Just came across an interesting abstract in 'Perspectives on Psychological science'
There are many guides on proper psychology, but far fewer on interesting
psychology. This article presents six guidelines for interesting
research. The first three—Phenomena First, Be Surprising,
and Grandmothers, Not Scientists—suggest how to
choose your research question; the last three—Be The Participant, Simple
and Powerful Beginnings—suggest how to answer your
research question and offer perspectives on experimental design,
analysis, and effective communication. These
guidelines serve as reminders that replicability is necessary but not
for compelling psychological science. Interesting
research considers subjective experience; it listens to the music of the
I have been reflecting as a young professional Clinical Psychologist, ... what next ?
Stumbled upon an interesting method to answer this question, the 'Gossip test' which suggests know yourself to be most interested in what you often talk/gossip about. This is from Francis Crick, while his colleague Watson had 'boredom test' advising young scientists to never start working on something which makes them bored (the duo are most famous for discovering the double helix DNA structure). This post seems to be emerging out of ashes of my last few work
experiences ... as well as a long conversation yesterday with someone who moved
out of my current work place, even before I joined.
If abilities, skills and preferences are mapped on a linear scale, from most fluid to most concrete, then mine falls more towards poetic-reflective-experiential-meditative side and only goes as far as biological-evolutionary-neuro-psychology, on the other side of the continuum. Beyond that, I start feeling a sense of dead dryness. The comfort zones are cognitive-affective-behavioral aspects, with increasing joy as I move towards reflective-poetic, and increasing intellectual curiosity as it goes towards neuroscience.
Further, if we add angle of 'purposefulness' then I am ever interested in socio-economic-political-environmental-developmental issues, and mapping how human issues interacts with the larger issues of the society and where all a mental health professional can contribute to the larger discourse, in theory & action. Again if 'data gathering methods' are included as one more angle in this whole picture, then I'm gradually getting most interested in first-person subjective research. Beyond which lies the richness of second-person qualitative work and specificity of third person quantitative research. And on the motivations angle, I guess knowledge (generation & dissemination) & one-to-one/small group human service (in terms of teaching, personal-development & psycho-therapy) are the biggest.
Now its getting complicated!
With development in technologies there comes heightened excitement for Neurosciences across the world (really big projects have started in Europe & USA). Simultaneously I see increasinglydiminishing space for anything which is poetic-reflective-experiential-meditative and subjective, no matter how much it can contribute to a life worth living, and a knowledge worth pursuing! This seems to be what I want to do do ... but how, even I don't know!!! Neuroscience is growing, but also at some level has been predominantly descriptive till now, and has also been criticized as 'stating the obvious'. I'm afraid it is going the way of molecular biology, and will someday reach its saturation point without answering the most interesting questions. However the amount of funding being poured into it has been mind-boggling. With a background in Clinical Psychology (training in Neuro-psychology is part of it) I get nudges & pushes towards starting my own lab in this area, which although I have resisted till date but how long? Although I'm open to intervention research/work in this area, but theoretically I also wonder beyond short-term fads, since every experience leaves a concurrent mark on the brain, (even psychotherapy bring such changes), isn't having a full-life the best cognitive-affective enhancement/enrichment program ? ? ?
Serendipitously, today's quote in my inbox is encouraging ...
"Gradually the horizon becomes distinct, the path grows clear, and we move towards a greater and greater certitude."
Its been such a long time since I wrote something... I miss the poetry days. Not much to write it seems ... or is it the opposite, since I am not writing, so nothing much is happening :)
As some poet said, 'I am not able to stand and stare' and thus do not feel I am truly living every moment. Guess its time to change something...
This post is says something I have thought over many times ... it puts it all very well...
