Etymology of Psychology

Etymology of Psychology 

The Latin psychologia  with psycho meaning ‘of the soul, spirit, psyche, or mind’ and logia from the Greek word logos which ‘denotes the characters, actions, or departments of knowledge’ that precedes the logos. A simpler translation would be ‘the study of’ Meaning that psychology is the study of  the soul, the spirit, the psyche, or the mind.

What is Psychology Now?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Psychology as:

The scientific study of the nature, functioning, and development of the human mind, including the faculties of reason, emotion, perception, communication, etc.; the branch of science that deals with the (human or animal) mind as an entity and in its relationship to the body and to the environmental or social context, based on observation of the behaviour of individuals or groups of individuals in particular (ordinary or experimentally controlled) circumstances.

Note that the spirit or soul is not mentioned in our contemporary concept of psychology? Relationships between the individual and their environment, their socio-economic status, their body, are all major factors but what about a person’s relationship with the unknown?

The Unknown by other named is  a God, the mystery, abyss, infinite, Zero, singularity, the original principle.

What impact does our relationship with the Eternal have on the way we communicate and behave ? 


The former is the kind of question a psychologist might ask.

In the Nineteenth Century  Parapsychology was perceived as a development of a fanciful intellectual system:

“1887 Science 27 May 511/1 The term ‘para-psychology’ may be invented to apply to those weirdly imaginative systems of thought by which some intellects strive to satisfy their inner longings, and to make the world seem rational.”

“Fanciful” and “weirdly imaginative” seem like overly subjective terms for  scientific publication! However, I think the difficulty  people had with para-psychology is that it studies what is beyond traditional logic and rational thought because the causes and effects are often unmeasurable.  What these linear thinkers forget is that at one time all science was thought to be magic.

The difference between magic and science is that one we cannot explain and the other we can.

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