I love science.
There’s this wonderful motivational system in our brains, called curiosity.
When curiosity is satisfied, it feels good, not like other goods, like the taste of food, or a beautiful sunset, or a loving embrace – all wonderful goods – the satisfaction of curiosity has a deep-sort of glow, that… satisfies. It feels… good when curiosity receives knowledge.
School crushes that out of us, the joy of curiosity’s satisfaction. It makes knowledge tedious and boring. It’s a product of trauma, childhood trauma. Our educational model is called the “Cathedral Schools” model from the 12th Century. Education was centered around the Cathedral and priests, learning Latin and things. We still have that model. I hate it. We need a complete overhaul of that.
School crushes curiosity, crushes joy in learning and knowledge.
I endured school. They skipped me a grade, back when I was like six. I went into the principal’s office and this man gave me a bunch of puzzle stuff (I now recognize the puzzles as the Stanford-Binet, which would have been about right for 1960). That was at the end of first grade. At the start of the next year I was in third grade. I skipped second.
School was still boring. It wasn’t the stuff, it was the pace. Oh my god, soooo slooooow. And then, in third grade, I’m now a year younger than everyone on the playground. The education system needs a complete top-to-bottom overhaul of the “Cathedral Schools” model – iSchools. Bill, Melinda? Dreamworks? Pixar? Universities can provide curriculum for each developmental stage, can you package it for kids please.
I endured school. My parents were happy with A-B range so I maintained an A-B range without much effort. My dad went to UCLA, both my brothers went to UCLA, guess where I went? That was when the intellectual brutalization of our school system began to open up, when I began college. I remember the thrill of curiosity spring back the first time I held a “Catalogue of Classes” in my hands. You mean… I could choose? Anything I wanted? Really? Oh my god, that was delight.
So that was pretty fun. Course content was still pretty easy, but I could wander all over the place – satisfying curiosity. I wandered in art history, and political science, and biology, and chemistry, and literature, and anthropology, history, sports, all over the place. It was wonderful. My major starting as a Freshman was psychology. I’ve always wanted to be a clinical psychologist – it’s a family thing, understanding, working through, and helping.
So my core line was psychology from the git-go, and I love science. It satisfies… curiosity. the deeper the curiosity – the greater that… good feeling… is from knowledge. It’s like Ben and Jerry’s without the calories, mmmm, that’s rich and tasty knowledge.
With the brain, we build what we use. If you want to play the piano, what do you do? You practice, over-and-over again – using the muscles in the patterns, recognizing the sheet music and translating the dots into muscle movement – over-and-over again. We build what we use. You begin to get better at playing the piano. Soon, you’re playing simple songs – use-use-use – practice – then you’re playing better. We build what we use, the brain circuits and networks. We sort of “groove in” the neural pathways.
I’ve got a deep groove on curiosity and its satisfaction. Over and over again, Sumerians, cell biology, quantum physics, origin of human languages, evolution of species, history of Europe, Asia, Africa, America, knowledge, curiosity. It’s just a nice feeling.
I am a quantum physics junkie, and YouTube is like my crack cocaine of curiosity satisfaction – just straight mainline fixes with all the lectures and documentaries and stuff.
I am NOT a math guy. I hate math, oh my god. Back in the “educational” system the math stuff was like torturing me on the Rack for however long they did it to me, hours, days. Oh, math was awful.
Not because I didn’t understand it, but because I did. Math “class” was essentially doing big long worksheets of problems, oh my god that was torture. I’d get it by the third problem. Okay, got it. Can we move on please? No. What? You have to do it for an hour. What? Why? I’ve got it. Math was just torture.
With the other classes, at least the information kept coming – slowly – but it was nevertheless coming. Math was just the SAME thing over-and-over on these worksheets.
My Freshman year in college at UCLA (yay, release) I took a calculus course. UCLA is on the quarter system, I’m living in the dorms on campus first semester away from home, UCLA is on a quick-quick 10-week Quarter system, I’m a Freshman, taking a required math course for the psychology major (calculus-math is needed for statistics knowledge in psychology). Needless to say, I didn’t do much work… or any work. Finals came, I hadn’t turned in any homework, my entire course grade rested on the final to pull my grade for the course out of the fire. I read the calculus textbook the night before the final and got a B, A on the final, B for the course. It’s math. Same thing over and over. What’s the “thing” this time? Okay. It’s not hard, the same thing every time. New formulas are just new “things” to do over-and-over.
Those were the days before calculators. Advanced technology was a slide rule. Did you see the movie Apollo 13 with all those rocket scientists pulling out their slide rules?
I stopped working at one point in school. Fourth grade. I just stopped turning stuff in. Pretty much everything. Reports and homework. I just stopped turning stuff in. I was a good kid, well-behaved, I didn’t act out or anything. I just stopped participating. That’s what it felt like on my end. I just wasn’t going to participate anymore.
I remember they had all sorts of parent-teacher conferences, and I talked to the school counselor and stuff. When my mom asked what was wrong, I said it was really-really boring and I’m just not interested, which was the truth.
They moved me up again, this time to a fourth-fifth grade combination class, so I was still with some fourth graders developmentally (who were still a year older than me), but I could also be doing the fifth grade curriculum with the other fifth graders in the class. That helped a lot.
School and I are old-old adversaries.
But I love knowledge and learning – knowledge is the satisfaction of curiosity. When curiosity is strong, the satisfaction is so sweet a feeling.
I fully understand that other people aren’t like that. Some are, some aren’t. Some enjoy the good-feeling of physical exercise and working out – I understand that good feeling, but it’s not the spot-on one for me. Couch potato has its good too. Some people love that good feeling from social bonding, and I know that one too, but again, for me, that’s not my spot-on good one.
