Chris Holdgraf’s article “On being ‘right’ in science” addresses the importance of sacrificing the full truth (i.e. scientific jargon and acronyms) for understanding. This article will elaborate on the concept of how one “understands.” That is to say, we will understand understanding before trying to be understood. Research in psychoanalysis is contributing to how scientists communicate with the public on controversial topics like climate change, such as described here.

Instead of showing graphs and figures to convince the public of the existence of a problem, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek walks through consumers’ growing piles of garbage while he discusses the hidden reality of climate change in his documentary Examined Life. “Nature is not a balanced totality of which we humans disturb. Nature is a big series of unimaginable catastrophes. We profit from them. What is our main source of energy today? Oil.” Take a moment to reflect on how oil is formed. Instead of rejecting the existence of waste, we will have to accept that it is a part of how we live and collectively work with ways to minimize its impact on the environment. There are a few considerations to make with these regards in the context of psychoanalysis.

Christopher Shaver, graduate student from the computer science department and co-instructor of the Berkeley DeCal Altered States of the Brain, shares the top three reasons why psychoanalysis is an important consideration to make in scientific discourse: