Freeing the Mind from the Monkey


Doing Science is the most exciting activity I could imagine doing. The intellectual endeavor of using creativity to explore and connect novel ideas just feels...very...good. The deeper understanding of reality that arises from this exercise generates a visceral surge of excitement that I cannot replicate doing something else. Of course, the transformative power of associating ideas to change one's point of view of the world is not exclusive to science. I truly believe that it's traversal to all knowledge producing enterprises of our species - from art, philosophy, religion, and so on. But science works best for me. However, unfortunately, the intellectual part of it often comes short in the actual job of “doing science”. The pressure and time spent in implementing, polishing and sharing one's Eureka moments is substantial. In between writing grants and papers, and more grants and re-writing those papers, one is often left with little time to just think. Additionally, there is great pressure for a scientist to increasingly specialize to very specific niches, which – at least for me – generates a feeling of mental saturation or boredom. As John Naisbitt put it, “sometimes I found myself drowning in information but starved for knowledge.”

And that is the reason why I decided to start this blog. I hope it will work as my intellectual oasis in the desert that science can sometimes be. I want to write and explore topics that I am interested about in a faster, flexible and most of all more relaxed format than the scientific paper. This space will serve as a repository of ideas that I feel worth writing about (and hopefully also for others to read, of course). A final note on the title of the blog: “Freeing the Mind from the Monkey” is a sentence coined by late ethnobotanist and psychonaut Terence Mckenna. He argued that technology is the real skin of our species, not our monkey bodies. We make our world by applying mental filters to transform matter into buildings, cars, computers, etc. This new world that we shape is only limited by our imagination. Mckenna predicted that our monkey body will carry our minds up until a stage where technology would release us from the limitations of its shell, and push ourselves into pure imagination à la Williams Blake. On a literal interpretation of his thoughts, I am fascinated by the possibility that science and technology will reach a stage one day, where our species will be able to turn inwards and experience a reality only limited by our imagination. On a more metaphorical note, I see my job as scientist as my monkey body and this blog as a space where I can let my imagination run free.

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