Psychologist at Large: An Autobiography and Selected Essays

By Edwin G. Boring | Go to book overview

CP Speaks

When "CP" (Contemporary Psychology) began in 1956, the Editor hoped that he might egg his writers on into being interesting and his readers into being interested. There needed to be for the American psychologists, he thought, a personal touch of the kind that was all ready to be borrowed from the New Yorker and the Saturday Review, and he did his best to move his colleagues toward a more attractive literary style than was their wont and into writing with a touch of gaiety and humor. How can a psychologist look upon the paradoxes of human motivation without being amused at man's sober egoism and his certainty that his own assurance is self-validating? CP tried to interdict the bitter ad hominems—not always successfully—but it also undertook to introduce editorials that would suggest to its readers and even more to its writers that criticism, being idiosyncratic, is not to be given personally nor taken bitterly. Such, thought CP, is the mature view of the educated man, and properly the scientific view, and very especially the view of him who understands human nature, the psychologist.

At any rate CP wished to talk with its readers, and it could through an editorial page called CP SPEAKS. Here it explained its aspirations to its readers. It asked them questions about what they wanted. It apologized when it recognized its own failure. It joked with them. But most especially, when it had a serious idea about writing or books or words or printing or about the kinds of thinking that make psychological books what they are, it would speak seriously and yet tentatively, without bluster or certainty or cockiness, always wishing it might turn this trick as neatly as does E. B. White with his demure humor and his per

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