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The Scientific Mind: Linear or Conceptual?

Science is reliable.  We can trust its conclusions.  It is logical.  It tells us what’s true.  Do you agree?

In school, we teach the scientific method.  It’s how we test a question (or hypothesis) to determine whether it is correct or not.



For basic scientific concepts, this is a straightforward process, one that is practiced in the labs of every high school.  An experiment can be replicated over and over to show consistent results. Scientific method is the linear framework that we use to test a hypothesis step by step.

Much of what we would commonly think of as science or scientific professions deals with subjects that have been tested and proven.  The medical profession, for example, relies on what is known about how the human body functions, the effects of pharmaceuticals, the effects of diet and exercise, and the role of genetics.  All of this has been demonstrated by rigorous and numerous scientific studies.

But physicians, for example, pretty much stick to following the established rules and procedures that have been determined for them.  They are not acting as “scientists” who are coming up with new hypotheses and testing new treatments.  Physicians follow a linear paradigm of applied science.

There are exceptions, but they tend not to be well-received.  The example that opened my eyes is the story of Dr. Robert Atkins.  He read about a diet, experimented on himself and got good results, then had certain of his cardiology patients follow the diet and got similarly good results.  He documented his findings.  He did everything you are supposed to do as a scientist……except that his conclusions ran counter to the accepted body of knowledge at the time.  And in our world, we really don’t want physicians acting as scientists.  We don’t want them experimenting on us.  We expect the medical profession to follow the rules.  Linear application of science.

The medical profession is not unusual.  A large number of those trained as scientists, end up working in situations where they are applying known scientific principles to, say, produce a product in a consistent manner.  This is using science in a linear manner.

I dare say this is why so many with science degrees who go out and get a “real job,” lose interest, and switch into business roles.  Studying science encourages thinking and creativity, but working in applied science is all about following the rules (linear) and NOT stepping out of bounds or being creative (being conceptual).

The general population is comfortable with the scientific principles that are known, proven, and well-established.  This is nothing new.  We are happy to embrace the idea of science when it proves what we are already comfortable with.

It’s a different story when you go outside the box.

Conceptual science is the domain of the researcher.  And that’s where science gets complicated because there are all kinds of assumptions and outside influences that are messy.  The more complicated the hypothesis that is being tested, the harder it is to control the variables of an experiment.  And most real-life situations are complicated.

So, what exactly is Science, anyway?  Is it the proven facts that we use in Applied Science?  Or is it the constant questioning of the unknown?

This is an interesting paradox.  Most people want science to tell them the absolute answers, but testing what is outside the box is really what science is all about.  It’s easy and safe to follow established procedures and that is what has allowed us to take advantage of the discoveries that science has found so far.

It’s a different thing altogether to come up with some crazy hypothesis and test it out.  But this is what higher education in the sciences teaches you.  It’s creative thinking, experimentation (i.e. play), and then documenting what you did.



A pure scientist will be free of bias of any kind.  This is very, very rare in our world.  Who is paying for the research?  Who does the scientist work for?  Is there an expected result, and how will the researchers feel if they do years of research, only to come up with nothing?  Are the conclusions too far from generally accepted wisdom?  If the conclusions seem crazy, will they be able to compete for that next research grant?

Some become so attached to their hypothesis that they have a very hard time seeing the facts that contradict it, and only see and pursue the research that affirms it.

After all, we are talking about humans here.

I’ve done enough research, analysis, and documentation to know that there is much more room to “spin” one’s conclusions than most people realize.  You can do all your work but then you have to “tell the story.”  Some are better at telling stories than others.  Some have motivations to tell their stories from one angle rather than another.  If telling your story in a slightly different way means you can keep your job and feed your family, what do you think most people will do?

Science Outside the Box

If you really want to explore and think about these ideas, read The Field by Lynne McTaggert.  It is an easy-to-read book about cutting edge scientists who are looking at observable things in the world that don’t fit into our established paradigm.

A linear thinker who works in a scientific field will color within the lines.  He or she will follow the principles that are proven.  Understand, this is how our world functions!   Otherwise, there would be mass chaos!  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this role, unless the linear thinkers become so comfortable in their paradigm that they are unable to leave room for the role of the conceptual thinkers.

The conceptual thinkers approach the world of science with a mind that has no limits.  There are relatively few of these people, but we need them!  Those that think conceptually, outside the box.  This is where progress is made.  This is where our comfortable paradigms get questioned and stretched.  This is where there are no forbidden questions.  This is where we ask “What If?” without fear of where that will lead us.

This kind of scientist is less concerned with being right and knowing “the answer” – rather, it is all about gaining a better understanding.  This scientist is never done with the quest.

