Friday, January 16, 2009

PhD 5.0

As the name suggests... This will detail the confirmed signs and symptoms of a PhD candidate who has completed or about to complete 5years of back breaking, brain racking, self questioning work and is not sure to what end did all this happen...
The things to look for in a PhD 5.0 are :
1. He/She will never plan his/her life farther than 2 hrs into the future. Most of the concepts of time spans are now aligned either to experiment incubation times or paper/manuscript review times. The reason is the incessant dersire NOT to think too much into the future.
2. The only person hated more that Osama Bin Laden is anyone who asks them any of the following questions "when will your thesis be done ?", "Got any offers after PhD ?"
3. It is a personal insult if anyone talks about their field or about new papers in their field. ( 99% of the times because they have never heard of those papers in spite of reading about 99000 related articles on pubmed)
4. If their character/avatar in an online role playing game gets a cool sword that glows, they think it is a significant achievement in life.
5. They tell others how really they want to be done with it and move on but in reality pray that they never have to because the idea that their work is going to be judged out in the real world and their entire lives depend on it scares the pants off them.
So these five symptoms are the most sure way of identifying possible post doc candidates. Maybe we should find a way to quantify these 5 characters and select people based on these as well as research ability.

Monday, January 12, 2009

systems of belief...

I have thought about this aspect for a long time now. Sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. We all have systems of belief... There is something that we think is a certain way, it can be anything from cosmic truths like monotheism to trivial things like 'pink is lucky for me' the only common pattern in any of this that we 'need' them to be true or at least possibly true. But the most important thing of this I would say is our opinion/definition of ourselves. I know this is not static and will change with changing times but there are some basic premises that we have developed that are always the same. We need these things to be the way they are so that we can feel secured and assured about our view of the world. so that we can justify what we do is correct in the bigger framework. I am NOT saying that we tailor our beliefs to justify whatever we do, what I mean is that we develop this set of beliefs over time and experience. We feel this is the way the world is and therefore we think if this set of basic premises are met everything can be dealt with. This is ok, I guess it is a natural tendency of any mind to generate a world view and function according to that. The problem is more subtle, the thing is we are extremely attached to this world view ( I speak from my experience of myself and a few others who I think are in similar situations ). We are extremely attached to this world view and we get angry, hurt or generally inconvenienced when this world view is challenged by some situations. Why should this be the case ? If the world view is challenged why is so hard to reevaluate it ? I began thinking about this when I came across a situation where my opinion of myself was questioned and I could not stand up to the test and was thus extremely hurt and depressed.
The thing is so very trivial as compared to the rest of the world, it is just how I look at myself but why should that matter so much in governing the rest of my life ? If I just remove the framework in which I judge myself the whole thing seems pointless. Since the framework is a result of the experience of all the restraints, constraints, opinions that I have gathered in my life. Is the only reason I am so attached to them is that they are mine ? or do I sincerely believe that experiences define me in a very fundamental way. That is not necessarily the case I think, I think my view of my own is cherished because it will not have any points that I consider negative and when that is shattered it is very hurtful. The question boils down to why do I consider those points as negative ? and why should I believe that they are not included in my behaviour ?
Is just past experience governing the current ability of my mind to function ? I cannot believe I was in a mental limbo for 6 months because of this small misunderstanding. Why should only I be the best in my own eyes ? Why can't I accept anyone else that is better than me ? Why is that so hurtful ? I have been told that answer is ego.. but i think it is just the ego, it is the block of your world view cluttering up the head, your belief system that one considers necessary for one to function because one thinks we functions the best if their world view is unchallenged. That is wrong, why have this nonsense in head and go around ? I have tried telling it to people and received an amazing plethora of answers. my favorite one is " it is not practical for every day life " that is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard in my life. It is not practical because you do not wish to practice it, because you do not want to reevaluate your world view, or let it go is what I would say to these people. But why is this block there at all ?
Is really letting go of this equivalent to letting go of one's responsibilities ? I would like to believe that is no so, that is part of my belief system but I do not know the answer. But I would like to believe that this is possible, not because of any other reason but that would make living beautiful according to me...
ending the post with a paradox. I do not believe in being so attached to systems of belief because I believe that it is foolish. If I could only say this with experience of not belonging to a system of belief... I would be the happiest fool on earth...

About Me

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just your regular guy who dreams too much. i read a lot don't remember it all though.. swim, trek, yoga.. think and read more.. that about sums it up..