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October 18th, 2002

Bitter as bile

I try so hard not to be bitter about some things. I am bitter about a lot of things in life, and I don't want to become one of those completely jaded people who looks down on everything.

I like to think of myself as an intellectual idealist; I may not be the most skilled or talented person in my field, but I fascinated by what I study. I have a pure and simple love of knowledge and learning. It is not for power, it is not to lord over other people, it is not for extra letters after my name, it is not for money - I do it because I want to know.

But sometimes I cannot help but get angry and hurt and deeply saddened by the intellectual snobbery in the world. It is almost as if my pure and simple quest is so much less important than those who have alterior motives. Is it because I strive to be a good and honest scientist, never to tell falsehoods about what I find or do? Is it because I do not use words with three or more syllables? Is it because what I want to study is so far removed from the understanding of those around me, and in their lack of understanding they see lack of relevance or importance? Is it because I still use a calculator to solve equations, or a spell check to correct my writing?

There was I time, I am told, that all who strove to understand the world around them, be they engineers, scientists, sociologists or astronomers, were considered equals. Adventurers. Explorers. Sure, not the sort of people you'd serve tea to using your best china and silver, but you would still serve them tea.

I get so frustrated with those who consider their chosen disciplines over mine. Immunology and molecular biology are useless unless based on a solid understanding of microbiology and microbial ecology. Don't they understand that unless all fields are studied, we will never have a complete picture of the world around us? Is there no worse fate than that of ignorance?

I devote my life to the search for understanding in the world. And if that quest can honestly be looked down on my my peers and asociates, then let the bitterness consume me.