志闲少欲,心安不惧 泛中医论坛

Psychology can only solve some problems.

Recently, I've been reading "Talking about Problems (Single Reading 33) - Wu Qi" (, which is very informative and has a lot of valuable information. I've already read two chapters, one of which is "Dai Jinhua Flame and Black Hole - How Media Changes and How It Changes Us". It mainly talks about the media, and I will share my reading notes on this topic in the future.

Today, I want to write about another chapter, "Cui Qinglong How to Stay Optimistic in the Age of Descent". There is a paragraph in it that overlaps with a podcast I listened to before (Episode 66 of "Various Stops" - "Are Young People Trapped in Kong Yiji's Robe? Let's Talk about the 'Educational Society'"). So, I will write about them together.

First, let me quote the paragraph below. If you think it's too long, you can directly read the summary below.

Luo: If we say that this general depression is a real problem, as you mentioned earlier, it is influenced by complex social structural changes. In this case, what can psychology do? What can't it do? For example, I have seen a saying that psychology may provide a lot of descriptive and explanatory tools. With the help of the concepts, theories, and even methods it provides, we can analyze the root causes of our problems. But many times, it seems to stop there, and it cannot help us further solve the problem. Where are the effectiveness and limitations of psychology? What can and cannot be done by psychological counselors?
Cui: In the past two years, there has been a growing feeling that it seems that psychology is expected to answer all macro-level problems. I don't think psychology has such strong regulatory power within the macro system. On the contrary, I think it is a maintainer of the social end system, which triggers people's general attention to certain issues at this level. In response to changes in environmental parameters, psychology can only respond, not answer. I have done many interviews before and answered many questions, but if you look closely, it is no longer just within the scope of psychology. It is my personal understanding of the laws of the world's operation by incorporating a person's psychological state into the framework of sociology and economics. It is not even an explanation, just an understanding. If I can influence something through such a dialogue, I hope people can understand that the things we all think are right, that radical materialism, can in many cases long-term damage a person's psychological well-being, and even the psychological well-being of everyone.
So what can psychology do? Many psychologists are quietly contributing in their own research fields or counseling rooms. They have done many remarkable things in their vertical fields. However, not everyone has the opportunity to access these resources and services. Unless most of us can be covered by this care and service, which is economically unrealistic. Therefore, we need a kind of popular psychology in terms of dissemination, which can regulate the emotions of the general public in a broad sense and increase the possibility of self-understanding. For example, when I post on Weibo every day, many people do feel comforted, and comfort is a kind of value, or more precisely, it is emotional regulation. Each of us needs the ability to regulate our own emotions because our emotions are disturbed by some uncertain things every day. If emotions cannot be regulated for a long time, they will become problems or illnesses. In fact, all psychological problems are the result of accumulation. So you see, I didn't give advice, didn't guide, or even preach. I'm just describing a psychological reality, but many people have feelings about this kind of narration itself. This is what I used to call "psychological oxygen". Self-psychologists call it self-object experience or intimate self-object experience, which is the feeling of sharing a certain experience with another person of the same kind. This feeling can help a person understand and accept their own experience.
Then there is individual psychotherapy, which corresponds to the topic we discussed earlier. You said that many people have something in their hearts that they cannot speak out. I think the most basic value provided by counselors is to listen without judgment. This kind of listening allows a person to share their deepest emotions and hidden feelings that are difficult to share with others. The inability to share emotions has a great impact on a person's mental health. If there is a place where you can speak out, it is already very helpful for many people and has a cathartic effect. Freud and Breuer once explored the case of a patient named Anna O., who had severe neurotic symptoms. The counselor didn't do much, just listened to her talk frequently, and her symptoms gradually disappeared. I said it is the most basic value because psychological counseling is not just about listening, but also about responding, understanding, and interpreting. These are the things that visitors need most for their mental health and growth, but they are difficult to find for many people in reality.
On a macro level, I think psychologists can't do much. As I said before, when a society has problems and people are generally affected by negative emotions, more sociologists or anthropologists may be needed to re-optimize it at the architectural level. At this time, even a slight change at the macro level may help individuals get rid of a lot of unnecessary burdens. In this sense, their role may be greater. If their role is reduced, there will be a need for many people to patch up. Why do people say that counselors are popular now? It means that there are more and more places that need to be patched up. This is a low-efficiency task, and it should be improved by both sides to achieve better results.

