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The use of fear must not be encouraged, but must be exposed as the method of militarism and repression. The fact that fear is not an effective motivational means for changing attitudes has been known for some time by professional psychologists (footnote 15). Instead, fear is used by those who seek to repress not only action and affiliation, but also the expression of anger. Those in the peace movement, such as Helen Caldicott, who have sought to motivate people by making them afraid of the consequences of nuclear war should reconsider their tactics lest they simply increase the feelings of helplessness and pessimism that pervade the mass media and prevent people from taking action.
The new psychology should share in the development of the emerging vision of a culture of peace. With the end of the Cold War, it may be said that such a vision is now becoming a fully developed and new step in the consciousness development of peace activists (see end of preface).
The old psychology, without the vision of a culture of peace, has been a case of the blind leading the blind. Not only does it lack vision, but it has preached pessimism. Even if war is not called "instinctive" (and sometimes the myth of the so-called "instinct for war" is actually taught in psychology courses), the old psychology teaches that personality, intelligence, sex differences, and other important personal characteristics are largely determined by genetic and early childhood factors. This gives helpless students the feeling that there is little they can accomplish by action and affiliation. This fits neatly into the pessimism of the mass media where hurricanes, plane crashes, wars, and crimes are considered "newsworthy" while organized action of peace and justice (for example, trade union actions) are censored or minimized (footnote 16).
As well as providing a concrete basis for optimism, the new psychology should directly combat the psychological warfare of pessimism. We should work to expose and eliminate the "image of the enemy" that is used to justify the arms race and isolationism which prevent cooperation with the rest of the world. We should expose and eliminate the myth of the "instinct of war" by such means as dissemination of the Seville Statement on Violence (see footnote 9). And we should take part directly in the struggle against the pessimism of the mass media, a struggle that we may expect to sharpen in the coming times.
The new psychology will be a psychology of action, unlike the old psychology that ignores action and emphasizes, instead, all kinds of passive processes. Psychology textbooks are loaded with studies of sleep and dreaming, "states of consciousness" that are considered in terms of drugs and yoga meditation, attitude change that is defined in terms of an "outside" force changing the attitudes of an otherwise passive subject, and personality traits, intelligence, and sex differences that are treated as unchanging, inherited qualities. The dominant technique of psychotherapy has been one in which the patient lies down on a couch facing away from the therapist and recalls his or her dreams and childhood experiences. How more passive can you be? Even though the practice of psychotherapy has changed in most cases, the theory derived from the old practice still dominates clinical psychology.
It must be a psychology of the adult. Rather than concentrating on genetic and early childhood factors which are fixed in the past, it should concentrate on the ability of people to change and grow as adults. Age should be seen as no limit. Just as young people can achieve consciousness through action at an early age, so too, people can begin to grow when they are much older. I recall the story of one great American peace activist who took his first actions for peace in his 60's and was imprisoned for them in his 70's. At the age of 90 his clear vision and advice were an inspiration to those of us several generations younger.
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