It’s the perfect combo of abstract mathematical theory which is also practical (topology), psychology, a bit of Einsteinian physics… and it’s not hard to understand. I was trying to trace back WHERE exactly the concept of “boundary” (as in “personal space and such) came from in psychology… and last night I finally found him, after a side trip ‘too far back’ to the concept of geniidentity. It’s just what I was looking for.
I was so happy to find it, I re-uploaded it to Internet Archive to share it. I love when I can find the source for concepts that we take for granted.
I was _so happy_ to find the source of
“boundary”! I wanted to know _where_ the concept was lifted from mathematics and started being utilized in psychology and when I saw that title: “Principles of Topological Psychology”, I _knew_ I found ‘it’.
It was either him, or his buddy from school that was a good pal of Einstein but in any case, they were definitely rolling with the best-of-the-best in novel concepts. This stuff confuses people even today, whether it’s utilized in pure mathematics, quantum physics, psychology – wherever…. and I love it. I eat it up. I’m not much for the mathematics itself, but the little drawings and descriptions are perfect for me.
I had to switch soundtracks (my ADHD has been kicking in in FULL GEAR while trying to read this, but I’m going to keep fighting it), but I’m going to get through it.
I think part of the problem is that the concepts are so _familiar_ (we’ve been utilizing these terms for several generations and its a part of everyday language) – that going through the tedium of repetitively breaking everything down to its core, comparing it to the mathematics and the physics uses of the terms, showing where the analogies work and where they break down… and as a whole basically saying, “we can’t be TOO strict about these things… however, we *CAN* say two and only two things for certain…”
that type of thing… makes NOT skimming it hard. I give him high praise: He _really_ is thorough. He didn’t just slap some math on: he KNOWS what he’s talking about.
This book is a lesson in topology, how to apply pure mathematics to psychology, how it compares and contrasts to its usage in physics… and he gets SO precise and pedantic I’m loving and hating it at the same time. It’s both really easy, because these concepts are familiar to me already… and yet it’s hard because of his precision. I WANT to skim through so badly but I want to give this genius his due.
I am. It’s a painful pleasure: hoping it grows my understanding of… something. I dunno what: topology, Gestalt, comparing my knowledge of these concepts versus the intentions of its creator… I dunno. But it’s growth material in any case, whatever direction it inspires me to pursue.
There. Finished. Satisfying. Only wish: Kurt Lewin gave many mentions of a future “Vector Psychology” to supplement the Topological Psychology he outlines, which historically became the foundation for Social Psychology, Group Dynamics (his creation), and the like… stuff that we’ve been using for decades…
…but it appears he never developed Vector Psychology.
Still, It was good to read the source for so much of contemporary Psychology and now I understand WHY so much of the terminology used in Psychology reminded me so much of Einstein’s physics:
All in all, it was a good refresher in Topology and it felt good to finally get from the source, where Pure Mathematics met Psychology.