Pessimistically driven

“Pessimistically driven,” someone said. That is why I do not like academic advice: it assumes life is terrible and you are incompetent and lazy, so you must be kept on the straight and narrow and hurried along … and disabused of all interest in creativity or pleasure.

The advice is correct insofar as it is true that in academia you must be incredibly submissive in person and deeply deprived in real life, yet retain an amazingly rich and creative intellectual life.

This is often true, yet it is generally impossible. Academic advice allegedly makes it possible, and is thus unrealistic by definition.

I was involved in a group project for seven days and learned, once again, that I think and work very quickly. I am almost too quick and this is why the academic advisors, with their clocks and bells and lectures about increasing speed, drive me nearly around the proverbial bend.

If I must listen to harangues about rushing in order to prove loyalty and seriousness, I am not interested in this profession. I am even less interested in those who harangue in it.

On a bus was a man with a Ph.D. from a good place and a fascinating former life in a fascinating city. He lost that life to become a professor, which he had to do because he had gotten a Ph.D. Now he cannot afford to move back.

“They tell us we must be professors because we have the degree for it, and we therefore owe loyalty to our clan,” I said. “I do not know that listening to that line of reasoning is a good idea.” “I do not think it is,” said the man.



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