New Directions with Psybernetika

Chris Russell
zrussell@sfu.ca

This issue of Psybernetika marks the beginning of a new editorial team. Randy Tonks has done an excellent job over the last couple of years of gathering and recruiting papers and contributors for this, as of yet, still little known psychology journal. He spent many, many hours editing papers, keeping and developing a network of writers, thinkers, and researchers, in addition to reformatting the look of the journal on the World-Wide-Web. Randy has shared with me many stories and anecdotes of hurdles, barriers and mishaps that indicate that the time and energy he has devoted towards establishing this psychology journal has been a labour of love. He personally hands over the editorial reins to two (more next issue) people who will try to continue with the same level of dedication and commitment that Randy gave to Psybernetika. Thus many thanks from both of the current editors of Psybernetika are sent out to Randy for his work, his vision and perseverance to keep what he considered a good thing going, essentially on his own.

Before the content of this issue of Psybernetika is introduced, I will briefly introduce the new co-editors. Eric Pettifor is currently attending classes at SFU. His interests are not only in psychology, as witnessed by the skill with which he delivered the new look and format of Psybernetika. He has also completed the requirements for an archaeology major. Chris Russell is the other co-editor, and his (my) interests are concentrated in psychology, sociology, and philosophy. I have recently finished my first degree and am now working in the mental health field. We both look forward to continuing Randy's work and hope to publish issues that will intrigue and challenge the diverse range of readers that the Internet attracts. We also encourage everyone to send their remarks, comments and critiques of any content or format from our journal. As such, all readers are requested to contribute their work to this web site, whether research, thoughts, philosophy, fiction or non-fiction, as long as it is in some way related to psychology. Alternatively, we request that you readers tell your psychologically minded friends an and colleagues about this site.

This issue is short and interesting. As I read through the different papers in preparing thing editorial, the only common thread that runs through the different papers is their critical tone. The diversity of thought is incredible, and the range of interests amazing. Rob Bedi writes a compelling paper called, Depression: An inability to Adapt to Life Stress on the etiology of depression. He is critical of the neurological theories of depression, and does an excellent job of pinpointing the problems with the different explanations of depression that focus on neurotransmitters as the cause of depression. Rob does not leave his account with a discussion of the problems with neurological explanations for depression without also contributing or providing an alternative. The alternative he presents is a well argued and thought out theory that will (in my humble opinion) eventually replace the current theorizing in depression.

Next, Darek Dawda challenges the theories of personality testing based on a specific technique called the NEO FFM (NEO Five Factor Model). He also expands his criticism of this specific method into the general attitude of researchers and clinicians in regard to their definitions of personality. Darek confronts with boldness the most accepted tool for testing personality today. He does this through making the interested clinician or psychologist aware of the history behind the development of the NEO FFM. His paper, Personality or NEO FFM , as the title alludes to, is a plea that the psychological professionals start to distinguish between personality and the tools of the trade that merely measure and describe in a limited fashion an individual's "personality".

The next paper, with a critical tone to it, is by Chris Russell. This paper, which is more philosophical than empirical in nature, is written in two distinct parts. The first part is the introduction and explanation for the second part that is presented as a dialogue between two people. Thus, in this issue, Chris discusses and explains his philosophy of language. The critical tone appears in two distinct but related areas. First, Chris appears to be challenging the way we understand language; he presents language as more than a tool of communication and asserts that it is also (and mainly) a tool of understanding. The second object of his criticism is what he calls the "language of Empiricism", where empiricism is argued to be a less than complete or competent use of language, and that as a form of language, it hinders or prevents understanding of specific areas of knowledge. This rather lengthy paper, called The Discussion: Belief will be broken into three sections. The first part published in this issue provides an analysis of the distinction between thought and language, and also discusses the similarities and differences that language has with the physical senses human beings posses. The second part of this paper, which is the discussion, will itself be broken into two sections. This is mainly because of the length of the discussion between the two people that Chris wrote. The editors will make every effort not to lose any congruency or break any flow in thought between the two dialogues.

The final two papers are more of a reminiscence of older, well-known, theories in psychology than are they critical. Michael MacLean, in his paper titled Recherche: Piaget's Wanderjabre, as the title implies, takes another look at Piaget's contributions to psychology in general and also to education and child development in particular. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in Piaget's work or someone who is researching Piaget's theories on the acquisition of knowledge. Michael gives an excellent historical look at the progress of Piaget's work and of the impact his work had on psychology and education, as well as the barriers his work has had to overcome in doing so. This summer issue of Psybernetika is finished with a short paper by Eric Pettifor. His paper is an exposition of Endel Tulving's Monohierarchical Multimemory System Model,. This clear and concise article reiterates the specific theory of memory without any additional fan-fair or seriously being critical.

Thus you have the Summer 1997 issue of Psybernetika. We, the editors, hope the reader will be able to benefit, whether academically or intellectually from this collection of essays. While thought provoking and at times challenging or possibly even controversial, this set of papers will hopefully provide the reader with at least some enjoyment while reading these articles in Psybernetika. We thank all the contributors, both published and unpublished, because without your ideas, theories, interests and, most importantly, your desire to share your ideas, theories and interests, this journal would be non-existent.