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  1. #21
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    I'm an idealistic 20 year old just starting my junior year of college who is similarly idealistic. Am I doomed to failure? My plan is econ phd and then either professor or work at an ngo or international organization (world bank, the fed, wto all seem pretty cool).

  2. #22
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    I used to want to change the world, but that went away when I entered college. No, more specifically, I used to want to change people. I've always wanted to HELP people. Whether it was my initial dream of medical school (got shot down by my family) or to find cures for diseases through biomedical research, my aims were always very centered on curing people.

    I gradually came to believe that "changing the world" means absolutely nothing. Nothing changes about people. Curing people may be a measurable means of "progress" as does increasing the speed of communications, or participating in politics. But human nature, our desires, our baseness, our goodness doesn't change. It doesn't change with education, or with policy. Someone might be able to cure cancer, but somewhere else in the world, someone else will be shooting his/her own family members or raping children. I became unconvinced that "curing" people would constitute "progress", or something good.

    Similarly, politically, it seemed to me to be simply symbol against symbol, abstraction against abstraction. Good against evil. Us VS them. All in maintenance of the status quo. I have no interest in participating in that.

    So I decided, rather than attempt to "change" the world or people, the first thing that I should set out to change is my own attitude towards life and people around me. This I can do regardless of what my job actually is, and I chose scientific research because I happen to be good at it (which I can take no credit for).

    Some of my friends from grad school said "if you're in science, you must be doing it for either a) the fame b) the knowledge or c) for altruistic reasons because it sure as hell ain't for the money". I disagreed, because my aims are just to do my best (regardless of what field I'm in), and to try to enjoy the ride/people along the way. To try to be kind/helpful to people around me, and do what I can for them. That, to me, is more meaningful than dreaming of changing the world - especially since we're gone in like, 7-8 decades (on average) anyway, and can't control what happens afterward.

  3. #23
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    I used to want to change the world, but that went away when I entered college. No, more specifically, I used to want to change people. I've always wanted to HELP people. Whether it was my initial dream of medical school (got shot down by my family) or to find cures for diseases through biomedical research, my aims were always very centered on curing people.

    I gradually came to believe that "changing the world" means absolutely nothing. Nothing changes about people. Curing people may be a measurable means of "progress" as does increasing the speed of communications, or participating in politics. But human nature, our desires, our baseness, our goodness doesn't change. It doesn't change with education, or with policy. Someone might be able to cure cancer, but somewhere else in the world, someone else will be shooting his/her own family members or raping children. I became unconvinced that "curing" people would constitute "progress", or something good.

    Similarly, politically, it seemed to me to be simply symbol against symbol, abstraction against abstraction. Good against evil. Us VS them. All in maintenance of the status quo. I have no interest in participating in that.

    So I decided, rather than attempt to "change" the world or people, the first thing that I should set out to change is my own attitude towards life and people around me. This I can do regardless of what my job actually is, and I chose scientific research because I happen to be good at it (which I can take no credit for).

    Some of my friends from grad school said "if you're in science, you must be doing it for either a) the fame b) the knowledge or c) for altruistic reasons because it sure as hell ain't for the money". I disagreed, because my aims are just to do my best (regardless of what field I'm in), and to try to enjoy the ride/people along the way. To try to be kind/helpful to people around me, and do what I can for them. That, to me, is more meaningful than dreaming of changing the world - especially since we're gone in like, 7-8 decades (on average) anyway, and can't control what happens afterward.
    You're an INTJ?

    Can you explain how the bolded terms make sense in context of your being an NTJ? It... really doesn't make much sense at first glance. Trying to figure out how Te could work that way is hurting my brain...

  4. #24
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    You're an INTJ?

    Can you explain how the bolded terms make sense in context of your being an NTJ? It... really doesn't make much sense at first glance. Trying to figure out how Te could work that way is hurting my brain...
    I'm definitely INTJ, just based on my interactions with people. I had to figure it out along the way, and my need to cure/help people was catalysed by a single, traumatic event that changed my perspective when I was 15. It stemmed basically from the feeling of being helpless, and being unable to do anything as someone died in front of me within minutes. I wanted the knowledge to make sure that it would never happen again.

