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Monday, 2 April 2012

So, I've got this set of textbooks called Understanding Human Behavior: An Illustrated Guide to Successful Human Relationships (1974) and they are so full of amazing pictures and articles that I couldn't begin to squeeze them into a single post.  These books cover everything from satanism to space travel, from sexual deviancy to dealing with in-laws.  It's less a pop psychology text than it is a hodgepodge of the seventies mind.  

The illustration above is from a chapter on education in the future.  How is that in 1974 we still believed you could one day get your schooling at the press of a button? I thought that sort of future "utopianism" had died out with The Jetsons. Notice how "brain surgery" is right above "wood crafts". Of particular interest is a section on a system of learning called the "learning web": 
"What we need is a computer network geared to helping us meet others who want to talk about the same subject: first you would give the computer your name, address and telephone number, and get back a printout listing other people in your city who had made the same request.  You would choose one and arrange a meeting at, say, a cafe and turn up there, book in hand so as to be recognized.  It could be as simple as that."

The picture above is an illustration for a chapter called "Pleasure Machine":
"Just because you've read an instruction manual, it doesn't mean you can do it. You have to understand the rudiments of course but, like being able to stay upright on a bicycle, your sexual performance is dependent on your psyche: you've got to have faith in yourself."
The article then goes into The Alexander Principle which holds that proper posture and breathing can enhance all bodily activities.
"The aim is to understand and regulate the psychologically determined mechanics of sex so that they do not interfere with processes and rhythms which arise and develop spontaneously."
Okay, okay, fine. I can buy that. But, JESUS HAROLD CHRIST ON RUBBER CRUTCHES! GET A LOAD OF THAT OUTFIT!!  These books are gonna be dynamite.


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