Re: re Grand Unified Theory
Sun, 6 Nov 1994 00:45:54 +0000

Dear Jim et al.,

Saw your three mailings; good to hear from you! Especially the third mailing.
I sighed with relief.

What can I say?

"Your karma just ran over my dogma"?
"You shouldn't bite the fan that heeds you?"

Enough of these awful puns.

Behind the humour of what has indeed been an interesting set of mailings is
a more sombre point though. "Constructive alternativism" implies that there
will always be an alternative construction for any given personal goal;
people have to be in motion if only because they engage with a phenomenal
_flow_ and they entrain their search for personal meaning to it: they're
built in order to track change, so they embody change in themselves. Yet
PCP has always been taught within, in parallel to, or in contrast to, a
variety of academic psychologies which for the most part are wedded to a
positivist epistemology: which do indeed seek understanding by trying to
build final theories. And that epistemology is so bloody persistent!

The result seems to be that we Kellians are always having to reintroduce
and rejustify ourselves. We have to remind people of what we're really
about because we're either patronised as a minor bolt-on personality
theory, forgotten (that's why I wrote the "Whatever happened to George
Kelly?" piece), or, through the constructive alternativising of other
authors building on a zeitgeist which happened to include Kelly when they
were first writing their own theories, distorted through the further
development of _their_principles into forms which misapply or misunderstand
what Kelly originally said, or what could be reasonably developed from him.

I get so _tired_ of having to say it all again, d'you see? Clearly, I'm not
saying that the whole structure should be set in stone (though I've met at
least one PCPer who takes a "holy writ" approach to it and, absurdly,
forgets the constructive alternativist bit); but in an intellectual climate
which searches for certainties, there does seem to be a logical problem
with a theory, Kelly's, which includes in its epistemology an assertion of
its own contradictions. Maybe that's why we're doomed to wander the
psychological sidelines?

I suspect that there may be an issue of levels of analysis here, and it may
not in fact be a problem, but I'm not clever enough to see a way through

(Besides, it's 12.30pm here in Teesside, and Middlesbrough United Football
Club has just lost 2-0 to a bunch of soccer no-hopers. Grimsby, I ask you.)

Has anyone else any thoughts on this theme?

Devi Jankowicz