    (Also, while I'm an INTJ by most accounts, I don't place much stock in the MBTI anymore. I'm not a walking stereotype and I have my various inconsistencies.)

  5. #25
    Senior Member Alchemiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott N Denver View Post
    La La La, I Have *NO* idea what your talking about here...
    I think you have me slightly beat, I spent 6.5 years in grad school with just a masters to show for it. Many of my colleagues at ym second grad school seemed to get there PhD's in 5 years. Not to sound whiny, but I felt like many of them were nowhere near as motivated as I was, they just kinda bent over and took it more???
    This. Beyond some basic aptitude, "taking it" was the key to getting through from what I saw. Plus whether your advisor had funding. One guy I knew worked toward his Ph.D. for a decade before he abandoned. Average was about 5 years but they felt more like dog-years than people-years.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcvcdc View Post
    I change the world on what seems like a constant basis. I simply walk out my door, think of something and the world has changed accordingly. Meaningful, yes. But not in anyway something I care much about. I mean, if the world is simply a place where your thoughts or dreams become manifest, what's the point? To me what this means is that we really are alone here, and I mean alone, creating, by virtue of our thoughts. What's the fucking point. You can make anything and everything you want, but... IT'S NOT REAL!
    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    I gradually came to believe that "changing the world" means absolutely nothing.
    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    I don't think I ever desired to change the world. It'd sure be nice.. but I'm fine not being a major cog in the machine of humanity.
    I flirt with nihilism, and spend a lot of time thinking about knowledge/understanding/meaning. I feel like there is a dense fog I need to move through before I could ever influence anything outside of myself. And perhaps it is incorrect to say 'influence', maybe 'understand' is the better word. Things are so nuanced, interconnected, chaotic, transient. I do have a drive though, it may be goal-oriented but is not results oriented. I think I see 'changing the world' as a result . . . so my thoughts are: do not worry about changing the world, seek simpler/more basic goals.

    sometimes I wish I could stop time. then i might be able to write out posts with fully expressed and complete ideas . . . time to go

  7. #27
    No Cigar Litvyak's Avatar
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    I always wanted to be a politician, aiding the creation of a large esperanto-speaking supranational organization stronger than the UN. Questions like reusable energy sources or space exploration are easier than they seem to be - we don't lack technology, we lack political power to reunite the scattered resources. We already have the answers we need.

    I'm currently studying international relations (and physics), so my dreams may actually come true. Who knows?

  8. #28
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    I'm still dreaming of changing the world. Part of me realises the professions that I'm aiming for don't really allow this. I had thought about becoming a headteacher and creating my own teaching objectives in some rural location where I won't be pinned down by red tape.

    But at the end of the day, while it's a major change and the sort of thing that will have huge impacts on people. It's not the sort of thing that changes the world on a local scale, let alone national/global scale.

    Guess in some ways the idea of inspiring someone is quite nice, but is it enough? I don't feel satisified with the dream, but I can't think of anything bigger.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemiss View Post
    This. Beyond some basic aptitude, "taking it" was the key to getting through from what I saw. Plus whether your advisor had funding. One guy I knew worked toward his Ph.D. for a decade before he abandoned. Average was about 5 years but they felt more like dog-years than people-years.
    To quote one of my non-official-former-advisors "Having a PhD doesn't mean your smart, its just means your really bull-headed." I'd add "a glutton for pain" , "don't have or want a social life" , maybe some other things too.

  10. #30
    Alexander the Terrible yenom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    What follows is a career related entry in my journal:



    Thoughts?

    Anyone have a similar story they could share?
    Anyone have a very different story they could share?

    I think it would be interesting to collect peoples career arcs (so far). We could collect stories of disillusionment and hope regarding peoples careers. I think we can all learn from them.
    The only way to change the world is with money and knowledge.
    especially the former. If you lack it, you can't do anything.

    What is it you want to change? how do you plan to change it?

    I have my own story which is similar to yours, but I won't disclose anything here because I don't want anyone to know what I am planning rto do.

    My advice to you is don't be disillusioned and keep dreaming.
    The fear of poverty turns people into slaves of money.

    "In this Caesar there are many Mariuses"~Sulla

    Conquer your inner demons first before you conquer the world.

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