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Showing posts from May, 2019

The Perception of Merit

Academia runs on a prestige economy. The opportunities you are afforded and the resources you have access to in very large part depend on your reputation for skill in your chosen field. What is more, we mostly internalise this - we would like not only to do well but to be seen and acknowledged to do well. This latter is considered disreputable and to own to it something of a guilty secret; but it seems to me plainly true that the vast majority of academics would like to be prestigious as can be. Nor does it seem so obviously bad - there is nothing even apparently wrong with wanting people to think well of you, and think well of you (what's more) for contributing to the long quest for knowledge. So why is it so miserable?

Today's post is about that desire for prestige, from the point of view of somebody who struggles with it. It's kinda bad armchair sociology, but (with tongue in cheek please don't hurt me actual sociologists) I mean it to be somewhat phenomenological -…

Taking a Break

I have been a very online philosopher. I have kept this blog, I was very active on Facebook,  I was very active on Twitter. I like this blog a lot. But I eventually left Facebook because it stopped being fun for me. And I am not sure I can still be on Twitter anymore either. Along with the part of me that really wants to engage with the world, there's another part that really wants to withdraw. For fear that this latter part of me wants to withdraw too far and represents some of my darker thoughts, I have tended to suppress it. I think it's time to give it the reigns for a while. Maybe this won't last more than a day (I've tried to quit social media before and lasted around 24 hours) but I want to at least give it a go. So, it's been real, and I am sure I will be back sooner or later, but for now - a break.