NEW YORK—The field of psychology was brought to an immediate halt this week as disillusioned and weary practitioners of the discipline reportedly concluded that the mind could never possibly hope to study itself.
Abandoning more than a century of clinical research, theoretical developments, and observational studies, psychologists worldwide announced that their entire professional lives had been utterly worthless, as the human brain could never comprehend its own workings, let alone understand its own understanding.
“We’ve spent years trying to discern how the mind functions, but today I am forced to admit that this so-called research was nothing more than a fool’s errand—and that we people of learning were the greatest fools of all,” said American Psychological Association president Nadine Kaslow at a press conference Thursday, flanked by leading figures from all major psychology subfields. “Can the eye watch itself? Can a book read its own pages? No. It’s now clear to us that despite all the painstakingly conducted studies and all the data we have meticulously gathered since the late 19th century, we have, in essence, been nothing more than the snake that devours its own tail.”
“All that we thought we understood was merely a mirage crafted by the very unfathomable minds we once so stubbornly insisted we could know,” added Kaslow, before declaring the APA, with its 134,000 members and 54 academic divisions, forever disbanded.
In the wake of the development, sources confirmed that thousands of researchers at top academic institutions had resigned from their posts effective immediately and had been seen packing decades’ worth of academic journals—as well as seminal works such as Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation Of Dreams, Jean Piaget’s The Psychology Of Intelligence, and Alfred Adler’s Understanding Human Nature—into boxes that will be placed in storage indefinitely or disposed of at nearby landfills.
According to reports from one prominent university, visitors to the psychology department found the chair’s office locked, but with a note on the door that simply read, “It was all an illusion.”
Over the past few days, researchers across the psychology spectrum have reportedly discontinued their experiments and returned their funding to its original sources, stating that further investigations had been rendered irrelevant by the completely unreliable and fatally subjective nature of the human mind.
“If only we could step outside these imperfect intellects for but one moment and observe our mental functions as they truly are,” said clinical psychologist Deborah Yamada, who explained that the discipline was inherently and fatally corrupted by the inescapable reality that the examiner and the examined are one and the same. “And yet, when we honestly appraise the human condition, what can the mind truly know that is not a mere waking dream?”
“And even that dream, can it genuinely be said to exist? For is not the moment I grasp the limits of my consciousness the very moment it becomes unknowable?” Yamada continued. “More to the point: What is this ‘I’ that supposedly speaks in the first place? And why do I—whatever that may be—so childishly cling to it?”
Reached for comment, many from the now-dissolved psychology community told reporters that they hoped to redirect their efforts toward other sciences such as physics, chemistry, and geology, fields they hoped would be untainted by the “inescapable enigma” of consciousness.
“If I can no longer study myself, then so be it: I will pursue that which is concrete and measurable,” said Harvard University experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, holding up a quartz crystal before his eyes. “Look at it: Irrefutable. Solid. So unlike the elusive mind.”
“Only this I can truly know,” Pinker added. “That is, if I can know anything at all.”