Scientific Personal Development

Personal Development gets a bad wrap because it is conceived to be the province of charlatans and flakey, New-Age hippies. This characterisation is largely correct of the popular PD industry, but we ought not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

The baby of personal development consists of many philosophical and psychological influences. Amongst the former: Socrates (‘know thyself’) and Aristotle,  the Existentialists and other ‘life’ philosophies (Stoicism, Epicureanism, etc.). Amongst the latter: Freud, Jung, ‘Positive Psychology’, and so on.

I am interested in what a (quasi) scientific personal development ethic would look like. At its core I believe it would ask…

What influences have a positive effect on how a person sees the world and oneself?

What influences have a negatives effect on how a person sees the world and oneself?

How can we effectively increase the former and reduce the latter?

Influences being other people, communities, philosophical and other literary works, own attitudes, metaphysical beliefs, and cultivated habits. Oneself is a perfect object of experiment.

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