Praise for the Outsider in Science
With the peer review process run amok, it's hard for people who are not tied to a major research institution or university to get their work taken seriously.
This article is a call to action (CTA) for educators and also to mental health professionals.
Gone are the days of the amateur scientist, the mad ones with laboratories in their basement (pronounced la-BOR-atree), the ones patient and conscientious enough to run experiments with the best equipment available.
It's not that those days are gone, there will always be mad scientists and inventors. But what has changed is our esteem of them. If prevention of pseudoscience and science literacy are the bathwater, we have thrown out the baby.
The establishment institutions have always kept an editorial stranglehold on information, serving as a cancel culture type of mechanism. Repudiation and discreditation result in real harm, to the individual being repudiated by peers but also to society not having access to their work. A lot of solid research from marginalized countries also gets, if not suppressed, then ignored. This is especially true in consciousness research, where so much is going on outside of the Anglo world.
Many of the best breakthroughs in science come about outside of establishment walls. So many discredited individuals also end up contributing great things to humanity, like Galieo. Rubert Sheldrake is a contemporary heretic who comes to mind.
I agree, pseudoscience is wily, yes. Fake academic journals. Jargon, page after page of graphs, complicated-looking maths. An ignorant reader could believe or assume what is being presented is valid, and especially if it appears in one of those journals that's just the arm of a special interest group.
But in a wiki world, the science community itself can serve as the editor-in-chief. The community, acting as a whole, guides the less literate readers towards more effective critical thinking and to our shared truth.
CTA for educators! Inject science literacy modules into the schools of our lucid future. If every person who knows how to read could also tell the difference between bad vs. good research methodology and design, then we would be better judges of whether a particular line of inquiry is worth pursuing.
CTA to establishment scholars, scientists, and engineers! Establish credible open source journals that allow for amateur submissions and which promote the true tenets of science.
CTA for journal editors, especially chiefs of major publications like Science or Nature! Welcome and publish more submissions from outsiders, including members of academic institutions in marginalized countries.
CTA to outsider scientists, amateurs, laypeople, psychonauts, and to you, dear reader! Do diligent research on your psyche so that with aggregate data we can come up with a cognitive map useful for AI engineers!
Hey, maybe Lucid Humanity will start a Cognitive Mapping Project to this end? It would take decades but how cool would that be?
Why Cognitive Mapping?
Phenomenology (subjectivity) undermines the robustness of psychology research.
Our psyche is not deterministic. A cognitive-emotional state is not quantifiable, not through brain imaging, neurochemical measures; not through behavior observation, and certainly not through self-report data.
When it comes to psychological knowledge and mental health, we need to each act as our own mad scientist.
How? Start with mindfulness of course. Keep a log of what works and what doesn't, setting and resetting goals and intentions. You can do that using psychedelic-assisted therapy, which helps you to understand your own cognitive-emotional architecture, or using whatever means work best for you.