The situation in the 21st century, is that any psychology which does not ground itself in the ethological fundamentals is worthless drivel: either one ends up promoting vague, fashionable, animistic "syndromes" such as the psychiatrists do; or droning on about Upanishadic fantasies like "objectless prelinguistic desire" as the worst psychoanalysts do. We are animal: now is the time to take this realization more seriously than ever before. Psychology has been until now, and continues to be, the "story of the soul", just as its name translates: the problem is not so much this name and idea, as it is with the postaxial degradation of the definition of "soul". Psyche used to mean "living essence", and not "consciousness" nor "mind" nor "human person": it means that which animates, that which is constituted by animation, that which is discernible as a living whole.
In animo volvere. I've tried employing the term "cognitive science" to describe what I do, but there's something about the word "cognitive" that leaves a foul aftertaste. Those who use the word "cognition" do so to explicitly exclude unconscious valence - intentionally and unconsciously. You see I cannot take a single step without violating the limits of everything that's currently ascendant in psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, and the study of intelligence. "Cognitive assassin" might be more apt. But as a scholar and stubborn philologist, I'd rather revive and baptize venerable terms: there's nothing wrong with the term psychologia nor this "story of the soul". And even the word "soul" has etymological hues I can live with: tracing the Old English sawol gives us the clue of the Greek αἰόλος, meaning "quick", and we arrive at the Proto-Indo-European ṷel-, meaning "to turn". This leads us to familiar words like "volume", or "the waltz": to have a soul is to keep the wheel turning. To be alive is to move. This is the same sense in which psyche was used, along with animus, 气, and a whole pantheon of ancient ideas revolving around breath, motion, "quickening". Psyche is a measure of vitality, and therefore psychology is "the story of being alive". - And what lives embraces a great deal more than "cognition". In contrast, the ridiculous problem with the term "cognitive science" is that translated from the Latin, it comes out to mean "knowledge of knowledge". And this is precisely what its advocates want: a knowledge only of that which is known. A science of the conscious. And this they achieve, and thus everything produced under its aegis is shallow, brimming with worthless taxonomies, ad hoc idiosyncratic abstractions which have nothing to do with personal experience, nor sustained observation, nor anything at all to do with the deeper history of psychology. They're constantly reinventing the field from naïve hearsay and willful ignorance. The popular voices in this field manufacture consoling tabulations, quarantining sources of anxiety with prettily painted picket fences and green grass on both sides, so that everyone gets to feel humane, included, and safe from the It which is namelessly excluded. If I were to recast my work alongside theirs, I would rather it be called the "incognitive science", the knowledge of unknowledge, the story of the repressed.
If soul is a measure of vitality, then one of the corollaries would be that it's possible to have so little of it, that one is essentially soulless. Some people have no soul: this realization can be seen creeping up and around some of the more introverted corners of the internet, where the term "non-player character" designates what the word "square" used to. That one fits into one's time and place so well, that one's needs are met and one's desires folded away neatly, such that nothing of excess is left over. In other words, the more precise definition of soul is an excess of vitality. Soul is seafoam, turbulence, sweet little nothings: everything that makes for good music and the redemption of life in general. I cannot hardly begin to explain how and why all this matters. That's the secret handshake of happiness, which everyone knows but no one can remember outside of the moment. To be happy, to have soul, to be happening: this requires that what is transmitted and demanded by the Foucaultian dynamics of social constraint and tokenized reward, cannot possibly contain everything you have to give and seek. Getting by, snatching a paycheck, evading loneliness and boredom: for some of us even distantly witnessing anyone considering these conditions of life sufficient, is so enraging and nauseating that we may expend a lifetime ensuring that it never happens to us. Some of the best potential artists and thinkers are strewn on those reefs. Friendship, affection, giggling, cackling and teasing: the obvious public secret of someone as misanthropic and grumpy as I've been forced to become, is that these are essential medicines. Therefore whatever measures are necessary to protect them, should be deployed without hesitation, including the cultivation of unmitigated hostility to everything which damages their fragile topsoil. A humble greenhouse full of dewy seedlings and loping tendrils, surrounded by a wide radius of aridity and empty blue sky: that's my formula for happiness.