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, again, partially related to a hypothesis put forth by a scientist, whom I do admire- Ito, on the role of the cerebellum in higher executive function. 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) conducts parallel processing 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. I think I arrived at the decision of taking it easy and only doing what interests me- using my implicit self. An implicit self 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 recently realized ( August 2013) that I would much rather be doing experiments that anything as moribund as having ‘fun’. Perhaps it was because it is only when we are 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. I was not brought up to think that we grow up and get a job so that it can pay for the life we live. This is pretty similar to the American thinking of ‘providing’ for your family being the main motivation to work. While the family being the motivation to live. I was brought up by a father who believed in his work, that it had a purpose beyond the pay check and helped improve society. His priority has always been me, but he has never thought that all I am ever required to do is be ‘happy’, healthy, yes, but not just happy. He wants me to contribute and do, for a while I thought that was a lot of pressure. I now see that the alternative is just living in a futile cycle of boredom/ ‘fun’. Leading to the need to be needed and have lots of people depend on you, to feel alive and content. Or the need for religion or addictions.