November 9th, 2006

Gully Foyle

the McKitterick "hydraulic theory" of psychology

Some of you have heard this; it came up recently, so I define it here.

My theory is that suppressing something in one aspect of the self increases the pressure across the entire self. As with hydraulics, you cannot compress emotions, needs, fears, and so on: One of the properties of a liquid is that it can't be compressed, so too feelings, emotional needs, and so on. This is how hydraulic systems work: You apply a small amount of pressure in one place to move very heavy things in another place based on the size of the pistons and levers; picture a hand-operated hydraulic jack that can raise a car. So too emotions: If you push (suppress) a lot in one place, it can move you in other places you don't suppress. If there's no outlet for the pressure in a hydraulic system, liquids squirt out from weak spots like gaskets or joints. Similarly, emotions and psychological needs that are being suppressed squirt out in inappropriate places when there's no outlet.

Make sense?