The take-home final for Psychology 311a involves designing and beginning to build your own memex. Here's a summary of what I have in mind: Plan yourself a memex, create (or at least design in some detail) your own blog, and put a CV and one other page of your memex there. We’ll spend about half our remaining class time discussing our progress on these, and the rest on constructing a rudimentary ego psychology with which to describe and study such work. I’ll hold office hours as needed to work with each of you on your project.
Things to consider including in your memex:
• The relation of this class to your memex project
• An explanation of the design of the front page of your memex
• Pictures, film clips, old receipts, contracts, fiction, drafts of fiction, audio memos …
• Links to library resources
• Links to others’ memexs
• Memory/navigation aids for your future self
• A place to put all this.
As part of preparing you for this project, I wish to review psychoanalytic "ego psychology" in light of PCs, the Net, and the blogosphere.
As we start this discussion, I'd like to make an important philosophy of science point about psychoanalytic ego psychology (and most of personality theory generally). Its content, its critical terminology, is all metaphor: it’s made up, it’s not real. Terms like “libido,” “need,” “anxiety,” “Id,” “Ego,” are used metaphorically in our discourse. Thus we say, “It’s as if there were a part of his self that functions autonomously and determines how he directs his attention, organizes his thoughts, and accesses his memory. This sort of writing – and of thinking – turns out to be fine for some kinds of Psychology and most of the “humanistic” disciplines. We can do serious work on, say, the personality factors and issues that most impact the extent and type of folks’ use of personal computer and the Internet without assuming that our subjects’ “Extraversion” is an entity that can be measured by a self-report test and expressed as a number. From here on out, this is a class about using the language of personality descripton, with respect to ourselves, in a way that can be understood by others. Your mid-term projects gave you some experience with this. For example, what vocabulary, and what background knowledge, is required to adequately describe
• Your suite-mate’s 30 hour a week EQ habit?
• Your own fascination with [favorite actor/author]?
• Your semester-abroad friendship with ___, from ___?
We can be helped in talking about such matters by ego-psychological concepts if we do not reify or scientize these.