Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Making Nonsense Of It All

The mental health angles of sociology and psychology, in a quest to make sense of it all after Sandy Hook, are being pursued with enthusiasm and abandon.  Data on the Lanza family, not just the shooter, is being accumulated, sifted, correlated, and interpreted by a plethora of individuals resulting in an even greater plethora of interpretations, re possible mental health diagnoses, or mis-diagnoses as the case may be, such that ruminations of this type,

Though his former classmates describe him as a ‘computer geek’, he strangely had no online presence on popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

suggesting that the lack of presence on Facebook or Twitter is “strange,” and thus a reasonable marker of an individual’s mental (ill) health, has the appearance of erudition.

While I do consider it worthwhile to attempt to understand the whys of why Sandy Hook occurred, I consider it even more important to understand the distinct limitations which should constrain our blind acceptance of various “experts” in sociology and psychology prounuciations, their interpretations, of the reasons why Sandy Hook occurred.

With that in mind, I offer up the following quotes from Lawrence Hyde’s book The Learned Knife, as a cautionary recommendation when attempting to make sense of it all, rather than nonsense.

Every situation with which the sociologist deals is the ultimate result of a series of small personal and domestic crises.  The outer conditions which he investigates represent only the final expression of an infinite number of minor conflicts in the hearts of all sorts of individuals.  What determines the circumstances, not only of a man and his family, but of a village, a city, and a nation, is an endless series of decisions, insignificant in themselves, but cumulatively of overpowering force.  Such decisions are being made all the time by all kinds of people in all kinds of predicaments, and it is they that determine the final solution.

Keeping in mind the infinite number of influences mentioned by Hyde in the above quote, which affect an individual’s decision making, it is also important to understand the limitations this imposes on the fields of sociology and psychology in making sense of why Sandy Hook occurred, which Hyde suggests are these.

The alternatives before him (Hyde is speaking of sociologists, though I would include pyschologists - ed.) seem to be: accuracy at the expense of acquiring merely mechanical information; or implied personal judgment at the expense of obtaining hopelessly vague results.

We will never make definitive sense of why Sandy Hook occurred.  Unfortunately, many will be making nonsense of it all.

UPDATE:  Evidently, not trusting the “official” narrative of Sandy Hook is not without repurcussions.  Facebook Suspends Account For Questioning Official Narrative on Shooting.  Via Drudge.

Posted by John Venlet on 12/18 at 10:41 AM
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