This week I sat next to a student on the train. She was revising her notes on “clinical research”. I was struck by her list of keypoints under the heading “the scientific method”
I have a life long interest in science, but for me, science is just one form of enquiry. I’m actually an insatiably curious person. I love learning. I’m constantly reading. I read on the train, I read in cafes, at home, at work, everywhere. Having a kindle reader on my iphone and my ipad has made it even easier to weave reading into my day. I have thousands of books in my own library. I have google searches set up, rss feeds delivered to my MrReader app, Flipboard and Zite apps on my ipad…..I’m a reader!
But I’m also a photographer and a writer, as you can see if you browse through this blog. And I’m a thinker. I love to learn, to reflect, to understand. I love that every work day I get to spend time with people and try to understand them.
I observe, I describe and I explain.
But predict? I’m not so keen on that one. I find life so complex and every human being so unique, that I find it impossible to predict the future. In broad brush terms, or in generalisations, or statistical probabilities I can have a bash, but I know that for this person, right here, right now, I can’t predict how things will go.
No thank you. Way too much compliance and control going on in our society for my liking and it doesn’t seem to be improving much. I’m a lot more keen on values than I am on control.
Is science about control? I thought it was about discovery and wonder. I thought it was about learning with every new insight that we have more to learn.
I was very impressed the first time I read Deleuze and Guattari who described three ways of thinking –
Art – which is thinking about percepts and affects
Philosophy – thinking about concepts
Science – thinking about function
I like that. Science for me is about discovering patterns, and getting some insights into how something works. That’s what I loved about my undergraduate medical degree – discovering the anatomy, physiology, biology of how the body works. It’s been years and years of daily medical practice, of reading, of reflecting and of thinking, which has brought me to my present place of understanding how a person works. And I sure haven’t got all THAT figured out!
There’s something that jars with me about science directed towards control. But maybe that’s because I don’t like to be controlled!