Pumpkins and Psychology

September 26, 2012

Rows of small pumpkins

Copyright 2012 Kevin p. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It continues to be crisp and clear and that is such a welcome relief.  We have just passed the Autumnal Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere and so “Fall” has officially begun.  From here until the Vernal Equinox, the days will be shorter, the nights longer, and the temperatures cooler.

This change of seasons also brings with it what is by far the most enjoyable part of Fall-pumpkin pie.  Without a doubt, this is my favourite pie of all time.  And this is the season for it.  Roadside markets are awash with all the colours, sizes, and shapes of this signatory ingredient.

Unusually tall pumpkin

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

For others, though, pumpkins are about competition, and we humans certainly are a competitive bunch (just look at the controversy surrounding the replacement officials in the NFL this season).  Interestingly, pumpkin growing is also a competitive activity, as described here in “The Great Pumpkin”.  The Ohio Valley appears to have the right climate (those cool temperatures) to support the growth of massive pumpkins.  Please read through that article as it describes the intersection of weather, plant genetics, and the human desire to “be the best” that has spurred the growth (literally and figuratively) of pumpkin growing contests. 

There are, of course, many reasons why someone would want to grow the largest pumpkin (or play football for that matter).  Sigmund Freud, the father of Psychoanalytic Psychology, believed that competitive endeavours were a way for humans to sublimate their sexual and aggressive tendencies.  If this is indeed true, and it is important to remember that sublimation is just one theory used to explain the root nature of competition, it leaves one to wonder how Dr. Freud would interpret the motivation of those males who seek to grow the largest round objects possible.

Take care.

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