S is for... Science
I'm alright at it. What does that mean?
Well, I guess it means that my knowledge of science is enough for me to get by. Like Wayne Rooney has got 'Just enough education to perform' tattooed on him, that's what I've got when it comes to science; just enough education to perform. As I've stated previously, I got a CC at GCSE and then went on to study physics at A Level, got an E at AS Level, and then dropped it.
And here is why I think I've only got 'just enough education to perform' when it comes to science. Partly because of my teachers. Definitely. Partly because of my parents. Definitely. Partly because of me. Partly because of my friends. Definitely. Partly because of 'culture and society'. Definitely. Partly because of...my situation. Definitely. The list could go on, but these are the things that I think are probably the most relevant. I mean, we are all the same but only on a fundamental level. It is our differences that make us unique and who we are.
Let's break the roles of the key players in this conversation from my perspective.
Teachers - Well obviously, they were there to teach me stuff.
Parents - Well obviously, they were there to parent.
Me - Well obviously, I was there.
Friends - Well obviously, they were there too.
Culture and society - Well obviously, I go to school, school is a part of culture and society, culture and society says I have to learn science. So I try to learn science. But lots of us are exposed to the idea of 'Why do I need to learn that? I'm never going to learn it in life.' So again, a lot of us probably start to question the things we are learning and either do or don't engage with them based on what we want to do and who we want to become. Culture and society is without question the biggest influencer of the lot - because it is where the most people and opinions exist. Especially now with social media. Definitely.
That is why everyone is fucking going mental most of the time and losing their shit the rest of the time.
My situation - Well obviously? Who knows?
I found it hard enough at times growing up being away from all my family. Let me give you an example. Emotionally I've been on an absolute roller coaster at times. One distinct memory I have is this. Only certain people in the world can experience something like I experienced in this example. It's quite a special set of circumstances, even on a fundamental level. It would have been in my first year of secondary school, so I was like 12 years old. I would still cry at times because I missed my family. One day, a teacher, comes up to me and says
'Chris you've got to stop this, you can't carry on doing this.'
Remember my family live 200 miles away up country. There isn't a great deal I can easily do as a teenager to see them. Write a letter, yeah great. Phone call, yeah great. Text message, yeah great (I think mobile phones were just becoming a thing when I was about 12.). Email/Internet, yeah great. Fact of the matter is, nothing substitutes face to face communication.
I know now, and knew at some point in my teens that what that teacher said was absolute bullshit. At the time though, and still to this day, I listen to people and take on board what they have to say. Because I believe that is a good thing to do. But in respect to that incident. One, I can do whatever the fuck I want, everyone can. Two maybe they were right, but I will go back to point one. I can do whatever the fuck I want, everyone can. Three, whilst they thought they were helping, they weren't really helping.
In terms of rationalising how I was feeling, my situation and what I could and should do about it. Yeah, I bought in to what the teacher said. They are a teacher, they should know better, they know what is right. I have to stop doing this and I can't carry on doing this. Yes I needed coaching and yes I needed encouragement and guidance - and for some people that might have worked. And whilst in some ways it worked for me, I don't think it was the best thing that this teacher could have done OR any teacher for that matter. Not unless, they were going to combine it with other messages and guidance.
Thing was school was supposed to be one place where I could thrive. If I tried hard and worked hard enough I could achieve things and feel good. When I didn't achieve things and began to struggle one of two things happened. Like all of us, I either persevered or I gave up. That's pretty much what we all do. Until we learn to put it on the back burner(or at least label it like that) and come back to it later on. But the thing is, at school you can't ever really 'give up'. Unless you stop turning up of course. But most of us continue to turn up and then there is a very good chance that you just learn how to saunter along, and get by. You turn up, but you don't really turn up. You are there in body, but not in mind.
So, here's the thing about science and why I struggled. Science is VERY MUCH to do with reality. As I've said, in the past sometimes I really struggled with the reality of my situation as a kid. Reality now is hard enough for most of us, if not all of us. It always will be. But it always will be if that's our attitude to reality.
But genuinely, this is the reason I struggled. And it's no ones fault. But if people knew better, then I could have coped better. It's just something that I've been spending my life dealing with and coming to terms with.
