4/2/12

Understanding Human Behavior #1



So, I've got this set of textbooks called Understanding Human Behavior: An Illustrated Guide to Successful Human Relationships (1974) and they are so full of amazing pictures and articles that I couldn't begin to squeeze them into a single post.  These books cover everything from satanism to space travel, from sexual deviancy to dealing with in-laws.  It's less a pop psychology text than it is a hodgepodge of the seventies mind.  

The illustration above is from a chapter on education in the future.  How is that in 1974 we still believed you could one day get your schooling at the press of a button? I thought that sort of future "utopianism" had died out with The Jetsons. Notice how "brain surgery" is right above "wood crafts". Of particular interest is a section on a system of learning called the "learning web": 
"What we need is a computer network geared to helping us meet others who want to talk about the same subject: first you would give the computer your name, address and telephone number, and get back a printout listing other people in your city who had made the same request.  You would choose one and arrange a meeting at, say, a cafe and turn up there, book in hand so as to be recognized.  It could be as simple as that."



The picture above is an illustration for a chapter called "Pleasure Machine":
"Just because you've read an instruction manual, it doesn't mean you can do it. You have to understand the rudiments of course but, like being able to stay upright on a bicycle, your sexual performance is dependent on your psyche: you've got to have faith in yourself."
The article then goes into The Alexander Principle which holds that proper posture and breathing can enhance all bodily activities.
"The aim is to understand and regulate the psychologically determined mechanics of sex so that they do not interfere with processes and rhythms which arise and develop spontaneously."
Okay, okay, fine. I can buy that. But, JESUS HAROLD CHRIST ON RUBBER CRUTCHES! GET A LOAD OF THAT OUTFIT!!  These books are gonna be dynamite.

15 comments:

  1. Is it my imagination or does the guy in the illustration resemble Kurt Vonnegut?

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  2. It takes longer to find "Pancakes" when the list isn't alphabetized.

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  3. i also own these books, but did you know that there is an accompanying video series???
    I have been unable to track it down online, but they used to air it on canadian public television on saturday afternnos in the early 80s. And yes, it is as freaky as the books.

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    1. Holy cow. I had no idea. I can't help but wonder if John C. Reilly's "Check It Out with Dr. Steven Brule" was inspired a little bit by that. The show is meant to look like an eighties early morning public television psychology program..... hmmmmmm.

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  4. Yikes! "It could be as simple as that." As it turned out the "learning web" is amazing but the last thing you want to do it hand your real name, telephone number and address over to random, anonymous people on the web. That's a good way to end up having your income tax return headed to a guy in Tampa, FL and that could be the least of your problems.

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  5. The 'talkabout' stuff really didn't need any computer assistance. Within any one city, the people who wanted to talk about a certain subject already knew each other, or knew how to find others by a chain of acquaintances.

    What the Web has done is to expand acquaintance-chaining around the world.

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  6. Anyone who chose to study design - listed between geology and entomology - would recognize that it's nearly impossible to get an education without hitting one's head on that booth.

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  7. So, in that 1st picture, is the idea that you stand at that kiosk for who knows how long, while listening to a lecture or something? Seems like a dumb & uncomfortable way to learn. What exactly is the context here? Also, now we know what Moe from "Storage Wars: Texas" was doing back in '74: Posing for paintings to be used in books showing how life in the future will be. That was a bit long-winded, but I couldn't think of a shorter way of saying that!

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    1. Ah, if only I could give you the context. These books were horrible at throwing in a cool illustration that was only tenuously linked to the chapter content. I wish there was a thorough explanation of their "kiosk learning center", but alas there is not.

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  8. Here's one. Found a volume at a book sale last year http://ladythatsmyskull.tumblr.com/post/1222848730/say-uncle

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  9. The "Future" has always been depicted as "instant gratification." That has always meant whatever the current technology could provide. Your "Man of the future" up there is just using an extrapolation of current tech, with little or no imagination. This is like predicting the moon landing in the 1950s, but not realizing we would watch it on T.V. In the 1970s we would all have personal computers in the future, but nobody had the internet or cell phones. Massive T.V. screens, but NOT LCDs. Instant education has always been the Philosopher's Stone of the future. Different ways, depending on current technological, but with the same results. Results with little or no effort.

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  10. It's encouraging that Ron Jeremy also endorses fast knowledge.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. dude, please! scan these to pdf, I have no chance of getting these in the UK.

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  13. Clinicians want more time to do what they always intended to do, and what they do best—evaluate and treat individuals and families seeking assistance with behavioral healthcare issues.


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