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I think a lot of the
drang about the current state of science and
academia in general comes from the fact that the reality of science today is
wildly different than what we are told for our entire lives (duh). Society,
education, whatever, says that being a scientist is like being a
priest/priestess. We think what we will do is discover arcane secrets,
entering into a class divorced from the world through its connection to deeper
truths. The reality of being a scientist is that you are a monk. As much as
the job involves the priestly craft of divining ultimate reality, what it
really involves, day to day, is aesceticism. To be a scientist in the age of
austerity is to take a vow of poverty, promising to forgo the worldly
posessions of the middle class that could easily have been yours years ago. It
means self-mortification, flagellating yourself daily with the scourge of
stress, self-doubt, and overwork. So we have a generation of young scientists
who don’t realize that the great ritual at the altar of Truth has a sacrifice
at its centre, and that sacrifice is you.