Skip to main content

Why a PhD is not as exotic as I thought

The primary reason why I thought that a PhD is exotic is because of the idea of stretching yourself mentally and emotionally and doing work [research] that is a contribution at the vanguard of human thought and thus a massive contribution to human civilization.

Let’s take each of these one by one.

Point 1: Stretching you mentally
A PhD if approached by an immature person will be a huge challenge for him because instead of achieving the goal of developing a conceptual understanding of the subject one might get lost into an ever more complex spiral of unstructured abstract thinking that does not progress towards a goal. If however a person is mature and approaches the subject with the goal of developing a structure through conceptual understanding he will probably finish his PhD and not stretch himself all that much.

Another aspect of stretching oneself mentally has to do with the idea of doing one’s best in the PhD. This is not always required because many PhDs are awarded to students who achieve a pre-defined level of quality in their work. This means that one does not have to do their personal BEST, they simply have to meet a certain threshold that will most likely be easier to achieve. The same person can continue to do research for the rest of his career and continue to make contributions.

Point 2: Stretching you emotionally
A person stretches himself emotionally [in relation to his work] when his work requires him to do something he doesn’t like. A PhD student is usually doing something he enjoys. A person doing a job in a bank or even a kid going to school when he doesn’t want to might be stretching himself emotionally far more than a PhD student who enjoys what he does.

Point 3: The research work is a massive contribution to the human civilization
At the end of the day a PhD is like any other 9 to 5 job. In its nature it might be interesting but everybody doesn’t like the idea of doing research. While a PhD contributes to human civilization through the contribution of knowledge in some specific field, people in other fields contribute to human civilization in ways that are many times equally fundamental. Some enjoy being entrepreneurs, some enjoy being politicians, and others enjoy trying to become saints.

What Bill Gates achieved or Nelson Mandela have achieved are probably as significant as many PhDs, any one taken individually.

People who want to can stretch themselves mentally, emotionally to do work that they like whether it be a bank, an NGO, school, a business or many other useful fields and make equally signifiant contributions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Explanation of the movie 'Revolver'

I saw the movie for the umpteenth time last night and I finally got it.

This is what the movie says:

1) In every game and con there is always a victim and there is always an opponent. It's good to know when you are the former so you can become the latter.

2) But the question is how do you prepare yourself for this game?

3) You only get smater by playing a smarter opponent.

4) The smarter the game the smarter the opponent

5) Checkers is an example of such a game. Chess is a better game. Debate is an even better opportunity to learn and so on.

6) But the question is where does the game stop? or one can ask what is the smartest game one can play?

7) The answer according to the movie is: "The game of con you play with yourself".

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The text below has been added on 3 Dec 2008 and is based on a comment posted on October 30, 2008, at time 4:12 PM. I have only recently understood what this person meant and it is …

What the journey means to me

My journey so far has been about discovering the meta rules of how the self works. The essence of what I have learnt is that the self can change and in fact does change every time it undergoes an experience. Where any experience is significant because of the meaning it carries for us. It means something to us by the fact: it changes our feelings from state (state a) to another state (state b). Where this movement between states is a process we can call witnessing.  The exercise of witnessing can be powerful and enriching.  In fact if we could communicate what we have witnessed through poetry or through prose, perhaps with the aid of metaphors, we could share these experiences with our family, friends and with the larger community. 
Thus to go in retrospect and search for meaning in the experiences we have had can help us grow mature, become stronger and make us more aware.

My Criteria for my marriage partner

1) She should be a home maker. 10 on a scale of 10
2) I should be able to fall in love with her and her with me … 7 on a scale of 10.

First criteria:

10 on a scale of 1-10 for this criteria because I consider my family my second self. The better my partner will be at making my family the best the better off my second self will be. Who doesn’t want to aim for the best? In accordance with this she should have the best of the characteristics that every home maker should have:

1) Intelligent
2) Practical
3) Ability to take stress and bounce back – agility of mind
4) High level of commitment
5) Principled
6) Caring
7) Want her children to be the best
8) Want to learn how to make her children the best

Of course there is an ideal woman out there who would rank very high in all these areas. But then I have to be practical too. I would want to marry the most ideal woman who is compatible with me. Compatibility is covered in the second criteria.


Second Criteria:

Description of scale:

5: passes the basic crite…