Armed with a smattering, not of knowledge, but of undigested slogans, they
rush, unsolicited, to diagnose the problems of their friends and acquaintances.
Pretentiousness and presumptuousness are the psychologizer’s invariable
characteristics: he not merely invades the privacy of his victims’ minds, he
claims to understand their minds better than they do, to know more than they do
about their own motives. With reckless irresponsibility, which an old-fashioned
mystic oracle would hesitate to match, he ascribes to his victims any
motivation that suits his purpose, ignoring their denials. Since he is dealing
with the great “unknowable”—which used to be life after death or extrasensory
perception, but is now man’s subconscious—all rules of evidence, logic and
proof are suspended, and anything goes (which is what attracts him to his
While the racket of the philosophizing mystics rested on the claim that man is
unable to know the external world, the racket of the psychologizing mystics
rests on the claim that man is unable to know his own motivation.