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The Problem of Interest

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arch.buff View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 May 2010 at 22:02
So, I was wondering. How do you feel about your interests? Are you working -- or working towards -- your ultimate interest? For instance, if you're a sports nut, are you a sports writer or athlete? The reason I bring up this discussion is because, I gotta say, I'm all over the place! Some time ago I became completely enamored with architecture, which passed on to Church history, which passed on to focused medieval studies, which passed on to ancient philosophy, which passed on to modern philosophy, which has brought me to my present obsession, evolutionary biology and the philosophy of science. I don't enumerate my history of interests in order to somehow sound intellectually cosmopolitan, I enumerate these interests of mine in order to express my frustration! Seriously, I can say with absolute certainty that two years from now I will be obsessed with a focused topic that is completely off my radar right now. That may sound all well and good, but it does give cause for one to approach their future with high caution.
 
I don't want to make it sound like this is a bad problem to have (indeed, it is a good one), but how does one feel confident in making any serious attempt to plan out their future when their interests are all over the place? I mean, I wonder if I'll ever really settle on a subject matter that will give rise to my life-long career. I know you guys must have thought about these things as well (I truly think we have one of the best open discussion think-sites around); just wondering if any of you had the same problem when you were younger, and if so, I would be interested to hear what time (if ever) you finally settled on a subject to study for the long run.
 
-arch.buff   
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Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2010 at 00:33
I can sympathise with that. I don't think I have exactly the same problem but I understand where you're coming from.
 
My problem is my interests cover a wide range of areas, I could be entirely happy doing a wide range of things. Which makes choosing one particularly hard. Or at least in theory. In practice my subconcious just keeps heading for the same path.
My interests don't follow each other sequentially but all jump in at the same time. I want to be in the garden, reading history, and playing with electronics simultaneously. Occasionally I get interested in something learn a little bit about it and decide I don't like it. One example of that is religion, I think its really great and then I realise the theologians are unhinged and the ulema spend their lives dealing with idiots. Which is something I could never do.
My subconcious however is always embarked upon a course towards mastery in electrical engineering. To the extent that I never chose my degree, it was self evident, I just chose the options around it. And I'm only satisfied in a job when I'm learning and applying new knowledge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2010 at 02:53
I am the same way, arch, although my interests always gravitated back to education, programming, religion, and politics. History has now have been added to the major interests, since I have kept up with it for a long time. At the moment I am reading about Jesus, trying to figure out how to set up service projects at my church, obsessed with Risk, the board game, trying to re-learn statistics, learning about major sports, fitness, and racewalking.

I am basically a systems thinker and a generalist. And most of the fields that I have been attracted to had those characteristics, as you can see. I was to major in sociology, anthropology, ended up majoring in Classics, but work as a software developer right now.

This may sounds weird, but try finding the most well paid long-term interest that you have, and try to make a living out of that. You will keep doing the other stuff, believe me, and earning enough money will make it better for you to relax and pursue your latest obsession.

Edited by hugoestr - 31 May 2010 at 02:54
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arch.buff View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2010 at 04:48
Thanks for the advice, Omar and Hugo.
 
Good to hear some of you guys have had the same type of situation. Just like you Omar, I know I could be completely fine with any of the above subjects I listed. It's just that I really do aspire to be a professor in some capacity. So, at this point, I haven't quite yet finished my undergrad, but I will have to choose my path for grad school some time soon. Actually, your advice, Hugo, to search out the best paying of one's own interests does sound pretty logical and financially responsible.
 
I guess, in the end, what it comes down to is choosing the path and digging in for the long haul. I guess I'm also being a little whiny about the whole situation too. LOL
 
-arch.buff
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 09:17

This is why I abandoned the idea of a doctorate. I finished my masters thesis with grade A and an encouragement to aim for a professorate, but honestly writing my thesis became a rather excruciating task as I had to stay focused on the same narrow topic for so long and doing it all over again for an even longer stretch was not tempting to say the least. I prefer being able to do things my own way and jumping between areas of interest whenever I want to. One week I may be into Renaissance art, the next Ottoman history and the next Western movies.

I've had a government job for quite some time now and I find that managing people is one of those jobs where generalist knowledge is the most useful.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 18:45
Thanks for your input, Reginmund. I completely understand your situation. I've been mulling over a couple of options in regards to Grad school. I'm leaning towards a Masters in Theological Studies because it will range a wide spectrum of interests I have. You need to know history, philosophy, languages, and, of course, theology and the history of Christian doctrine. Mixed in with this one obviously must know things pertaining to science, since science did originate in Christian Europe. Not sure on how easy it will be to get a job as a theologian, though...
 
Choices, choices, choices...
 
-arch.buff 
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Reginmund View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 12:47
Why not just become a priest? It's a very comfortable profession. Here at least priests have the highest life expectancy of any career group. I have an uncle who's a priest and in his own words: "as long as people believe in this nonsense I will keep getting fatter".
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jun 2010 at 02:07
I suppose taking the pastor route would be a viable option if I were, say, a "non-denominational" Christian. And, if money was of prime importance in the decision, then I also suppose it would make the decision even more than viable. Can you say "megachurch"? LOL 
 
However, I happen to be of the Catholic kind, which means that one doesn't choose the priesthood; it chooses you.
 
Successor to the apostles a possible job opportunity? I suppose. But until the day I find a shred of pastoral fiber in my body, perhaps the sensible the thing to do is just "sit tight." Wink
 


Edited by arch.buff - 08 Jun 2010 at 02:08
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Reginmund View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jun 2010 at 09:05
Originally posted by arch.buff arch.buff wrote:

 However, I happen to be of the Catholic kind, which means that one doesn't choose the priesthood; it chooses you.
 
A few years in the Catholic clergy would dispel any such idealism. Evil Smile
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Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jun 2010 at 19:38
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

 
A few years in the Catholic clergy would dispel any such idealism. Evil Smile
 
Yeah, I hear you. After all, I do claim to be a realist. But, I gotta say, I just can't see the real advantages for a young man to pursue the Catholic priesthood in America, if they don't have the real conviction to do so. Let's see, one has the whole celibate thing (which, obviously, excludes the option of having a family); one's "free time" is considerably more scarce; and if one does not hold an academic position --- which then means their main responsibilities are pastoral and liturgical -- then (from what I know) there is very little time left for study.
 
In the end, I really just can't see the attractiveness in the priesthood -- in America, at least -- that you seem to be implying. (Keep in mind I'm not referring to historical situations or situations outside of America.) Ulterior motives are with us as a people; but I would like to think that many of the men who give themselves to the collar are not entrenched with these motives. If that's real "idealism," so be it.
 
-arch.buff
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