Monday, July 28, 2008

243. Poem "My Life is a 26-mile Marathon" Written in Fall of 2005, Value of Communication of Science to Society

Please click below for the pdf file!
Though this poem is fundamentally simple, it represents the turmoil that I was in right after I finished writing my first round of Question Reality manuscript. I worked so hard and so long on a project with an original thesis, and after its completion, there was no one to greet me on the other side. I was the only person in the world who knew about what I knew (in the organized fabric of knowledge that I presented), and though that may be a romantic idea for a beginning scientist, at that moment in space and time it was a frightening notion. First of all, there was no one really around to pat me in the back. Even my parents weren't all that impressed. And secondly, my writing fabricated my mind to become interdisciplinary, and the questions I was asking led to a great problem in my academic/bureaucratic classification/existence at UC Riverside. I couldn't be a "geologist" in academic instituational terms because they only stare at rocks and have formal methods of a Ph.D. To make things worse, UC Riverside had no interdisciplinary Ph.D. program (like UCSB) that allowed creatively suffering grad students to ask the questions they truly wanted to ask and construct a supportive group of faculty that wasn't quarantined within one department with one set of rules.
Talk about conservative.
Even the assistant dean of UC Riverside Graduate Division admitted this. My counselor Ann Aasen advised me that I should not spend my graduate student career flipping and stressing out because university bureaucracy doesn't match the structure of my brain. Especially when my brain was asking PERTINENT and PRACTICAL questions in concern of human-environmental problem solving.
The poem reflects not only how my mind was going the speed of light, but also the value of "marketing." The first step of writing is to figure out how your own brain works. The second step of writing is to start mapping and distributing your brain upon the collective brain of society. Doing research requires periods of isolation, but there's no point in doing research if you keep it all to yourself. An isolated island of Reality stuck in your brain. It's not pretty.
So, the poem is something a 6 year-old could write (okay, maybe an intelligent 6-year old could write), but that was where my mind was at. I was a baby in terms of understanding the value of communicating research to society. *Sigh*
I shouldn't feel guilty that my poetry is as incoherent as Emily Dickenson. It is amazing how people seem to value poetry that is very difficult and garblish to understand. Same as scientists, the more complicated and incoherent you sound, the more people think you are intelligent and way above their heads.
Sarah Simpson said the most intelligent people are those who can communicate complex ideas most parsimoniously. *Sigh again*

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