Even though Clarissa’s list is impressive, it does not convince me I would be suited to academia.
The point that resonated with me the most was being free not to be sociable. That is also my requirement, otherwise energy pours out of me, and I am left an empty shell.
At the same time, academia itself does not spur my thinking processes. I tend to sleep through conferences, although lectures used to sometimes give me something to chew on. I don’t find a well-constructed thought all that interesting. I was reading Simon de Beauvoir’s memoir, Force of Circumstance, recently. She said she would often enter the library to find writing that was already formulated, as a diversion from the strain of writing her own words. She became a very prolific writer, and obviously loved words, but I have no special love for them.
I love ideas, but I can’t seem to feel them within academia — at least, not so well. I recently lost the capacity to feel them at all, but then I did a round of sparring with Mike, and suddenly my capacity for awareness returned to me.
In a full time job in academia, I doubt I would be able to feel very much, as I constantly need to peel off a skin that has grown too thick around me. I am doubtlessly a yabby, a freshwater crustacean, that needs to shed its shell once in a while. It’s very important that I don’t lose touch with my ability to inwardly feel something, since that is always a tendency, when life just trickles on and I don’t make an extreme effort by risking something of myself.
In short, academia is too placid to wake me up. I do kickboxing because it gives me what academia cannot. It doesn’t pay me anything of course.
Also, I don’t have very much need for social approval or self-esteem building. I may be anomalous, because my self-esteem is strongest when I am alone. I sometimes can’t hear what I am thinking when I’m in a crowd, but when I retreat I’m able to hear it better. What hurts me is when people don’t respect ideas enough. It’s very difficult to entertain a sharp, little idea, as this requires a lot of effort.