I best copy this next bit from Wikipedia, beacause - well I got CC in science at school so, we can't take my word for it now can we?
Atracurium besilate, also known as atracurium besylate, is a medication used in addition to other medications to provide skeletal muscle relaxation during surgery or mechanical ventilation.
Scroll down the page a little bit further...
Atracurium besilate was first made in 1974 by George H. Dewar, a pharmacist and a medicinal chemistry doctoral candidate in John B. Stenlake's medicinal chemistry research group in the Department of Pharmacy at Strathclyde University, Scotland.
Now it's not because I've had surgery that I reference this. Although, I have had surgery once; a hernia when I was about 22. Like I say, that's not the reason. The reason I struggled was more because, John B. Stenlake is my step-grandfather.
Why was that a problem?
Well, he is my step-grandfather. Step. That isn't much of a big deal to me now. In many ways I'm hugely proud to be able to call him that. I've pretty much always felt that way. What that drug was been able to contribute to the world when you take the time to think about it is astounding. But somewhere in that last sentence lies the struggle that I had when I was younger. 'Contribute to the world'. And the fact that he is my step-grandfather was always kind of a harsh reminder of my situation.
The whole contribute to the world thing - that's far from an understatement. It was recognised at a point that Atracurium is/was used in more than half the operations around the world. You know, operations, that change people's live or you know save people's lives. Now, the competitive streak in me goes - How can I compete with that? How can I match that? And the reality is... I can't. Because Atracurium has been made and invented now. The ONLY way I could reeaaaallly match that would be - destroy the world apart from a few people, destroy all the evidence and then be like...
Hey guys check me out I've made this cool shit that can help people perform better surgeries.
Oh right Chris, that's well cool. Thing is mate. You destroyed most of the world so we don't really have much use for that at the moment, mate. I'm relearning how to try and make fire, you dick.
Obviously that's not the only way I could match that contribution. It's all about perspective and interpretation. Besides, who the fuck says I have to contribute anything anyway?
Me...I do...and my conscience. Because I'm a team player.
Back to the point - seeing as I think the mind works kind of like this.
'Something happens, that triggers another thing. You can either cope or not cope with the something that happened and subsequently the thing that it triggers.'
When I would study science, which lets be honest is fucking hard enough as it is, I would be overwhelmed with triggers. Of my situation, of possibilities, of living up to expectation, of trying to understand what the fuck all this is about. Life.
I mean science is fact right? SCIENCE is where all the 'answers' are. Yeah, if you like. But it didn't provide me with the answers that I needed. Not the science that I got taught in school anyway. The 'social science' that I have learnt throughout life however, in and out of school - that, THAT has helped provide me with the answers and tools of how to cope. That's why I, and I imagine most of us immerse ourselves or escape into art and music and entertainment and leisure. In reality science, as a stand alone subject, what science provided me with is a fraction of what I needed.
That's why I believe in syncretism. No one subject has all the answers. You need all the answers to have all the answers. Syncretism is the closest thing to that. It's a holistic approach.
When I was doing science I simply couldn't focus my mind. If you look at the other subjects that I performed well in - there were a lot of creative 'escapist' subjects. I did perform well in the 'realist/objective' subjects. But only to a point. That's why people like all the shit we like, film, media, music, television, books, theatre. To escape. And that's fine. It's healthy. Just probably not all the time?
When I was about 20 or so. I remember having a breakdown. No idea, what was going on in my life at the time exactly. But my head and my world was busy and cloudy. All I know is that it resulted in me being curled up on my step-dads lap balling my eyes out. Because I couldn't handle what my step-grandfather had contributed to the world, and that shit I was going on about previously.I was about 20 years old. It wasn't my last breakdown AND chances are my last breakdown won't remain as my last breakdown either.
I guess I best wrap up my thoughts and feelings on my step-grandfather, just for the record.
What a fucking beast!
And as for science...I think the quote below sums up how I feel about science.
Who doesn't love a good quote?
"Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination." - John Dewey
Songs to listen to now:
The Scientist - Coldplay
The Sounds of Science - Beastie Boys
Science of the Mind - Lou Reed
Science & Faith - The Script
She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby
Weird Science - Oingo Boingo