Rectifying “Is Psychology a science?”

A reply to Gregg Henriques on the Psychology Today site.  Gregg is perhaps the most recent modern deep public thinker on psychology.

Mishal, is on the right track.
[quote=Anonymous]Psychology is a social science.. It is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes…[/quote]

What the 1800s called “psychology” and put on the Procrustean Bed of “hard” science, is more coherently conceived of as a distinct, separate Order of Science; which, overlaps with two other Orders.

Since 2014 we’re exploring and expanding Goethean Holistic Science. In Goethe’s solution to the aging “one Science to rule them all” paradigm, “hard” science, exclusively external, five-sensory science describes a large fraction of Second Order Science.

This is workable science Without it, no indoor hot water and no toilets. The science of Galileo, Descartes and Newton primarily (overwhelmingly) limits its purview to Second Order Science.

Mishal intuits correctly what we call “psychology” is a fundamentally different realm of observation, exploration and experiment. Why? Because subjective thinking, feeling and the irrational are validated as real here IN THE DOMAIN of primarily ONE PERSON AT A TIME. This is First Order science.

Q: Why does Second Order “hard” science keep fighting with First Order psychology?

A: Because the Three Orders of Science are a circle.

Psychology keeps reminding Second Order scientists they are avoiding, denying and suppressing Third OrderScience, the science of the moral and ethical consequences of our choices, actions and experiments–for the next seven generations on Spaceship Earth.

The paychecks of most Second Order scientists are signed by corporations or the military, Foundations and university research funded by corporations and the military.

The corporations especially pay their scientists NOT to report on the moral and ethical consequences of research and new inventions. Why? Because serious consideration of the moral and ethical consequences of our choices, actions and experiments, for the next seven generations CAN INTERFERE WITH PROFITS AND STOCK VALUE. All sorts of real costs get “outsourced” to the public and to the Commons.

Returning to Psychology, far fewer psychologists are employed by corporations and the military. They therefore feel more free to raise issues of harm to the next seven generations; thereby, making themselves unpopular with corporate-military-funded hard scientists.

Back to the topic of Gregg’s piece, “Is psychology a science?’ The answer is “yes AND its distinct from external “hard science” AND it appears only a new science framework, with Goethe’s Three Orders of Science, is capable rhetorically to rectify, logic and coherence here.  The “rhetorical bandwith” of Second Order Science was exceeded in the 1970s.  Goethean Holistic Science gives us more bandwith to discuss the moral and ethical consequences of our choices and experiments.

If you have a better idea, let’s hear it.
To Learn More

Goethe was an iNtuitive Feeler, a big part of his relevance today

Goethe remains one of the more remarkable throw-forwards of the 1700s. The historical “Romantic period” and the early German Romantics, were all characterized by deeper, more sensitive iNtuitive Feeling. In modern terms we would say they were among the first Cultural Creatives. Cultural Creatives are largely characterized by iNtuitive Feeling values.

What are iNtuitive Feeling values? These are well-characterized by the people in the USA, during the Trumpism moment, protesting against Trumpism, calling to, “Make America KIND again.”

Many Cultural Creatives are also iNtuitive Thinkers; yet, whose values are aligned with INF values–but I digress.

Carl Jung spent much time thinking about Goethe’s personal typology, article HERE

“Jung on Goethe’s Type in 1921: Both INFJ and ENFJ”

What Jung was perhaps too early for was the idea of “learned extravert.” G’s career biography strongly suggests he was a learned extravert. This means his type was more introverted AND THEN life circumstances led him to develop more extraverted capacity secondarily.

In the most modern form of MBTI I know, this suggests XNFJ for Goethe. He had close to a 50-50 balance of introvert~extravert.

Goethe was among the first highly developed, public NFs.  Since iNtuitive Feeling values are still in the future for the majority of people in 2018, this suggests again how Goethe’s ideas has continued relevance.

In 100 years or so when a new civilization more aligned with iNtuitive Feeling values begins, the majority will will be NF aligned–and Goethe will become more ordinary. We will look to our modern Goethe’s not backward to Johann Wolfgang.

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Latest publication:  Growing Sustainable Children and Schools Worthy of Our Affection; 

Team Human K-12 Teacher Training;

Waldorf 2.0 for Public Schools, Local Assembly Required

Series title:  Re-inventing Face-to-Face Culture

Goethe’s Three Orders of Science, hidden in plain sight

In wrapping up-tweaking my last big Goethean writing project, I realized it’s possible to claim the ‘Three Sciences We Use Everyday’ as a Goethe idea.  There’s no profit in claiming it as my own idea anyway.

