A beautiful bastard

“Psychology – like Psyche – is a beautiful bastard. It promises much to young students who specialize in it. Yet at its heart it has been eternally homeless. It has tried to locate its parents in physiology, physics, or even in art – to be rebuffed by all these alleged parents as either not solid enough – or not sufficiently beautiful. So it continues to wander in the World – between societies – looking for its place. At times it finds a temporary place where there is some ideological order for its products – like tests or ways to re-direct blame for various actions between groups in a society. Yet such applied success – selling one’s actions while hiding one’s soul – does not lead to the latter’s discovery of its own identity, unsuccessfully sought after in Pavlov’s dogs, Skinner’s rats, or (currently) in fMRI pictures.”

—Jaan Valsiner and Alberto Rosa, from Chapter 1 of The Cambridge Handbook of Sociocultural Psychology