Sunday, September 30, 2007

Steps to the River

I am sifting in the dark, the sun is wrapping around the trees and I am hitting my head against the side door to the sky. “Its a great opportunity”, she said and I knew that she was right, but a great opportunity is only a great opportunity if you think it is great. do I? I dont know. I would if you told me about it 3 years ago, but to be in it is smothering me. I always feel stifled from a situation, its one and onlyness, its one sided people who turn to the side and blow away in the breeze of otherness. Nothing has happened, nothing is wrong, but I am not enjoying myself like I should be.

I miss when things were simple and there was not a road ahead of me that leads right into the mouth of the roaring river. I cannot even hear the river from here yet, but just knowing that its white capped angriness swells in the distance makes taking one step forward on a sunny effortless day wreak with sorrow and poison. I cannot possibly do this, get to the river and find a way to emerge without getting very wet or hurt. I cannot possibly do this. I know I will be scratched and maybe even swept away. Do I save myself, or is getting there and getting drenched part of the fun?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Why Chromosome

At the end of one of my classes our professor left us off with a question to ask ourselves. “Why do you want to be an Anthropologist?” and after judging this question at face value as maybe something that one should have asked themselves before they were sitting in a PhD class. I grew to like this question over time and as I thought about it more and I realized that it was the perfect thing for me to think about.

So today when I was supposed to be doing work, I was instead writing this little bit to myself to work out my ideas of why, exactly it is that I want to be an anthropologist, and more specifically study genetics. So here it is, maybe I am too much like a 4 year old that incessantly asks why, but I just cannot help it and when the answer is not satisfactory, unrest ensues:

It is tempting to begin parsing the vastness of the human genome into disease causing segments. Disease is a neatly packaged and obvious problem that, as biological anthropologists, and humans, it is compelling to attempt to want to explain. We do this so we can help, or at least create the illusion for ourselves, and others of contributing to a greater good, and not just a greater understanding. It makes us feel good because down the road and many years of research and development later, it might just make someone else feel good too.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Out of Bounds

One of the overarching concepts that I keep seeing is that anthropologists are constantly trying to define the boundaries of their theories. Its interesting I suppose, but quite difficult once you realize that there are hardly any boundaries that are actually written in stone, and the debate goes on.

Today I have to give a presentation in class, I am the first one to present and I have no idea what to expect from this class. I do know that me speaking in class is pushing my own boundaries of comfort and my question to you is:

Is it important to do things that are beyond your comfort zone at the time, is that how we grow? or do we have to set more rigid boundaries for ourselves, of that which we will not do, in order to function properly?

Unfortunately, I would guess it depends on the situation and one cannot apply one blanket theory to this statement.