I have been putting off blogging actually, because I have so much to say that it is almost a burden. This is a post about what I have learned this semester, my first official semester as a graduate student. Because even though I have kicked and screamed and faked apathy towards my classes and fought vainly the old ennui, now that I look back I am certainly transformed and, for better or worse, I can never go back home again:
In the field I am in, there is no way to know the truth of what exactly happened in the past and how evolution got us to this point, in our molecules or our bones, its all conjecture really, but you have to love the basic craft of aspiring towards the idea of “truth.” You have to love the process and not get bogged down by what you cant know. This is a very difficult thing.
The process of science and all the sensibilities that it requires, efficiency, logic, details, big picture comparison, is a highly pervasive set of skills. Is there a way to keep all of these things inside the lab and not start to clean the bathroom or paint your nails in a scientific way? Again, very difficult.
Also, is there a way to look at something and be content with its mystery again and not want to know what exactly makes it tick? because sometimes the clock itself it just a thing of beauty without having to know the unpoetic particulars of how the gears meet each other. This has been very, very difficult for me, I have learned.
Scientifically deconstructing a painting, for example, has been a very depressing thought for me. I need to learn how to separate my life from this. I need to learn to enjoy getting flour all over me at home, but not enjoy getting luria bertani broth all over me in the lab, if that this possible. For example, I know that music is math, but isn't that just the driest and saddest summation of it?
When you embark on your wildest dream, you may have no more dreams left, so you better make it work.
This is why people have regular jobs that deal with ‘lighter’ topics. I have always strived for a career that would really be in perfect agreement with my values, but it is just a terribly risky thing to be so entrenched in something that you really believe in.
And I am afraid I will never recover.