There’s lots of sources of that good feeling, different textures and qualities. People choose the ones that work for them, kind of trial and error. For me, curiosity is like a hunger, like a physical hunger for food, but in the brain, in my thinking systems, they want food, knowledge.
And when my curiosity gets knowledge, it’s like a big Thanksgiving turkey dinner and that sleepy full happy feeling. Ahhhhhh.
Quantum physics is my Thanksgiving dinner, mmmhmm. I put the math in a little package to the side (I basically know what you’re saying but I’m not interested in it at your level, unless I have to – and sometimes it is… but nothing more than necessary on the math, okay. I’m a psychologist, that’s where I live).
Do you know how I relax and unwind? – how I unstress –
I watch episodes of PBS Space Time. I love that series.
That’s how I relax, watching explanations of physics and cosmology and stuff. My favorite – and one you most definitely should watch – is entitled:
But I wander from there. YouTube is amazing. I’m old guy. I grew up with black-and-white television; I Love Lucy and Milton Berle. And now there’s “YouTube” on my “laptop” – a magical world indeed. These new phone-video-picture thingies – Harry Potter pictures. Amazing.
I have a lot of fun on YouTube. Have you heard about the Reptoids living at the center of the Earth? That was an interesting wander into psychotic-land. YouTube spans Reptoids to Sir Roger Penrose.
Science. that’s where we’re headed with this court-involved family conflict thing. To science. To quantum physics level of science in professional psychology. Why not? Is there a reason not to go to the scientific knowledge of professional psychology?
I’ve done that with every pathology I’ve worked with, ADHD, autism, trauma, now this. Did you know there’s research linking gut flora to autism (those little bacteria microbes in your digestive system; they’re called our “gut flora”). What the dickens do the microbes in our intestines have to do with the brain-based pathology of autism? Research is there, figure it out.
As a science-based clinical psychologist, I’m heavily into brain neurology and the research on regulatory systems and representational networks of the brain, how they’re organized, how they function, how they’re integrated.
Before I enter with everyone the science world of professional psychology and child development (the neuro-development of the brain and brain systems), I want to set the standard for science.
Biology as a standard gets messy because we don’t know a lot (they know a lot – but life is sooooo complicated), chemistry is too narrow, math is too narrow (somewhat; but I hate math anyway, so we won’t use math as the standard), history is too vague and open to interpretation. Science is in Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Feynman. In Maxwell and electricity, in Bohr and the atom, in Hawing and black holes (I hear you, math people; Mysteries of the Mathematical Universe).
That’s where science is clearly revealed, in the Galileo-Newton-Einstein line.
That’s the standard of science. So let me share two, what I consider to be required curriculum pieces for all clinical psychologists working with court-involved pathology – these two YouTube videos represent the standard of science – which we will then apply with the scientifically established knowledge of professional psychology. The child is not a black hole, but science is science.
This is the standard set by science:
I understand that not everyone shares my love of science, some enjoy the good feelings from physical exercise and they work-out, some are filled by the joys of ambition and they succeed and build empires, some enjoy the social joys and they become actors on the stage. Each of us finds our joy and satisfaction.
Mine is science. Science is truth. It can answer from the origins, to the end, and all things between. From galaxies and the Hubble telescope, to genetics and medical miracles, personal phones and the Internet of information. Science seeks truth, and solutions are found in the application of science – in the application of scientific knowledge – in the application of the scientific method.
Science is lively with debate – about data. String theory does not produce a provable-disprovable prediction – is it worthy of interest? Science enjoys debate. Look at this picture of science. Amazing. There’s Einstein and Bohr, and Max Planck, Marie Curie, Dirac, and Heisenberg (not quite sure if he’s there, he’s there but you can’t tell exactly where).
The story surrounding of this conference is amazing, Einstein and Bohr debating every day, Einstein offers a problem to quantum physics every morning, Bohr an answer every evening. This is the standard of science.
That’s what a professional conference looks like.
Do you know what the current interpretation of the data in quantum physics is called? The Copenhagen interpretation. This conference picture of an all-star physics line-up came from the conferences that brought the Copenhagen interpretation into mainstream.
Denmark. In the solution we are creating for this court-involved family conflict pathology – why isn’t Denmark leading in the application of science? Attachment, complex trauma, personality disorders, family systems therapy – and – the neurological development of the brain within the parent-child relationship. Science. Current science in professional psychology and child development. Why isn’t Denmark – the origin for the Copenhagen interpretation in quantum physics – leading in the application of psychological science with children?
I recently traveled to the Netherlands to present. The Netherlands is home of Gerard t’Hooft, a world-leading physicist. Why isn’t the Netherlands matching their scientific knowledge in physics to their application of scientific knowledge with children? England has produced Niels Bohr, Paul Dirac, and Stephen Hawking in physics, and yet doesn’t apply the scientific knowledge from psychology to solution with their own children. Why not?
Because they don’t care about children. Trauma. Our neglect of children is the ripple of out own childhood trauma. Read deMause on the history of childhood, and Robin Grille’s book, Parenting for a Peaceful World based on the work of deMause.
The history of childhood is the history of child abuse. Did you know that? Probably not. No one cares. That’s called the bystander role in childhood trauma – the ones who don’t care, who don’t look, who don’t see. An awful feeling, isn’t it. That’s the feeling of children abandoned to child abuse. You should learn more about the history of childhood. We’ve been abusing children for so long, and so frightfully, violence and sexual abuse, right up to.. today.
I don’t expect everyone to have my love of science. But science is the source of truth, and the application of scientific knowledge and the scientific method is the source of solutions. For everything.
Including court-involved complex family conflict surrounding divorce. Science: the neuro-development of the brain during childhood, regulatory and representational networks, complex trauma and the attachment system.
Science. The foundation to solution.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857