An intellectual shallow dive into the dangers of pop psychology

Pop Psychology
Image - Wikimedia Commons

Pop psychology might better be described as psychobabble, because the uninformed teachings of self-taught ‘experts’ only serve to limit our human potential.

Do you have an intellect, or just the box it came in? Let’s stop limiting ourselves and others.

I often hear people artistic friends state that creativity trumps intelligence.

But are we compelled to choose?

Why can’t we have both?

These days, intellect seems frowned upon. Witness the disdain of many to climate science or the rise of the anti-vaxers. Some opinion makers stigmatise intellectual pursuits as inferior to human creativity.

But it is a combination of human intellect and creativity got us to where we are.

Hedy Lamarr, a 1940s Hollywood sex goddess, pioneered the frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology which allows us to use wi-fi today.

Einstein, the go-to intellect of the last century — Mr E = mc2 — travelled everywhere with a violin.

“Life without playing music is inconceivable for me,” he said.

Intellectual curiosity drives the creative process.

The two work together, not in isolation.

Pop Psychology Myth

Many people assume that the brain works in isolated boxes of logic and creativity.


Brain scans of musicians during the height of their flow process shows a complex interplay between both hemispheres.

The corpus callosum mediates brain activity and passes neural activity from one side to the other.

If we stop imposing borders between intellectual or creative talents, we will allow people to embrace and amplify their neurological diversity.

You can be smart AND creative.

Without doubt,  you are a complex tangle of any number of things. We are a complex species. Our capacity to analyse these ideas separates us from the animals — though sometimes I wonder.

Here’s another out-there thought — we can even develop strengths and weaknesses throughout life.

We need to rethink everything — how we define intelligence, creativity, and socialisation; how we tap into the virtues of others, and how we capitalise on the fact that most everything can be grown and developed, in ourselves and others.

Through different veins, everything can be appreciated on a more profound level.

There really are no boundaries between the different things we are and can be capable of. We are more limited by the boxes we think ourselves into.

Maybe we should spend more time thinking outside of them.

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RJ Miles

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