As we speak, there are unbelievably many places you and I could be applying to that could help us do good science and philosophy, let me share a few examples:
Island Caretaker: That’s right, you are allowed to read and write while living in a paradise island. What else? For introverts its perfect, you get to ignore everyone who’d like to meet, and no family problems will ever reach you in the Caribbean.
Cambridge University: Here is a worldly renowned university, having borne celebrities from Newton to Stephen Hawking, in a city where bike-riding is almost mandatory substitution for traffic smoke. You get an assortment of young aspiring world-class students from all over to help you with the problem you are working on, and you live in a Harry Potter looking world. Not that bad. Now here is the best part: If you are entering postgraduate stage, Bill Gates pays for you!
Fo Guang Shan Temple: This is not for minds of all kinds, but if you are stuck at a complicated math or philosophy problem, and need to make your mind sit quietly for a good while to get ideas straight, maybe a three-month passing through a Buddhist temple in the Phillipines will help you get to the level of abstraction you need. And sure enough, the price is a student-friendly zero.
The takeaway message is that it doesn’t matter if you are entering undergrad, leaving it, or in the middle of an academic guaranteed year, there’s a lot of options which are likely to be better for you to apply than what you’d consider in half an hour thinking about it. There are also careers, what people (are they really people? I wonder) call real jobs…
For the next month then, here is the Challenge I’ll do: I’ll find out the 7 best places for me to be, anywhere, where I can pursue my academic goals, and I’ll apply to them right away! Notice this is regardless of their application deadlines. That means if I don’t actually apply, I’ll have a separate folder with everything necessary to apply, and the folder name will be a CAPS LOCK DEADLINE for when I will have to strenuously spend 10 minutes of a day to send those ready to be sent files. I’m going towards a postgraduate degree, or a special scholarship for postgraduates – I’ll be receiving a masters soon – there’s a chance I may make it into a fellows program of some sort, a quasi-job if you will, and of course, if applying to a place is separate from applying to whoever pays for that place, both need be done, no halfway cheating. If you’d like to apply somewhere, to find out if there is a possibility outside what you thought possible before, but way more rewarding, join me for this challenge. Let’s get to it!
Previous Challenge Tracking
Writing this blog (Challenge #50 Stop Learning, Start Doing) has been more fun than I thought, I’m reading a book on how to write, I’ve taken some meals with a side of YouTube grammar lessons – I’m from Mexico, so English grammar is not my strong suit – but more than anything, I’m writing three times more than I usually do outside the blog. The feeling of Flow is strong enough that I look at the monitor timer at 21:04, and when I look again, it’s 1:15 and my cellphone is singing “It’s too late to apologize” – the only way I found to laugh my way into bed instead of surfing the web forever, or writing indefinitely.
If you are not a psychologist, it may be worth while to know that Flow is one of the three canonical kinds of happiness humans experience, the others being Meaning and Joy. To think of a peak of Joy, imagine when a group of young fertile clubbers dance and seduce while ecstasy cascades in their brain to the sound of pumping intense music and beaming colorful lights. Meaning is mostly a calm feeling, it is a feeling that there is something greater than yourself moving your actions, it is the feeling that what you are doing matters in an ultimate sense. Meaning is common among academics. A theorem’s proof may last forever, a cure for a disease may help millions, and sometimes, your own understanding of a theory is emotionally worth an exclamation of amazement, those things are different ways of experiencing the Meaningful Life. Flow, as Czikszentmihalyi shows in his TED talk, is an experience of ego dissolution, you become one with the thing you are doing, or what you are being a part of, the world, and you, disappear together, flow is the feeling sought by a contemporary dancer on stage, it’s what it feels like to write an entire story in one sitting, and sometimes it may be what you passively experience when experience a form of art for the first time, which happened to me as I first saw this:
I should leave on that note, hoping someone else gets to experience the feeling of Flow I once felt to that video. Yet I must remind you that the beauty of classical guitar’s songs most important property is that they make your challenges, if bureaucratic, much more comfortable. Speaking of your challenges, previous self-challengers Petra and The Auricle will benefit from music, since their own self challenges are absolutely music friendly, writing 500 words a day, and donating selected pieces of one’s wardrobe, both get much better involved in music! By the same token, I hope I can do all those applications I need to over the next month, and my hope is refreshed when I consider it will be in such good company as the best guitar players in the world. I hope your next challenge, to yourself or to me, which we’ll start on August 1st can also benefit of the feeling of Flow, whatever it takes to make you feel it!
If you just arrived at fourhourscience, take a look at the first challenge as it is the only one you have to go through to jump straight on to the current challenge. Do challenge yourself on the comment section, and every first of the month, I’ll start a challenge chosen by my readers, and ask how they are going at their own self-challenges. Every 15th, I’ll choose one for myself. If you want to give me a challenge, make a comment in the most recent post, which is where I’ll get them from every 1st of the month. To subscribe to fourhourscience.com and keep track of your challenges, click on the blackish square on the bottom right that says follow. If you are logged in a wordpress account, check the top left instead. – Neotenic