I was an extremely good student in high school. I did everything I was supposed to, taking on as many extracurriculars as I possibly could, while still getting good grades and taking charge of all my responsibilities. I played the flute and made it into our school’s wind ensemble. I was a girl scout and a member of the national honor society, as well as other honor societies. I took on literary clubs and was extremely involved with the community. I also took a great liking to science, particularly biology, and english (depending on my teacher, shout out to Ms. Stern). I like to forget that high school happened sometimes, but I was coerced into thinking about everything despite this when I ran into my 11th grade AP bio teacher as I was writing Metanoia in a nearby Starbucks.
What can I say about the difference between then and now? Well, I’ve learned that I’m actually a terrible student. But how (after I just explained everything) you might ask? Five years ago, and to this day, I took an interest in science because there wasn’t dogma, and a type of thinking that was open to many possibilities. I liked it because it was a way to test the unknown, and come up with explanations that lacked bias and opinion, unlike many areas of society (I could name quite a few). After I worked so hard at trying to secure my future and bring myself to a place where I had several options for college, my financial status and life circumstance eventually brought me right into my own backyard at a local SUNY school. This is where my perception changed.
More and more, I began to see several things that people rarely acknowledge about the academic world, one of which is how biased science could actually be. Everything in this world is driven by money, including the types of studies and experiments that are performed by experts in the field. Thankfully, there can be important discoveries made that are unrelated to the question at hand despite the reason behind funding. However, it can still be very biased.
The second thing I noticed can be explained through something that I heard from a youtube channel I subscribe to called Ascension Pioneers. The woman said something I have come to find on my own. She said “It doesn’t have to be religious to be dogmatic”. Dogmatic meaning not being able to see the light of a new opening, not being able to accept any other possibility other than the idea, or way of thinking, that you currently have. I’ve seen this methodology leak into every facet of society. It is just so ironic in this case, as science claims itself to be different from religion in that its separated from opinion, from the interests, motives, and beliefs, in an attempt reach an honest conclusion. But even now, it has fallen victim to these human idiosyncrasies. (On a side note, I really do believe scientists have good intentions when entering their field, but like most they get sucked into beliefs and ways of thinking that act as a hindrance to our development).
I am not a good student because my natural tendencies goes against this. The current system favors obedience. I go about my studies very differently. I ask questions that aren’t deemed important, and my process has too much sentiment (Its also because I’m terrible at multiple choice questions that have two right answers, but thats besides the point). Later on, I am going to write another blog post relating to this, but lets stay on topic for now. School no longer feels like learning to me, it feels like a task that earns a right of passage. It feels like something I have to complete so that I have time later to do my own tests and address my own questions.
So ironically, while I went into a science field because it is proclaimed to be an honest quest for truth, I have seen little of this. Instead, I’ve seen people who are happily pigeonholed in their career, biased from all the papers they’ve read and specialists they’ve interacted with, who are no longer able to approach an issue (say and environmental one for example, since that is my major) from a different perspective. I think that very often, if a problem still exists after a long period of time of trying to come up with solutions, it is because the people involved with it are not looking at it correctly. The truth in this lies in a quote from Albert Einstein that states “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. And yet not many people dare to try things differently. In fact, depending on the environment you’re in, many scientists are criticized, and their work attacked if they stray too far away from the norm. This is an environment that works against innovation, and puts the ultimate development of our civilization at risk.
It seems now that almost anywhere I turn, there are people who are so set in their ways and will not budge. It inhibits development and growth in both their personal lives, and advancements in our society. “The only constant is change”. That is how our world operates, we are meant to have an ever evolving view of what we believe to be true. The discoveries of the future are meant to show us something completely different from the way we look at life now. That is human, that is part of the reason why we are here.
Perhaps one possible explanation as to why it has gotten to this point is that the current strict system was designed so that we could have reliable information in the first place. In a way, I am happy that things are the way they are right now. It is definitely an improvement from the distant past, when information was largely hearsay and invalid. Im glad that I can at least say a few things with certainty as a result of this academic standard. But something tells me that Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, and the Wright Brothers didn’t spend a lot of time making sure their knowledge was up to par with academic/scholarly standards.
These are strange times we’re living in. Beautiful and unique and momentous, but strange times nonetheless.
In upcoming posts, I will be discussing things very similar to this topic. Some of which include the role that the heart may play in the midst of our intellectualization. Also, I want to share a TED Talk called “The Science Delusion” by Rupert Sheldrake. It goes further into the truth about our process in science, and how human nature can tamper with the accuracy of our conclusions. Until next time, shoot me a message, comment below, let me know what you think!
Featured image credited to Kevin Bourland