepts and principles to derive 16 personality ways of being in the world. Here, I sketch the conceptual building blocks of Jung’s model, focusing on the psychological functions of sensation, intuition, thinking, & feeling. 1/thread
In a previous thread I described Jung’s notions of extraversion and introversion. Extraverts tend to orient their energy to external objects, whereas introverts tend to orient their energy toward the archetypes those objects constellate. 2/26
To understand any phenomenon in the world, we need to know that it is, what it is, what it is worth to us, and its horizons/possibilities. These are the 4 functions, which Jung further subdivided into 2 categories of irrational and rational functions. 3/26
Read 29 tweets
18 Oct
Unconscious phenomena such as dreams and projective identification have long been seen as uncanny & strange—even paranormal. In this thread I explore the ambivalent ways that psychoanalysts have engaged with the occult and divination. To begin with, two quotations: 1/thread
“Have I given you the impression that I am secretly inclined to support the reality of telepathy in the occult sense? If so, I should very much regret that it is so difficult to avoid giving such an impression. In reality, however, I was anxious to be strictly impartial…” 2/49
“…I have every reason to be so, for I have no opinion; I know nothing about it” (Freud, 1922). “If I had my life to live over again I should devote myself to psychical research rather than to psychoanalysis” (Freud, quoted in Jones, 1957). Early in his career, Freud… 3/49
Read 53 tweets
3 Sep
Myers-Briggs (MBTI) types come under frequent criticism from skeptical rationalists. In this thread, I consider and respond some of those criticisms from the perspective of Jung’s theory of psychological types and try to contextualize the enduring interest in MBTI types. 1/thread
The MBTI is a test developed based on the ideas of Carl Jung, which derive primarily from his book Psychological Types. By returning to Jung’s work, we can enrich our understanding of the MBTI and think with greater nuance about its criticisms and its potential utility. 2/50
MBTI types are, like many personality tests, criticized for stereotyping people and putting humans into little boxes. Psychometrically, it’s been noted that MBTI traits are distributed continuously, with most scores falling into the middle rather than into discrete types. 3/50
Read 50 tweets
25 Jul
The myth of the mentally ill witch in textbooks of abnormal psychology: a thread on history, ideology, the status of the occult within clinical psychology, and why I am skeptical of psychology’s claim to place a premium on multicultural diversity. 1/25
Open any abnormal psychology textbook and a dozen or so pages into Chapter 1 you’re likely to encounter a story about how in the Middle Ages in Europe, superstition and demonology flourished, exorcism equaled treatment, and mentally ill women were persecuted as witches. 2/25
This “just so” story about the history of errors in psychopathology isn’t true, however. In 1984, Thomas Schoeneman tore it apart in a paper titled “The mentally ill witch in textbooks of abnormal psychology: Current status and implications of a fallacy.” 3/25
Read 26 tweets
26 Jun
1/ Although some diviners do tender conclusions purely on the basis of the rational symbolic significations of their divinatory system, any claim that this is the norm, let alone the only possibility, is ahistorical, culturally conditioned rasure the anthropological evidence.
2/ Historically and cross-culturally, divination is foremost a cultural-religious practice that becomes meaningful against a backdrop of cosmological beliefs. It is not, however, an irrational process, but a complex practice of meaning-making, rather than an abdication of reason.
3/ The Syrian philosopher Iamblichus distinguished inspired divination from inductive divination. Inspired divination encompasses dreams, oracles, visions, and mania/enthusiasm: forms of divination seen as direct communications from gods to human beings.
Read 20 tweets
10 May
How academic psychology tries (and fails) to dunk on astrology, a thread. 1/
The root of the problem is a construct called “magical thinking” that developmental psychologists like Piaget used to describe children’s propensity to see relationships between objects in events in non-causal terms, to ascribe mental states to objects, etc. 2/
“Magical thinking” got broadened over time to mean belief in or tendency to ascribe “non-standard” causality to events. The content of beliefs psychologists label as magical roughly centers on the anomalous, paranormal, superstitious, and sometimes the religious. 3/
Read 26 tweets