I propose that we largely discard all other paradigms for human psychology and replace them with one based on signals. Humans are semiotic entities who signal constantly internally and externally. No need for personality or self.
Signals are objective, measurable, quantifiable, and analyzable. And they are at the heart of everything we call “psychology.”
The most basic psychological paradigm still current today is personality. This concept should be greatly demoted, relegated to broad-brushing some genetic tendencies or matters involving personas.
Signals cover all psychological territory without exception, including everything we can now say based on personality. Bodies signal, brains signal, organs of perception receive signals, thoughts are signals, language is signals, biology signals, as does everything in physics.
No matter how you look at psychology, you will find signals. Using signals to describe psychology is almost always clearer, more succinct, and more precise.
Another basic paradigm for describing/explaining psychology is matter; psychology comes from the brain and the brain is matter. But then you get mind-matter problems, problems with top-down behaviors, loss of spirituality as an actual probability, and many problems with scale or behavior. Besides all matter signals!
So much simpler to describe how biological signals lead to thought and behavior. Or how top-down psychological signals affect biology.
Instead of “personality disorders” being vaguely defined and understood as ghostlike ephemera that seem to inhabit sufferers, we can define them as signal malfunctions that have arisen due to previous signal malfunctions, either biological, experiential, or semiotic.
A signal-based paradigm of human psychology would view individual psychology as a complex of signals, a semiology unique to each individual.
Narcissism has been discussed in this way. A signal-based analysis of other disorders can similarly make our understanding clearer and more efficient.
Borderline personality disorder, for example, can be viewed as a poorly integrated internal signaling system, a poorly functioning individual semiology. Due to the centrality of signals to all aspects of human psychology, we can expect borderline people to search frantically among others for the cohesion they lack in themselves.
If we understand psychology as a complex of signals, it becomes easier to categorize problems and discover treatments. It also becomes obvious that we can and should optimize this system even in healthy individuals by clearing up confused signals while removing bad ones.