As I was waking up Sunday morning, I found myself working on a comparison/contrast of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. I have no idea what I might have been dreaming, but it was enough to keep the thought process going even after I was fully awake.
Here’s what I came up with:
Psychology is the study of individuals and how they have been shaped through their internal chemistries, their thoughts, and their interactions with others, with the goal of helping each to optimum functioning.
Sociology is the study of people in aggregate, their society, and how the individual effects and is affected by the social system, also with the idea of improving both the aggregate and the individual functioning to an optimal level.
Anthropology is the study of other societies, remote in time, distance, or social strata. It does not seek to “improve” the society being studied (which could be construed as a type of contamination, and which it would be unable to do in historical societies, anyway), but rather to understand to the point that what worked and what didn’t work could be applied to optimize the observer’s society of origin.
Maybe the next part of this comparison/contrast would be the metaphysical, which attempts to understand the impact of forces that do not originate within the physical self or society. This might include what Jung referred to as the collective unconscious, what people of Western religion call saints, angels, God, or Holy Spirit (or Satan or demons, if that impact is negative), and what New Thought calls Spirit or Higher Self (with the belief that the negative is physically based and not external to humanity), among others.
I still have no idea why this was important enough to make the transition from sleep to wakefulness, but after thinking about it off and on all that day, I thought I’d share.