Even after a Ph.D. (which should have made me a doctor of philosophy) I have even fuzzier goals for a fruitful life, than I thought was possible ten years ago, when I delved into the world of science thinking it was the only thing I could be happy doing. In the past decade, I have moved from biochemistry to biophysics (okay, thats not much of a move) to genetics (blehh) then to neuroscience and finally to behavioral neuroscience and the amorphous term called “learning” and the only slightly less nebulous term called “memory”.
Most of what I learned and remember is that conventional wisdom is not to think out of the box, but to claim thinking out of the box until you are in a position to actually do so, by which time it may be too late. Now with a degree I would have hurled at the closest target, had it any weight, I am hoping for a less educated and more educating decade. Learning to be inspired and hopefully one day, be inspiring. Get closer to what it means to be me and yet be productive ( ha ha). If that were not a tall order in itself, learning to be happy now and not wait for a time, place or position in the world in the unforeseen future, I hoped to be.
And I didn’t really think anyone would actually read this, but apparently people do. Then, let me explain why I call my blog Implicit Self. It is partially related to a hypothesis put forth by a insightful scientist, ahead of his time, whom I admire and stand in awe of: Ito. His proposed theory is on the role of the cerebellum in higher executive function, which has always been attributed to the frontal cortex/hippocampus (forebrain/midbrain), or any other popular part of the brain except the cerebellum. If I have not lost you yet, his proposal was that the cerebellum ( which develops after birth to a much higher degree than other brain regions, that is as primarily motor/touch experiences in life are being felt for the first few years in humans) conducts parallel processing in adults, that leads to us ‘subconsciously‘ arriving at a decision- even if it is how much to lift an arm to reach for the cookie jar and how much we expect it will weigh (so to prepare ourselves for the lifting, which is a motor task). The cerebellum does have MORE half the neurons of the brain, that is not to say that numbers mean more, they just provide the anatomical basis of routing parallel processing, like increased memory for RAM which is not sufficient to solve any issues without other software, but it does help.
Anyway, I think I arrived at the decision of taking only doing what interests me- using my implicit self, because I certainly did not plan on this tuning out from the ‘real’ world of science. This implicit self was as under- appreciated by me as the cerebellum is in the scientific world, where it is thought to be only responsible for ‘coordinated’ movement or motor functions. It may be found that it indeed does many more things we take for granted, as I hope to find that I can perhaps do a few more things than just talk scientific jargon and do fruitless experiments.
🙂 I find that actors, directors, movies have inspired me, even when I didn’t take notice. Good books make me happy and perhaps I can tell others why they did. I think both Calvin and Hobbes have made me question life more than the intricacies of the human brain.
So, I am a nerd….
Are you (still) with me?
Note: I realized that it was not an entirely poor decision to do a PhD. Perhaps it is only when we or I am creative and creating something NEW, not merely putting a block on top of another (and all other activities that require shutting the brain off), is that we live without needing a ulterior ‘reason’ to live. When we can fulfill the need to be excited and enthusiastic about something, simply by doing something we love. If we do that, we don’t feel the need to be needed and have lots of people depend on us, to feel alive and content. Or the need for religion or addictions. That is a type of life I have thankfully avoided because of my need to do something valuable. Thank the Doctor. (yes, Doctor WHO?)