The Mongol Analogy
Clinical psychology is mainly tasked with changing the way an individual perceives their environment to maximize opportunities for good feelings. How a psychologist approaches a client’s dissatisfaction depends on the environment. For example, a psychologist in the United States is going to guide an individual down a path that creates opportunities for positive stimulation or avoiding negative stimulation. It is a process of persuading a person to adopt the dominant values of the society. If there were clinical psychologists like the ones that exist today seeing people in a society like the Mongols, their research would do the same thing there then, as it does here now, but therapy would not cause Mongols to adopt the values and behavior of US citizens.
A Mongol visits a Mongol psychologist because he’s having problems at work that are affecting his life in other areas. He likes riding his horse, killing his enemies, and plundering, but he doesn’t like raping, and it is affecting him socially. The other Mongols notice he doesn’t rape women who resist, and they joke and make fun of him because of it. The clinician’s first rule is the environment is static, her client can only control what he thinks, what he feels, and what he does. The issue is he doesn’t like raping, but rape is a valued act in the Mongol society, meaning he either has to figure out why he doesn’t like raping so he can rape and lead a normal life, or he has to figure out how to be less sensitive about the teasing.
If Mongol psychology was 140 years old the clinician may have a big book of disorders. Mongols who don’t rape are sensitive to criticism, less ambitious for conquest, have an aversion to torture, and who are envious of others suffer from a disorder identified in the book. Research has shown that Mongols who suffer from this disorder tended to have good relationships with their mothers as children, had difficulties developing relationships with males, had female friends, cared for animals, lacked a strong male role model, and Mongol psychology reasons that these experiences cause the problems later in life that represent this disorder, because the individual develops empathy elevating the value of others too near to himself.
The Mongol psychologist will probably begin asking questions about the Mongol’s life, can he tell her about any other times where he was teased or criticized besides incidents where he was teased about not raping? How does he feel about conquest and where does he see himself in 5 years in the ranks of the Mongol forces? Does he take part in torturing? Can he remember any incidents where he felt he was more deserving of what someone else had? If there is a pattern of at least 3 of these behaviors he qualifies as having this disorder.
Next the psychologist will ask questions about his childhood to establish the relationship factors associated with the disorder. If these relationships are present in his past there is probably already a wealth of research related to strategies for treating the disorders, points of reasoning the clinician can guide the Mongol to understand, by asking questions, which have been proven in most people suffering from the disorder to correct it.
In those who therapy isn’t effective for, there are exercises. One exercise that has proven effective for some Mongols suffering from this disorder, at least to correct the symptom of not enjoying the act of raping is to knock the victim unconscious first. Since this is the only symptom affecting this Mongol’s quality of life, it makes sense to take a symptomatic approach if therapy has failed. If knocking his victim unconscious doesn’t help him feel better about raping, the psychologist may refer him to a psychiatrist for medication. The psychiatrist may prescribe him medication to increase his libido which has proven to enable people who don’t like to rape, to rape.
Maybe the medication works, and the Mongol is now raping twice as many people as his fellow Mongols. In some cases, maybe the therapy combined with the experiences with the mediation addresses the disorder as he now has positive experiences that reinforce the reasoning gained through therapy. In others, the Mongol may discontinue medication and the symptoms may return.
If the symptoms return the psychologist has to change her approach, either some experimental therapy to treat the disorder, or causing the Mongol to become indifferent to the criticism of other Mongols because he doesn’t like the same things they like, like raping. If the Mongol cannot find peace in his aversion to rape and the social consequences, the psychologist will likely help the Mongol understand his values more thoroughly to consider a change of profession. Maybe he will become a messenger or something.
The point is, psychology is not studying the human mind, clinical psychology is studying how well the values and organization of society is accepted by the general population. In the previous analogy, why would not raping be viewed as a symptom of a disorder? Because people do what feels good to them and avoid what doesn’t feel good to them. Most Mongol men like raping, meaning for Mongols, rape is a behavior that makes human beings feel good. Therefore, if it causes a small percentage of the population to not feel good, this is a disorder.
Now imagine the whole world is Mongols, or the Mongols and competing nations and empires who possess the same values. How does psychology ever measure anything objective about human thoughts, feelings, and behavior? Clinical psychology in the United States is the same thing. It’s ultimately an effort to make you more like most of your neighbors and most of your co-workers who have better internalized the instilled values of the national indoctrination. Training you to feel better about your own life by causing you to like what most people like, which will create more opportunities socially, increase the quality of the opportunities through common values, as well allow you to find more pleasure in your day to day life as the organization of society is reflective of popular values; meaning things the individual used to find displeasure in, he may begin to find pleasure in.
To return to the Mongol analogy one more time, say this Mongol didn’t like to rape people because he understood it to be morally wrong, that it was against human interest to rape. If this Mongol understood the creation existed in liberty, and that creatures could be free so long as they weren’t imposed on physically and circumstantially; that human interaction between groups could be constructive instead of destructive, and through science, production, and opportunity, all people could have a better quality of life. Perhaps the Mongol had detailed plans for transforming something made bearable through the manipulation of values, into something where people had more opportunity, more means, and more time to be free, allowing for a greater diversity of value to exist without compromising an individual’s quality of life. A world where the interests of all people were represented in deciding matters of the state, and where all people had opportunities to participate in major decisions of production and had a stake in the prosperity of their economies. A world where truth was valued over conditioned values, allowing for meaningful communication to take place between groups and individuals, and ushering in an age of objectivity that will have a profound impact on human intelligence. Ideas for all that and more. What would the population think of this Mongol?
What’s wrong with him? The Mongol psychologist would say he suffers from a disorder brought on by his upbringing that causes him not to value what people value. Because he can’t come to terms with this, he seeks to change the world to accommodate his disorder. The explanation would be much more lengthy, but the point is, this Mongol would be a pariah among the population, and the population could be led to believe by pseudo-scientific research that he suffered from a disorder, because the research is not the measure of a disorder of the mind, but the failure of the individual’s values to be socially molded. To reiterate, clinical psychology is largely the measure of how well inherited values take root.