Yesterday I received the wonderful news that I was being recommended for tenure. Aside from helping solidify my future employment, this also makes me think of myself as an academic. That's a long way from the blocks at NASSCO, but maybe not so much.
I began thinking about the role of an academic and came up with the simple idea that one of the primary roles of academics is to maintain a healthy level of intellectual curiosity that is fed with truth, proof, and critical analysis. I must admit, this can be difficult to uphold for a number of reasons. As a father and husband, it is difficult in terms of time. Also as a father and husband, this can be difficult in terms of belief. As a colleague, this can be difficult in terms of professionalism. As a human being, this can be difficult in terms of how much can one really want to know and how will that inherently change your life? These are big issues because I must balance my intellectual curiosity with how much time I spend playing with my children or just enjoying my family. This intellectual curiosity has already ruined my ability to ever watch a light-hearted movie with my wife. It has compromised my ability to attend family functions without looking at sociological implications based on how people act. I must balance my wife's faith in a religion with my constant desire for some sort of proof that there is any basis in reality for that religion. I cannot look at a newspaper without analyzing issues. And don't even get me talking about a subject that I have ready anything substantial about.
So here I am excited about my life as an academic and simultaneously bothered by who I have become as a direct result of my intellectual curiosity. Unfortunately, I cannot stop the curiosity to know more, to have support of claims, to understand the power of the desire so many of us have to believe in something we know cannot be true, and my irrational desire to expose untruth as untruth. In some ways, I have become my own worst enemy. In others, I have become my sole friend.
If nothing else, the next few decades should be interesting.