What is clear from preliminary studies is that what counts as common sense around poverty in the UK, and very possibly across the Global North, is not encouraging. In summary, most people conceive of global poverty as synonymous with “aid,” which is seen as an act of charity. Charity, in turn, rests on the interaction between a powerful giver—be that an individual or a nation—and a grateful receiver. Agency resides almost exclusively with the powerful givers; the grateful receivers are simply understood as poor, needy, and without control over their own destiny. Further, in global settings, “the poor” are understood as an undifferentiated group without intrinsic strength, often referred to through the shorthand of “Africa,” where nothing ever changes. - Poverty has a creation story And here is link to their full report 'Finding Frames'
Had a nice time in and around Shivgarh, and Lucknow. Now time to join another assignment... Good bye Shivgarh.
The reason for another move is conveyed by there being no posts between 'Goodbye Bangalore' & 'Goodbye Shivgarh' ... (I wrote nothing, for my mindspace was crowded with work & work issues).
was going through some quotes from this famous book series 'Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and some of them really struck a chord with me, so I'm quoting
them here... :) One of my favorite is:
apologize for the inconvenience” - God's Final Message to His Creation.
many people have spotted, is, of course, terribly unfair.
just when you think life can’t possibly get any worse it suddenly does.
everything tie up neatly or will it be just like life: quite interesting in
parts, but no substitute for the real thing?
enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there
are fairies at the bottom of it too?
therefore I am.
In the end,
it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible
listlessness that starts to set in about 2:55, when you know you've taken all
the baths that you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at
any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use
the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move
relentlessly on to four o’clock, and
you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul.
not the same eyes with which he had last looked out at this particular scene,
and the brain which interpreted the images the eyes resolved, was not the same
brain. There had been no surgery involved, just the continual wrenching
time, oh so much time. And pain as well, so much of that, and so much time to
suffer it in too. One or the other on its own I could probably manage. It's
the two together that really get me down.
For a being
of light, gazing even for a moment into the heart of dark space has an effect
equivalent to a dozen near-death experiences. It's the Universe's way of
telling you to get on with your life. Which is a good thing, if the feeling
budding in a person's heart is a good feeling.
feeling of peace came over him. He knew
that at last, for once and for ever, it was now all, finally, over.
not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them round to dinner.
(earth) has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people
living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time... Many were
increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down
from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees
had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.
planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins
because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst
all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always
believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for
precisely the same reasons.
of finding out what's really going on in the universe are so remote, the only
thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied … Look at
me: I design coastlines... I'd far rather be happy than right, any day.’
‘No, that's where it all falls down, of course.’
sounded like quite a good lifestyle otherwise.’
you can see into my mind?' (Arthur)
stared in astonishment. 'And ...?' Arthur.
me how you can manage to live in anything that small.'
you want me to sit in a corner and rust or just fall apart where I'm standing?
into the night sky is looking into infinity — distance is incomprehensible and
Space, is big.
Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely,
mind mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way
down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space...
ship was already thundering toward the upper reaches of the atmosphere, on its
way out into the appalling void that separates the very few things
there are in the Universe from one another.
He was wrong
to think he could now forget that the big, hard, oily, dirty, rainbow-hung
Earth on which he lived, was a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, lost in
the unimaginable infinity of the Universe.
really need to know for the moment is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if
you start from a position of thinking it's pretty damn complicated in the first
There is a
theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is
for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by
something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory
which states that this has already happened.
The story so
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a
'I refuse to
prove that I exist,' says God, 'for proof denies faith and without faith I am
universe is vast to you. Vast in time, vast in space. That's because of the
filters through which you perceive it. But I was built with no filters at
all, which means I perceive the Mish-Mash which contains all possible universes
but which has, itself, no size at all. For me, anything is possible. I am
omniscient and omnipotent, extremely vain and, what is more, I come in a handy
You have to work out how much of the above is true.
On having a
The Guide is
definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.