Goethe’s Three Orders of Science were hidden in plain sight for 250 years.  Where?  The original 2014 presentation of Three Sciences suggests the ordinariness of the Three Orders.  Here’s another view; take a look:

First Order Science ~ My own internal use of rational Thinking and rational Feeling.  This really is what men do at least occasionally in their man-caves and women do in their she-caves.  Our inner lives, how we attend to, and navigate, our Inner Game of Life, may be primitive–yet some spark exists, especially for Waldorf folks.

First Order Science is also how we exercise our five-sensory or 12-sensory channels, what we perceive and how we perceive.  In fewer words:  How we learn.  Am I learning?  If yes–how?

That’s it. First Order Science is this simple.  Stop here.  Simply observe; don’t yet try to carry this over to G’s scientific method. This is not yet applying First Order to human experiments.

Second Order Science ~ The smallest of Goethe’s Three Sciences.  These are aspects of my experiments sharable with colleagues and anyone interested, any aspects workable for you, workable by anyone interested, at any place, at any time on the Earth, regardless of differing subjective intention and attitude.

Second Order is the Science our survival-mad ego loves.  Men’s profit-mad self loves it too:  “If indoor plumbing is replicable, then everyone on Earth will want this, where feasible for them.  I can make big profits fast.”  This is how competitive-male-thinkers employ Second Order Science–but you are not obliged to.

Third Order Science ~ Perhaps equally as large or larger than Goethe’s First Order, is Third Order Science.  These are all the moral, ethical implications-ramifications of my First and Second Order science uncoveries:  Are the consequences of sharing my Second Order Science experiments beneficial and sustainable for the next seven generations of children?

When Cultural Creatives in 2018 accuse corporations of “out-sourcing costs” such as out-sourcing  costs of picking up the littler of their throw-away cups and packaging, this is Third Order Science:  What amount of deposit price should be put on each aluminum soda can to encourage recycling of 90% or higher of cans made?  Should we even allow Q-Tips with plastic shafts to be manufactured if millions are ending up in the oceans and eaten by fish and whales?

The above I believe is Goethean Science made as simple as possible–but no simpler.

Please note, the above is appropriate language for Grade Six and Seven.

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A reflection ~ I guess I’m also feeling sufficiently confident now with the workability of Three Orders of Science to claim this is a paraphrase of Goethe’s original intent.

“To make things as simple as possible–but no simpler” seems to characterizes Goethe’s science voice in many ways.   Those whose minds are simple enuf and un-cluttered hear the radical simplicity.  Those with more cluttered minds–well, only more complexity satisfies them.

Your comments?

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Q:  I thought G’s science only applied to science?

A:  No.  Goethe’s science aligned with those earlier thinkers who believed–in modern words–the human experience requires and is, one darn experiment after another.  We may as well get organized about this as our experiments have consequences.

Q:  How do the Three Orders play out in science experiments per se?

A:  Here we can and should push back on some sensory dogma running loose in Waldorf Goethean Science writing.  Let’s pay attention to what we consider background and what we consider foreground (a Gestalt consideration).

From my reading, some Waldorf science writers of the past wish to make sense observation of external natural phenomena foreground–and everything else background.  (See the intro essays of Sensible Physics Teaching (2017?  A re-titled reprint from the 1980s?)  by Stephen Edelglass and Michael D’Aleo. These essays visible in Amazon Look Inside feature.

Senses-first, last and foremost makes some sense as:

1)  An intro to science for Grade Six,

2)  A support for re-connecting science, ecology and environmental wisdoms.

Yet sensory observation of external Nature phenomena is not and cannot be the endgame of Goethe’s intention about human experiments.

The endgame is LEARNING:  WHO  is learning?  WHAT is being learned?

Sensory observation, whether five- or 12-sensory is wholly within First Order Science.

The LEARNING, any uncovery of new connections, new relations, new uses, is Second Order Science.  This learning comes about not thru sensing per se.  Learning comes about thru free, active rational use of Thinking and rational use of Feeling.

Looking back on earlier Waldorf G-sci lit, I’m uncomfortable perceiving a kind of ‘Goethean dogmatism,’ how G-Sci starts and ends with in-depth sensory observations.

