Tuesday, October 12, 2010
To Everything, a Season
Since then, I have seen much evidence of this. Of course, stories abound of stubborn/crazy/devoted writers or researchers or explorers. James Joyce took 18 years to write Finnegans Wake. The Australian who discovered Heliobactor pylori, the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, fought years to convince a whole cadre of medical skeptics that he was right, until his proof became irrefutable, and controversy became accepted dogma. They were ultimately thanked for their informed monomania.
But giving up might be more common - either because of laziness or wisdom. (We can never know how many projects have been ditched prematurely.) To be sure, hard work is, well, hard work - and the easy way out is enticing. However, it can be folly to ignore any number of signals saying, this ain't gonna work, honey, try something else while you still have the strength. Sometimes it's better to clear the slate and start over. It's not weak, it's wise.
The really, really tricky part is to know when you're onto the right thing - and keep fighting for it - and when it's better to quit.
I've been thinking of this all year - for one thing then another. (Why now? Is it correlated with my age?) At stake are time and energy, two very precious commodities. Hope is a basic human feeling, both adaptive and maladaptive. My dilemma: is keeping my hopes alive a help or a hindrance? Am I a dreamer and a fool? Should I face reality (with the facts I have at hand) and get on with the rest of my life, pouring energy into more certain outcomes?
On a related note, this blog is nearing its first anniversary. I have been wondering if I really have more to say on the subject of connection. Also, the almost complete lack of feedback makes me think I'm writing into a void - the reason I was reluctant to start a blog in the first place!
Perhaps the time has come to bring it to an end, and start another, entirely about neuroscience.
If I don't hear any howls of protest by October 28, I'll sign off then.