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The 18th century is characterized by a sudden rise in Philosophy and Science. This in itself, makes this century one of, if not the most important development of the human race as a whole. It is also the period of the awakening of social consciousness, wherein the oppressed sought to break free from the tyrannical holds of their self-elected masters.

If there is one thing that’s more beautiful than the collective decision of the oppressed and marginalized to no longer acquiesce to tyranny, it is the solemn pursuit of knowledge and the drive to further understand our environment and how we fit in it. And to this tune, Psychology follows - The science of human behavior and how it can be influenced by stimuli, along with its physiological counterparts.

 

Psychology was born in the late 19th century (1879) at the University of Leipzig. Its father was Wilhelm Wundt, whose goal was to differentiate Psychology from Philosophy by employing measurements and controlled scenarios.

 

The school of thought that Wundt founded was initially called “voluntarism” and its goal was to “organize the mind” by recording thoughts and sensations, and by breaking them down into parts.

 

So, what does all this mean for the lay people in their time? What benefit did Psychology offer to people who sought to learn it? The answer is simple - They understood themselves and others better.

 

Knowing how we react to stimuli allows Psychologists to not only understand human behavior, but also to alter it, and to treat several mental illnesses.

 

Because we understand the inner workings of human behavior, we can drastically improve how we relate to other people across various scenarios. One of the earliest applications of this knowledge is as old as Psychology itself, and it significantly improved how laborers were treated.

 

Industrial Psychology is the branch of Psychology that focuses on eliminating the inefficiencies in the workplace through the use of scientific findings and the application of established theories.

 

According to Frederick Winslow Taylor, a pioneer of Industrial Psychology, workers were expendable and stupid. This resulted in poor relations with the labor force and this also meant that morale among the working class was low.

 

The change that would forever change the workplace came in the form of Elton Mayo’s Human Relations approach. This principle gave the worker due importance and value. This gave emphasis on understanding where workers are coming from and providing them with a proper work environment. This gave a great emphasis on business management.

 

Simply put, this principle gave rise to the “happy worker = productive worker” notion that we are so familiar with today.

 

The 18th Century is easily the most important period in history, simply for the fact that it was characterized by the emancipation of the masses and their refusal to remain ignorant and oppressed.

 

 

The pursuit of knowledge has always been one of the noblest of pursuits and that could not be truer during the Enlightenment period. It is human nature to want to understand our environment to improve our mundane existence. And what better thing to master, if not ourselves?