I have reason to use the word “Serendipity” about once a day. Although it seems unlikely, the reason is a spin off the old saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation and chance coincide.” I pay attention to a lot of things, and when one casts one’s nets often and wide, one is certain to catch things frequently.
And so it was that today an article came across my screen that caught my sentiments of late perfectly:
Every fall, I explain to a fresh batch of Ph.D. students what a Ph.D. is.
It’s hard to describe it in words.
So, I use pictures.
Read below for the illustrated guide to a Ph.D.
Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:
By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:
By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:
With a bachelor’s degree, you gain a specialty:
A master’s degree deepens that specialty:
Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:
Once you’re at the boundary, you focus:
You push at the boundary for a few years:
Until one day, the boundary gives way:
And, that dent you’ve made is called a Ph.D.:
Of course, the world looks different to you now:
So, don’t forget the bigger picture:
The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. This post originally appeared at Matt Might’s Blog.
For years, I have thought “something is wrong.” I found A Voice For Men, then The Spearhead, then Heartise, Dalrock and countless others. For about a year, I soaked all that up. I had internalized most of what I figured I’d learn from that crowd, when I learned that this was only a smaller cluster of a much larger thing:
Specifically, I stumbled into the Neoreactionaries of the upper left-hand corner. Depending on your point of view, this crowd either extrapolates the observations of the former bloggers to their logical conclusions, or has worked backwards to find their first principles. It doesn’t really matter which; this is a whole ‘nother level of thought that has caught my attention.
It shouldn’t take too much explanation to draw the connection between the Ph.D. post and the map above; a huge body of knowledge covering vast ranges of topics is mapped above. My blog, which originally was just meant to house some of my own original ideas, took an interesting turn as I began to find others who already had reached the same conclusions I was writing about. Often they had already written about those concepts themselves. They have almost always done a better job of it than I have.
As I got more interested in this and found more people to interact with, I broke down and started using Twitter both to find other reading material and put my own material out into the ‘sphere. I added more blogs to my RSS feed reader. I got more traffic on my own blog, some commentors, and it appears I’m about to engage in a pretty long correspondence with a blogger from the other side of the fence.
Along the way I encountered something I don’t run into very often; my own personal limits. Writing is much, much more demanding than reading. I really began to appreciate the different roles people play in this community; the chroniclers, the commentators, the marriage and dating advisers, the theorists, the public-relations/marketing/WTF is Return of Kings? and others. While it is tempting to want to put my own stamp on a “Theory of Everything” tying it all together, no one person can fill all these roles, and a true Theory of Everything is probably the work of a lifetime, not a beginning blogger.
So, much like the Ph.D.’s above, I realize if I’m going to be productive, it is best not to re-hash what has already been said, but rather pick an area and contribute. It’s time to focus. I’ll be writing less, but striving for higher quality. I’m honored to have one of my series appear in the Neoreactionary Canon, and I think it is best to spend my writing time attempting to continue producing works worthy of keeping around. My “to-write” list includes:
- a follow-up to my post-modern progressivism series which will “rewind” back to my thoughts on modernism as well
- an expansion on my post-modern progressivism series incorporating my recent thoughts on narcissism as its “Final Cause”
- fulfilling my duties as “Ambassador” to Body Crimes
- discussing what I see as the practical application of neoreaction vis-a-vis memes and intentional/targeted social cognitive dissonance
- thoughts on Benedict Anderson’s “Totalizing Classification” and how it relates to nation-states, city-states, Middle Earth, and the United Stated Unified Combatant Commands
- various applications of neoreactionary thought to military doctrine and culture
To this end, I’ve cleared out my RSS reader to just a few closely related to my own intended areas of writing, and will be staying off Twitter as well. I’ve also finally conceded that Facebook has become a BuzzFed/Gawkerized echo chamber, very few who post anything there are interested in any actual discussion, and it doesn’t do me a whole lot of good to hang around there either.
While I realize few of the communities/blogs I’m taking a sabbatical from will even notice I left, it seems appropriate and gentlemanly to at least say, “see ya later.” It has truly been transformational to read you guys, and I hope my own contributions measure up down the line.