Here’s my guess.  When Grade Seven Waldorf students ARE BORED WITH YOUR SCIENCE LESSONS, you as the teacher have:

  1.  Not sufficiently connected “observing” and “learning” in their minds,
  2.  Have the cart in front of the horse, have made “observing without judging or evaluating” more significant than “learning,” applying rational Thinking and rational Feeling to new experiences.

Consider:  Your middle schoolers are already or soon will be experimenting with drugs, sex, alcohol. porn and video games (probably not in this order).  What is it you wish them to learn about making new experiments?

Do you want them to go into drugs, sex, alcohol. porn and video games USING ALL THEIR SENSES as their main goal?

Or, do you wish them to go into drugs, sex, alcohol. porn and video games TO LEARN WHAT IS WORKABLE FOR THEM AND UN-WORKABLE FOR THEM?

This I believe is the shade of difference between 1980s G-sci thinking and where we have to go in our second hundred years.

Your corrections and comments invited  🙂

New book, Growing Sustainable Children and Schools Worthy of Our Affection

I’m sending out gift copies of the digital eBook version of volume one.  Okay to request a copy.  HealingToolbox (at] Also up as eBook on Amazon.  Working on paper editions.

Subtitles: Team Human K-12 Teacher Training;
Waldorf 2.0 for Public Schools, Local Assembly Required
Series title:  Re-Inventing Face-to-Face Culture

For Waldorf’s 100th birthday, what will the second hundred years of Waldorf look like? What can be improved? What should stay as is? Can a more authentic USA version of Waldorf emerge? How? These volumes put a large fraction of the issues “on the table” for local conversations.

This project intends to complement the Waldorf100 film.

One of several positive themes proposed is: Team Human K-12 education. In 2016 Douglas Rushkoff proposed humanity as a team sport; everyone is on Team Human–tho not everyone recognizes-acknowledges this yet. “Team Human” is a healthy response to Faustian, dystopian “Team Machine” (programming people to conform to technology). Check out Doug’s podcast

From multiple angles, Team Human can be used to refresh Waldorf schools as “seedbeds of social-cultural innovation.” How can we engage NEW generations to innovate socially and culturally? How will they create another 2,000 practical prototype alternatives to dystopia? I found some answers. See if you agree–or disagree 🙂

Can Waldorf evolve in the next 100 years? How exactly? How an authentic USA Waldorf did not yet evolve–and could–is discussed.

Also written for BOTH private-independent and public charter Waldorf teachers and trainees.

Whole project is organized around What is “real work”?

– What is “real work” for children on their journey thru the Land of Childhood?,

– What is “real work” for adults who will teach children in the Land of Childhood–before and after puberty?

– What is “real work” for parents?

– What is “real work” for everyone, at a K-12 community center towards a Team Human positive future?

The endgame? Grade 12 graduates who are:

  1. – Emotionally Intelligent,
  2. – self-propelled problem-solvers, and
  3. – cooperative-collaborative, willing and able to play on a team or lead a team.

Read as much or as little as you like. Five short volumes of 125-150 pages each, are divided over four SECTIONS:

SECTION 1 ~ Theme of Team Human K-12 ed. Couple introductions. “What is Real work for Children?” Lays out the 100-year-old wisdom of Sensitive Periods and how our Outer Game of Life as a child, becomes our Inner Adult Game of Life.

SECTION 2 ~ “What is Real work for Teachers and trainees?” Annotated short history of childhood. Annotated short summaries of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and related Best Progressive K-12 Practices from outside the ‘Classic Waldorf box.’

SECTION 3 ~ What is Real work for Parents and Everyone at a school? “Classic Waldorf is primarily characterized by its metaphors,” builds out the UNESCO characterization in full. Waldorf metaphors universally useful. Metaphors only useful to “parochial” Anthroposophic schools. School as a person. School as a Commons. WHO do we graduate? Conclusions. Three ways to re-brand Waldorf for teh coming 100 years.

SECTION 4 ~ Three ways to re-brand Waldorf, solutions for the coming next 100 years.

Comments, corrections, additions on the entire effort are welcomed.

Written primarily for teacher trainees, I hope this also usefully outlines ideas for Team Human parent education.

A robust USA version of Waldorf incorporating Best Practices from holistic-humanistic movements, has yet to develop. The Best Practices likely to be useful are summarized, a way out from the dead-end of USA schools trying to succeed as European-Waldorf-lite.

