There are many who have always known in the back of their minds even as children that the world is not as it really seems, but I’ve always felt that I had my feet on the ground. Having emigrated from Korea at the age of eight, I learned the value of pragmatism and hard work through watching my parents struggle to make a living and support the family in a country foreign to them. My father was an electrical technician at an established company and my mother was a homemaker. I suppose it was also my inherent personality, being a Capricorn– I was a painfully shy and hard-working student, the stereotypical Asian child. People overwhelmed me, while schoolwork and books were comfortable and logical, so without the influence of close friendships or the extended family who would have surrounded me back in Korea, I grew up rather under-socialized. I wasn’t completely left-brained, though– I enjoyed art, creative writing, being in nature, and self-reflection as a child.
I majored in chemistry in college and through a twisted path earned a Ph.D. in chemical and biological sciences at a well-regarded institute. Despite my academic track record, I was not confident of my intelligence, and sacrificed all to do well in school. Friendships, family, romance, recreation, and health were marginalized for all years of my young adult life through my early 30’s to learn the concrete facts and methodologies of science. Although majoring in the sciences in college was almost an afterthought, I eventually came to love the process of doing scientific research, being naturally analytical and grounded in the five senses.
There was one deviation from my solid grounding in the material world, and it is that I have always believed that extrasensory perception is possible. In fact, I remember that I did a science project on it in the eighth grade, polling classrooms of kids on their perception of pictures hidden in closed envelopes. It actually won first place at the local science fair under the psychology category, although I was not encouraged to move onto the next level of competition. Yet, even this subject was approached scientifically. I realized the limitations of science, and felt that we just did not have enough fundamental information and technology to prove this phenomenon yet.
All in all, to my memory, there was nothing in my early years that challenged my everyday view of the world. I suppose even if there had been something, I’d have been too busy with my schoolwork to notice.