The Life of the Mind

This will be a short post. I have been thinking a lot lately about the job of a professor. I was reminded recently of the piece by Max Weber about science as a vocation linked here{target=”_blank”} and how being an academic is a career, and one that is based a lot on chance at that.

Perhaps it is because many aspects of my life as an academic have felt much like aspects of other jobs that I have had and my personal quirks and social circle pushes me toward a diverse set of interactions and activities, I have been lucky not to feel like my whole life is wrapped up my identity as a professor. What I do like about my life is the ability to think and to read and to meander through ideas in many different ways.

My proclivity to read broadly and write little has perhaps weakened my career aspects and trajectory, but I live a life that is very satisfying to me and provides for me and the needs of my family. I was transcribing some quotes from a book I read and found this gem of a quote:

Finally, because of trivial motivation, the middle class cannot win and hold the young who absorb the cliches and slogans of alienated intellectuals, with their clamor for meaningful weighty lives. (Hoffer 1976, 36)

I have made it my new goal to avoid being the source of cliches and slogans. This may be unnecessary since I am pretty sure I’m not really an alienated intellectual - but I will be careful nonetheless.