Thursday, 1 November 2012

Academia, love, friendship and being.

There is no doubt that the world would be a far less advanced place without the achievements brought about by the brilliant minds of academics and scholars.  Culturally however we put far too much emphasis on their importance, and as a result I'm often faced with the fear and emptiness felt by someone who has been held in high regard by the community, the world even, because of their academic achievements. Suddenly they describe a hollow empty feeling created by the belief that they are their minds. This realisation can leave them scared of what their life will be when they're not as mentally sharp as they are today.  As a society we should be celebrating their great accomplishments, but why not also be grateful for their just being here?  What about the love they show their children, their friends, their family?  Isn't that equally, even more important?  They often believe so too, though sometimes they shed tears over missed opportunities with family, some who may now have passed away, the moment for sharing quality time together gone when they were busy being academic.  Balance is always the key, and it's also a very tricky thing to manage - though not impossible.
When we hear people say that academics take themselves too seriously, maybe we are partly to blame for that, maybe we have put them in that position, maybe we've helped them believe their minds are so brilliant we couldn't survive without them.  So, whatever your point of reference as you read this, give yourself time to remember what's really important in life.  Your health, the people you love, the relationships you have with others and yourself, surely these are the priorities?  Yours and others academic achievements will leave a legacy for future generations, but being here and loving those with you now has to be up there at the top of  the list of priorities, it certainly is for me.
"Some people stay in the academic world just to avoid becoming self-aware. You can quote me on that." - Michael McKean
"Try not to become a man of success.  Rather become a man of value." - Albert Einstein


  1. oh, beautifully written Kathers :) Love it..and that quote by Michael Mckean x Sending big hugs XX

    1. Thanks Jenners..that quote is genius! xx Glad you like it :)

  2. Thankyou. My branch of academia is, in part, researching ways of promoting and improving the value of personal relationships for improving health and quality of life, in the presence of chronic disease. Academic pursuit is part of, not distinct from, every day life. Kathleen, I'd love to talk to you about this! x

  3. Hi Blair, I'd be delighted to speak with you about this sometime. It's good to read that for you academia is just part of your every day life, but as you will know from your own interactions, this is not true for all. In fact for some academics, academia IS their life, and trying to get them to experience life with child-like, non-academic enthusiasm can, sadly, feel like an impossiblity.