Friday, May 31, 2013

Geeky Joke

Reaching for a $10 bill
I sense most of my readers will have a humanities-oriented style of thinking and learning, so I may be skating on the proverbial thin ice with this jab, but here it goes.
(Background: a regression is a computer-done math equation created out of a set of data which gives you numbers determining how important certain factors are called "coefficients" and relegates the rest to test controls)
My friend and I were discussing the madness that is psychiatry, as opposed to psychology, which is a serious field of study. We debated if you could quantify Sigmund Freud's theories, as you can quantify any serious scientific theory. For those unaware, Freud formulated his theories based on his time working as a shrink/earpiece for sexually deprived, upper-class Austrian housewives (for whom Freud commonly prescribed cocaine). Hardly a reasonable sample size. The "control group" for experimenting with Freud's theories would be the rest of the human population. My friend and I concluded that were one to create a controlled study and run a regression to test Freud's theory Oedipus theory, one would find that after accounting for socioeconomic status, for cocaine use, and for boredom, the coefficient on Sexual Yearning for One's Mother is zero. Neither positive, nor negative. A big fat zero. No impact, up or down. It is nonsense and does not exist—except for perhaps a few very unusual individuals.
Perhaps I am too critical of old Sigmund, but I feel immediate suspicion of any idea that derives from the German-speaking world. It seems as though every bad idea either originates from or makes a long-term stop in that part of central Europe: fascism, beer, Marxism, sausages, Protestantism, and, worst of all, Wagner. I believe it was Winston Churchill who once said "Wagner's music is not as bad as it sounds." Still, that part of the world gave us Mozart, Beethoven, and other contributors to the arts. Maybe the Rad Trad ought to lighten up and Dora again. Or maybe not.
Time for some Beethoven.

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