My conceptual-thinking, science-trained mind is always open to learning something new.  It’s why I constantly ponder and wonder.  I think and think because I find it interesting, like working on a puzzle.  I’m sure it can appear obsessive, and I also think this can be misunderstood because it might resemble worrying.  But fear has no place in the obsessively thinking mind of a scientist.  At least that’s how it is for me.  It’s also why I’m driven to “tell my story” and be understood.  It’s why I welcome dialog and other viewpoints.  The process never ends, it just keeps looping on toward a greater understanding.

That’s my attempt to explain the Scientific Mind.



Planned Parenthood: Just Sayin’ No

Yesterday’s blog post by Ryan Holiday, regarding Planned Parenthood’s rejection of a $500,000 donation by Tucker Max, provides a great example of the way the “Old Energy” paradigm is clashing with the “New Energy” paradigm.  The situation illustrates a lot of the concepts I’ve been reading and writing about.

For anyone who hasn’t been in “my loop,” let me get you up to speed briefly.  I’ve been writing about how the world is shifting, how the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves and our society are balancing, how we can move away from judgment and the mentality of “right” and “wrong”, how each person has their own unique perspective on the world that “just is”, and how some of the crazy behavior we are seeing “out there” might be explained by this shift.

I don’t expect anyone to necessarily agree with me on this stuff.  I write primarily as an outlet for myself, and I share knowing that some might find concepts here that they find interesting to think about, and others might find nothing at all.  I have no ego attached to either case.

I’m not going to repeat too many basic ideas here, so if you want to dig, feel free to read some previous posts.  Whatever works for you.

So, here’s the basic story:

Ryan Holiday, a publicist/marketing guy, works for Tucker Max.  Tucker has a big tax liability, and asks Ryan if he has any ideas.  Ryan suggests Tucker make a big contribution to Planned Parenthood, get a clinic named after him, generate lots of good PR.  The guys figure that since PP in Texas is having a rough time financially, they win, too.  The problem is, Tucker has made some not-so-nice references to PP and their clients, and PP decides to refuse his offer.  Ryan and Tucker are not happy about this, and make a fuss about how stupid Planned Parenthood is (which, aha! brings them more publicity).

And here’s my perspective:

The Old Energy paradigm, which is weighted toward power, materialism, and control, totally explains this scenario.  This paradigm is dominated by masculine energy.  Money talks, especially when the target is poor and vulnerable, and the fear of scarcity rules.  Judgments are made about who should do what, and the approach is competitive.  There is an attitude of “I know what’s good for YOU.”  When power does not get its way, it has a temper tantrum, intended to create doubt and fear.  Marketing = Manipulation.  There’s lots of discussion about who should have done what, and who is right or wrong.  Drama is created, and the Old Energy LOVES drama.  (Some refer to this as the third dimension.)

In the New Energy paradigm, masculine and feminine approaches are balanced.  No choice is right or wrong.  Each person or group is allowed to make its own choices and those choices are respected.  (One is ALLOWED to say “no.”)  Sure, they may have to deal with consequences of those choices, but that’s the concern of the one making the choice. It’s the ultimate in personal responsibility.  There is acceptance of “what is”, no fighting reality.   (This is how a fifth dimensional world operates.)

This shift from Old to New is subtle, but it’s happening.  Just look at how the world has changed in the last decades.  And 2012 is the tipping point for the shift.  It’s going to get harder and harder for those who play by the Old Paradigm rules to navigate their way through the world.  It’s going to be increasingly frustrating, and we’re going to see a lot of kicking and screaming.

And (hooray!!) it’s finally going to “work” for those who approach the world the New way.  Those whose intentions are for the Greater Good.  Those who operate from Love and Compassion.  Those who respect others without trying to control or manipulate them.  The Old Guard will still regard us as weak and naive, and they will continue to convince themselves that they are “right”.

Our time has come, finally.

Ryan and Tucker, you should know that the New Energy will not make you “wrong”.  It will respect your right to make your own decisions, to ask for what you want, and to conduct yourselves in any way you desire.  It’s all good.  The New Energy will not judge you.  Just don’t be surprised when the New Energy neglects to get involved in the drama and ignores you, or when you don’t get the kind of reaction and cooperation you expected.  When you encounter the same roadblocks over and over again, when you get stuck and you start asking yourselves “Why isn’t this working?” just remember that you will be presented with the same lesson over and over, as many times as you like, until you learn whatever it is that life is trying to teach you.  Hey, it’s all part of the adventure of life.

To the reader:  Do you want to be successful going forward?  If what I am saying has any truth to it, it might be a good idea to learn about how this New Paradigm is going to work.  Here are some people who are talking about this stuff – do a little research and decide for yourself what YOU think:


Tom Shadyac – writer/director of Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor, Patch Adams, etc.

Lynne McTaggart – author of The Field and The Intention Experiment, about the science of connectedness and consciousness

Lenore Skenazy – author of Free Range Kids, who writes about parenting without fear

Lee Carroll – author and channeler of Kryon’s messages about the shift

Ernie Fitzpatrick – LRC Houston, a spiritual community with Christian roots

Izzy Kalman – expert on handling bullying