I was talking with a young doctor about how a fascination with neuroscience had led in part to the idea of Mindsettle. He asked me why I found neuroscience interesting, so I talked about how inspiring the work of Baroness Susan Greenfield is to me, how Norman Doige’s books had made the subject so accessible, how reading John Medina’s BRAIN RULES had given me insights into how we learn and how meeting some of the researchers at Queensland Brian Institute (QBI) led to an understanding of some of the guiding principles for a healthy brain. Then one of the kids interrupted the conversation and we moved on with our day.
Yet the question has stayed with me. I think it has something of the fervour of an explorer – that quest to know the unknown. Curiosity and the quest for knowledge lead to more questions than answers. It’s the search that’s the thing, the not knowing rather than the certainties of the absolute. We need to remember that these absolute truths are often opinions based only on the information we have – not all the information that is available. This makes them perhaps only somewhat true, though in some sectors of our society this leads to chest beating and browbeating. When did it become more important to know it all than to not. We need to gather information from all sources not just those that back our version of the truth.
The QBI researchers, all talked about how little is understood about the brain, likening their work to deep space exploration. I heard Lavinia Codd recently speak about watching a neuron regenerate in the lab. The discovery of neuroplasticity is wondrous, it gives me hope that change is endlessly possible. And possibilities encourage feeling hopeful and hope encourages life.