For an authentic USA Waldorf to emerge, schools will have to embrace North American genius in the areas of Emotional Intelligence, interpersonal competency, personal growth, and healthy group process. Openness to innovations and self-assessments, compatible with Classic Waldorf, from OUTSIDE the Waldorf box will play a big part.

Can USA Waldorf evolve? Will it evolve? Let’s hope the answer is “yes” to both.

If Waldorf ed is new to you, check out the Waldorf100 video on YouTube to feel its worldwide, international momentum for yourself. Celebrate here: Waldorf100 video (17-min.)

This project has no “home” online yet. Related materials can be found at

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Goethean Science as observing in 3-D

Quality of observing

Goethe’s theory-method of science can be clarified by ‘quality of observing;’ as in, what quality of observation does this reporter-experimenter engage in?

Two ways to experience a circus

Consider this contrast: You are 13 years old. The circus comes to town. You have never seen a circus nor seen it on a movie or screen. You want the circus experience. You mow lawns to earn the ticket price.

You enter the big top with all your senses open. Beyond the horses, elephants, trapeze artists, beyond this, a sense of wonder pours into you. In the moment, not easy for you to articulate the wholeness of your circus experience. Only later, maybe days or weeks later, will you be able to speak and-or write about your conclusions after all your external and internal movement has integrated and “come to rest.”

Contrast this with: A one-eyed, color-blind person in a wheelchair also wants the circus experience. He has no money for a ticket. He walks around the outside of the wooden fence surrounding the big top. He finds a small missing knothole in the fence he is able to look thru. Yes! He can see the big top activity, the women standing on horseback, the elephants, trapeze artists. After watching all of the circus thru this knothole, where each act can be catalogued, a more limited immersion in the experience, the one-eyed, color-blind onlooker can indeed organize his sensory and mental impressions and report his experience.

Given these two circus-goers, if you interviewed both persons, who’s account is more interesting and engaging?
Which of the two people would you invite into a Grade 1-4 classroom to describe the circus to the children?

What Goethe did not have rhetoric to say, which we can say today, is the quality of observation contrasts in the two accounts.

In one account, the objective (sensory) details of the circus converge with their own personal experience of the circus. This reporter tells you details of horses and trapeze artists; alongside details, of how and what the reporter felt.
Three-dimensional observing ~ Because this report converges feelings with sensory details, listeners find it more 3D, more engaging.

The other reporter, observing from a distance as it were, was more detached from their own feelings about the circus. They may list more sensory details of horses and trapeze artists; however, this reporter reports fewer feeling experiences, thoughts tangential to how he felt; or possibly, reports no feelings at all.

This contrast between two qualities of observation, also characterizes the contrast between the Goethean whole-person observing and Sherlock Holmes primarily left-brain-only observing.

Joe Friday: “Just the facts, mam”

I’m going back to the two circus observers. I’m aware an even starker contrast along these lines exists in pop culture. It is the hysterical mother, wife, daughter being interviewed by Detective Joe Friday in the 1952-’58 TV drama Dragnet.

Harvey Kurtzman’s and Will Elder’s parody of Dragnet in MAD (comic book) #11, page 4 especially, takes this contrast to its extreme, the hysterical widow and Joe Friday, who never responds in a personal way to ANYTHING, no matter how extreme or even absurd.

The Kurtzman-Elder Dragnet parody is here –

In both Dragnet and the parody, Joe Friday is NON-emotional. The widow wife has all the emotions. Joe even appears to have his eyes closed.  He’s closed-off to his own experience (a topic not discussed until Men’s Liberation in the late 1970s).

Starting around 1792, Goethe intuited a science drawing on BOTH extremes, could keep humankind in the middle zone of truly human values.

Mythologically, the unresponsive male, especially emotionally unresponsive male, is buddies with:

– The cowboy Marlboro Man, all tough cowboys of few words,

– Sherlock Holmes, “Elementary, my dear Watson,”

– The white-lab-jacketed scientist.

Can you add to this list?

Now for the $64,000 questions

How much are you an observer in your own life?  How much are you a full participant? 

Did you parents or grand-parents divide up Thinking and Feeling so one was “in charge” of one function and the other function fell to the other?  

How willing are you be be a full participant in your own life, employing all your senses, all your Thinking and all your Feeling?  

In Modern lingo, this is what Goethe proposed as a science for soul in the human experience.  

Can you see why Goethe’s holistic ideas had to “sleep” until the 1970s before they could be appreciated even a little bit?  

Excerpted from the up-coming On Beyond Waldorf mss