"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Friday, August 6, 2010

THE MUSEUM OF THE BRAIN: Dedicated to the Memory of Robert "Bob" Lewis

Humans often suffer from kainophobia, the fear of new things. Of course, this is a fear that most children do not experience. It is adults, be they policy makers, administrators, educators, who are beset by this fear. They prefer to stay quivering in their cocoons, or should I say, fossilised in their mausoleums.

We must move on from enclosing ourselves within bricks and mortar to liberating ourselves with brains and wits.

To this end, the time has come for humankind to become humane and kind. To ourselves, to our co-inhabitants of this planet. We have a primal need to address our spirituality. All of this comes from life, governed by the functions of the human brain.

Robert "Bob" Lewis, visionary extraordinaire, from Aspen, Colorado, is a dreamer of the highest order. His conception of a Museum of the Brain is shown on the following pages.

We worked together over several months, endeavouring to transform vision into reality. Our focus has been Singapore, a country with the ideal infrastructure and leadership to build such a Museum.

The structure and functions of the museum would be dynamic, as a constantly evolving medium where people can interact and learn about the brain and its extended functions.

Children and adults would see it as a stimulus to learning ~ when they see how the brain thinks, and where it all happens, they will be prompted to think about thinking. The result is enhanced awareness, and the emergence of creativity from the wellspring of the most phenomenal product on the planet ~ the human brain.

As we have often witnessed, schools teach us what to think. The Museum of the Brain can teach us how to think. The idea is that multitudes of children and adults will tour the Museum each year and learn a new appreciation of their wonderful brain, and how to cultivate it and protect it.

The Museum can be the core structure around which satellites are located. These could be

■ a centre for brain research (infants, adolescents, adults, the elderly)

■ a centre for research into the mind of humankind

■ a centre dedicated to the study of human behaviour

■ a centre for the preservation and growth of our precious ecosystem

All of this would be an enduring tribute to an unprecedented partnership between government and private industry.

The Museum of the Brain would be an enthralling and exciting project. Planning and building the Museum will take the combined skills of five disciplines: neuroscience, education and psychology, architecture, computer technology and finance.

Such a Museum is not designed to store mere artifacts of the past. It will be a ‘living museum’ that is updated in real time. Multimedia technology would be ideal for enhancing and expediting processes.

The evolution of the cerebral cortex provides what brain researcher Dr. Richard Restak describes as “the only example in existence where a species was provided with an organ that it still has not learned how to use.”

Visionary philosopher and mathematician J.G. Bennet has identified two distinctive attitudes towards change.

One is dominated by atavistic, repto-mammalian tendencies. The other, thankfully, by our evolving consciousness. He categorises these tendencies as psycho-static and psycho-kinetic respectively. The former views change as a threat; the latter, psycho-kinetic mind, sees change as a promise. What do YOU see?

Robert "Bob" Lewis and I did not team up for personal glory. If our names are not remembered, it matters not. What is of importance and value is that the children of today and tomorrow, and generations after that, have enhanced themselves. This can only happen if the present generation of adults does something worthwhile so that a tangible legacy can be left to peoples all across the globe.

We must do something: NOW!

"A new society will arise from the ashes of the old in which even larger numbers of the human race will move forward into the exhilarating discovery of new dimensions of reality and experience. This truly Creative Society will seek to produce not the superman, but the Supersane Humanity, moving into new and higher dimensions of moral, mental and spiritual perception and purpose."

~ S. Karagulla (1967);

[Excerpted from 'Surfing the Intellect: Building Intellectual Capital for a Knowledge Economy', by Dilip Mukerjea.]

Say Keng's personal comments:

Obviously, the Museum of the Brain project is a gargantuan task, even in conceptual terms.

Building it not only requires bold visionary perspectives & strong financial muscle, but more importantly, strong political will, as I see it.

Nevertheless, Dilip & I are working relentlessly to introduce many of Robert "Bob" Lewis' original ideas in several small projects which we like to call "learning ecosystems" as well as "learning safaris" in this part of the world.

On a larger or rather geo-political scale, & fueled by his vast repertoire of continually evolving intellectual thoughtwares, & his firm conviction in the philosophy that "The First Wonder of the World is the Mind of a Child", Dilip has set his medium-to-long-term vision of creating a learning planet, country by country. India now falls within his sightscope.

It is our ardent desire to see that our mentor's original ideals, now channelled through our own dream visions, can be realised, probably in varied configurations, in the not-too-distant future.

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