Pop Psychology’s Logic of Control

All too often in television, movies, and even the ‘news’ media, people analyze other people and ‘solve’ them from a distance. TV shows like House and other dramas thrive on the characters’ attempts to analyze someone’s mind, even someone they may have just met. These characters on the tube claim to know what someone else is thinking. In short, they seem to have a trans-finite view of reality to the extent that they are able to see what could not be seen. They project and apparently, by their accounts, they’re right. Today, no longer is everyone simply a critic, everyone is a certified psychoanalyst.

Through this relational politics of prescience, we seem to know the deepest parts of a person. Or at least we act like we do. However, I would argue that we do not because we are finite. And yet, insomuch that we act like we know the depths of another human being, as described above, we act like we then possess that person — they are figured out and can now be manipulated, used, employed, or simply dominated. In our way of relating to one another, we have turned each other into domesticated pets and farm animals.

This is, at its most fundamental level, a problematic conception power and who other people are, and therefore a problematic understanding of relationships. Unfortunately this prescience is a problem that I’ve seen lived out in the real world, and even by myself I must admit. I am also becoming suspicious that this notion of control radiates out from the bourgeois structure that Metz is so critical of, teaching everyone to possess other people. Perhaps this is how we learn it now?

This should scare us.


3 thoughts on “Pop Psychology’s Logic of Control

  1. Halden says:

    Have you seen the new show “Lie to Me”? It is exactly like what you’ve described, perhaps more so than any other show I can think of. It centers on a private investigative firm that specializes in detecting deception through being able to see and analyze “micro-expressions” which betray emotion and indicate when people are lying. The show pretty much always centers on you wondering if the protagonist (super genius deception detector boss guy) is really in control of everything or not. And of course he always is.

    • Yeah, I’ve seen Lie to Me. I was thinking of that show too when I wrote this. I almost made a list, but then I figured I’d have to put in more time than I have if I were to do that. House and Lie to Me are simply on the extreme end — most shows are guilty of this.

  2. Pingback: That Logic of Psycho-Control « flying.farther

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