In summary, this Q&A session tells us that the role of psychology is to adjust our reactions to problems, but it cannot solve the problems themselves. For example, when facing an exam, one can calmly prepare and review steadily, or one can panic and procrastinate. If the problem is too big, no matter how we adjust our mindset, it may not help. For example, if we usually reserve a month for revision, but suddenly the final exam is moved up to tomorrow and the difficulty is increased, no matter how we adjust our mindset, our exam results will not be high.

Next, let's talk about this podcast. Below is the official introduction and main content of the episode. I recommend listening to it before reading this article. If you don't want to listen, you can directly read the summary below.

"Kong Yiji" in Lu Xun's works suddenly became a hot topic. First, some young people who had difficulty finding jobs lamented, "Education is not only a stepping stone but also a high platform that I can't come down from, and a robe that I can't take off." It is said that "the youth does not know Kong Yiji, but understands him through books." This statement also resonated with netizens, and many people self-deprecatingly compared themselves to Kong Yiji. This kind of self-comparison is a common emotional release on the Internet. However, as we analyzed in the episode "Narrating Hardship," the mainstream media quickly stepped in and launched a condescending criticism and preaching of netizens' self-deprecation. They said things like "contemporary ambitious young people will never be trapped in robes" and "we can only truly run when we take off the 'robe' of ideology." These statements sparked heated discussions.
In this episode, we start from the historical background of Lu Xun's creation of "Kong Yiji" and discuss the formation and dilemma of the educational society and "educational inflation". In today's society, where labeling is prevalent, pathological myths of getting rich overnight (such as side jobs that earn a certain amount of money per day) are popular. However, under the premise of imperfect social bottom and guarantee mechanisms, these myths cannot be a good remedy for relieving employment pressure. Education is an indispensable part of the "trust system" in modern society. However, educational inflation is an inevitable trend in an educational society, but simply encouraging everyone to "take off the robe" without reflecting on systemic issues such as university education and social security is not helpful in solving the problem.
| Speakers
Daniu, Xiaobox
| Timeline

  1. Controversy and social background
    03:10 The mainstream media, which has always been condescending, "flips over" again?
    09:33 The training we received from childhood to "criticize the old society" is now pointing to the present
    13:30 Kong Yiji is a sacrifice in the transition between the old and the new era and a mirror reflecting social pathology
    19:46 Taking off the robe is not something you can do just by wanting to do it. Physical limitations are difficult to overcome
    25:46 In today's "material abundance," anxiety about social material conditions is increasing day by day
    32:50 What we need is not "get-rich-quick myths," but a safety net and guarantee
  2. Educational society and "educational inflation"
    36:24 The development needs of modern society make education a convenient label for evaluating others
    44:57 Education is an indispensable "qualification" in the social trust system
    51:20 Philosopher Robert M. Pirsig: People are not unaware of the fulfillment and happiness of physical labor, but they are worried about the lack of life security
    57:25 If the pursuit of education is inevitable, at least strive to improve the education methods and training mechanisms

This Q&A session and the podcast made me realize that the belief that "adjusting your mindset can solve everything" is an illusion. While it is true that individuals can overcome challenges, it is not the case for everyone. As an ordinary person, I need to adjust my internal mindset and acknowledge external factors. In some situations, adjusting myself can work, but in others, it may not be enough.

At first, I felt a bit pessimistic upon realizing this, but then I thought that I should focus on doing what I can do. Fate plays a role, but hard work is also important.

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