Today has been all about celebrating German Psychology. The day started by finding that Wundt was in fact not the first German to try and establish Psychology has an independent academic discipline. In fact, this has already been attempted almost a hundred years earlier by Ferdinand Bernard Ueberwasser, at the University of Münster. See the following for more information http://www.cienciacognitiva.org/?p=1328. I found this particularly interesting as ten years prior to this the Illuminati were founded in Ingolstadt, another German university in Bavaria with the goals of opposing superstition, obscurantism, injustice and abuses of state power. I make reference to this in my forthcoming article about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in Psychology Review magazine (as Victor’s monster was also created here). Sadly, Ueberwasser’s pioneering work was long forgotten due to the advent of the Napoleonic wars, which forced the closure of the University of Münster.
As the day has unfolded, I find myself now writing about a fascinating study on neuroplasticity and mindfulness conducted by Britta Hölzel a research fellow and yoga instructor at the Institute for Medical Psychology at Charité in Berlin, Germany. The Dalai Lama comments in the foreword to “Peace at every step: The path of mindfulness in everyday life“” that world peace is surely only attainable through the transformation of individuals, possibly through mindfulness.
And so today has been a journey, encompassing wars in Germany that halted progress in psychology as a science, through to current steps in achieving peace through neuroscience.I leave you with a German language version of one of my favourite pop songs, a relic of my childhood. I remember belting this out in the kitchen with my mum in the early 80s, aged 6 or 7. It seems especially apt given that this was penned as an anti-war protest song, by German pop band ‘Nena’ and refers to red balloons floating over the Berlin wall, which did not fall until 1989. The German language lyrics are far more telling than the English. The final words translate to something like let it fly/let it go! Another popular song lyric, with its sentiment rooted in mindfulness.