If life is
going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot afford
to have is a sense of proportion.
of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and
recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise
known as the How, Why and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is
characterized by the question how can we eat? The second by
the question why do we eat? And the third, by the
question where shall we have lunch?"
that the Question and the Answer are mutually exclusive. Knowledge of one
logically precludes knowledge of the other. It is impossible that both can ever
be known about the same Universe.
nothing there that wasn't there before. I'm just using light to draw your
attention to certain drops at certain moments. Now what do you see?’
the point of showing me something I can't see?’
‘So that you understand that just because you
see something, it doesn't mean to say it's there. And if you don't see
something, it doesn't mean to say it's not there. It's only what your
senses bring to your attention.’
And as they
drifted up, their minds sang with the ecstatic knowledge that either what they
were doing was completely and utterly and totally impossible, or that physics
had a lot of catching up to do.
mostly immensely relieved to think that virtually everything that anybody had
ever told her was wrong.
laws & other funnies ;)
difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly
go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong, goes wrong, it
usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
There was a
point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind.
One of the
problems has to do with the speed of light and the difficulties involved in
trying to exceed it. You can't. Nothing
travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news,
which obeys its own special laws.
they wouldn't be expecting him to do was to be there in the first place. Only
an absolute idiot would be sitting where he was, so he was winning already. A common mistake that people make when
trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the
ingenuity of complete fools.
merely that their left hand didn't always know what their right hand was doing,
so to speak; quite often their right hand had a pretty hazy notion as well.
It is known
that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an
infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them
is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any
finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so
the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be
zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is
also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the
products of a deranged imagination.
There is an
art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to
throw yourself at the ground and miss. … Clearly, it is this second part, the
missing, which presents the difficulties.
Relativity, Matter tells Space how to curve, and Space tells Matter how to
It is very easy to be blinded to the essential
uselessness of them (machines), by the sense of achievement you get from
getting them to work at all.
elevators imbued with intelligence and precognition became terribly frustrated
with the mindless business of going up and down, up and down, experimented
briefly with the notion of going sideways, as a sort of existential protest,
demanded participation in the decision-making process and finally took to
squatting in basements sulking.
impoverished hitchhiker visiting any planets in the Sirius star system these
days can pick up easy money working as a counselor for neurotic
from knowing what I don't need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there
are things to know that I don't know. Protect me from knowing that I decided
not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen.’
another prayer that goes with it that's very important. … 'Lord, lord, lord.
Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer. Amen' and that's
it. Most of the trouble people get into in life comes from leaving out
that last part.’
tips for living & dying & more...
There is a
moment in every dawn when light floats, there is the possibility of magic.
Creation holds its breath.
be real. Every imaginable thing is happening somewhere along
the dimensional axis. These things happen a billion times over with exactly the
same outcome and no one learns anything. Whatever a person can think, imagine,
wish for, or believe has already come to pass. Dreams come true all the
time, just not for the dreamers.
engineering enables us to shortcut all the business of waiting for one of those
horribly few spaceships that passes through your galactic sector every year or
so to make up its mind about whether or not it feels like giving you a lift.
You want a lift, a ship arrives and gives you one. The pilot may think he has
any one of a million reasons why he has decided to stop and pick you up. The
real reason is that I have determined that he will.
‘This is you
being extremely vain, isn't it, little bird?’
the Guide moved on, taking its building with it, it left a
little like a thief in the night. Exactly like a thief in the night in
fact. It usually left in the very early hours of the morning, and the
following day there always turned out to be a very great deal of stuff
missing. Whole cultures and economies would collapse in its wake, often
within a week, leaving once-thriving planets desolate and shell-shocked but still
somehow feeling they had been part of some great adventure.
R is a
velocity measure, defined as a reasonable speed of travel that is consistent
with health, mental well-being and not being more than say five minutes late. It
is therefore clearly an almost infinitely variable figure according to
circumstances, since the first two factors vary not only with speed taken as an
absolute, but also with awareness of the third factor. Unless handled
with tranquility, this equation can result in considerable stress, ulcers
and even death.
know what it is you want to be true, instinct is a very useful device for
enabling you to know that it is.