A Little Bit of Psychology: The Three Circles of Life


Don’t worry, I’ll explain that very basic and primitive Venn diagram that sums up a bit of psychology I came up with, and better yet, it isn’t too complex either! “Every action has a reaction”, it’s a pretty well known phrase, and it’s the basis of this Venn diagram in a way. Every action can be plotted somewhere among those 3 circles, and those very corners of the triangle which the Venn diagram sits in can be considered to be your “Body”, your “Mind” and “Society”. The closer an action is to each corner, the more it fulfils the ‘requirements’ of that aspect of your life. A Venn diagram doesn’t perfectly illustrate it, but essentially, that’s how this principle works, and you determine the effects of actions.

The closer an action is to your body, the more healthy it is for you, the closer it is to your mind, the more relaxing or joyful it is (or some other positive emotion). Society works a bit differently, in the case of society, if it’s far away, the action may ostracise you from society or otherwise make you seem not like the norm (society is weird, so it’s less predictable than the other two circles, but we’ll stick with the idea it ostracises you to keep it simple in this case, this is though the major failing of the Venn diagram in my opinion for this use). We’ll throw in some examples then, for example doing some rigorous exercise will probably sit quite close to body, and won’t be incredibly far from society, however if you ignore the benefits of it, you don’t really want to do it, it’s not incredibly relaxing and takes determination, so it’s perhaps not too close to your mind. Conversely, drugs is another example, now they are in reality detrimental to your mind, but seem beneficial (once your addicted, you feel worse without the drugs for a while than you do with the drugs). Therefore you could say drugs is quite incredibly close to your mind, it may however be placed any distance from society depending on what society your in. Your peers might be very into drugs, therefore it might in that instance be close to society (in the sense that it could help bonding with peers, although I don’t condone drugs, don’t do drugs kids) but it could equally be quite far from society, generally a lot of society (at least in the UK) doesn’t support drug use, and might look down upon you if you use drugs.

Obviously, you can see how it begins to get a bit tricky with the Venn diagram to plot some things, but here’s where the proper psychology begins. You can’t really change what is good for your body and what is bad for it with the exception of if suddenly wide scale recreational genetic engineering comes into our lives. Healthy foods & exercise are good, and sugary, fatty and otherwise unhealthy foods aren’t as such, you can consider that circle to be pretty much fixed in place. Society and to an extent, your mind, are a different case. Now changing your mind isn’t a terribly easy thing to force, but your mind does naturally change over time and you can supposedly go about thinking differently (to an extent), so it’s not solidly fixed in place, but you can’t just suddenly go “I want to be happy today.” and then suddenly the day be the best day of your life (unless that was your first thought on the first day of your life?) Society does change though, it happens observably too, and while wide-scale its perhaps about as fast as changing your thinking (perhaps a tiny bit slower) it is massive in comparison to your mind and body, and your local society can change far faster. Along with globalisation and the internet, it can change faster than ever these days.

Now your probably thinking “OK, so the circles can move, so what?” or you’ve gotten onto my way of thinking and know what I’m leading too. If the spheres moved closer together, every action would be better for all of you, wouldn’t it? You’d get more overlap over whats good for each part of you (such as liking healthy foods, thus making you happy and healthy). Likewise, circles could move further away, and actions could become worse for parts of you.

I’m sure some of you have heard of “The Social Model of Disability”, more or less it goes along the lines of saying that the problems caused by disabilities are actually caused by society, and while that isn’t completely true in all cases, society often is at least in part to blame. For example, discrimination and misunderstanding of us autistic people in various aspects of life leading to increased risk of suicide. Now I’m going to take my Venn diagram a bit further, imagine millions of “Body” and “Mind” circles and (for the sake of not melting your brains) one “Society” circle. Everyone has a body and a mind circle, but the society circle is shared between everyone, it can move closer to some people, benefiting them more, but this is a pretty pessimistic way of viewing the world, it’d suggest only a few people can benefit at the expense of everyone else, but the society circle has another little trick up it’s metaphorical sleeve. It can get bigger (or smaller) and at least in this case, size matters! A big society circle, would mean society can benefit a lot of people, a more inclusive society would have a bigger circle, on the contrary a smaller circle would be a very exclusive society, somewhere like Nazi Germany would have a tiny circle, as anyone that didn’t fit in a few groups, it really didn’t like to help, on the contrary if we jump into fiction for our next example, the United Federation of Planets (from Star Trek) would have a pretty big society circle, sure a few foreign species aren’t hugely loved by the Federation, and likewise the prospects for genetically engineered peoples isn’t too bright in most cases (damn you KHHAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!) they don’t really care about many factors of you, women can fly star ships, so can coloured people, and nobody finds it even remotely unusual, people can even quote Shakespeare to try and solve intergalactic problems and not be found weird.

Now I’ll pull it back to autism as a nice little example to conclude on, presently a Venn diagram for a fair few autistic people would be quite similar to a normal one however would be notably further from the society circle (and in some cases may be further from or closer to the body circle).


Hopefully you found this little bit of amateurish psychology interesting, sorry about not doing too many posts lately (busy with checking UCAS stuff and preparing for A2), I will try to get more posts in now though.


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