Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stop. Circle Time.

13 years ago now I finished up a Master's degree in philosophy. I was decently good at it. I was given this graduate award that almost never goes to an M.A., but only to a Ph.D. However, I decided not to apply for doctoral programs because

1) I had spent my entire life taking classes. Really had no idea what else one could do in the world. I thought it was time to pick my head up and look around a bit.

2) I was able to write papers that got an A, but I really had nothing to say. I was 22 when I got the M.A. degree and just didn't have any wisdom at all.

3) I wasn't sure that writing yet another philosophy paper would really mean much to anyone. It's a field based on logic and rhetoric, and nothing is as easily manipulated as those two things. It's easy to spend your time being clever instead of productive. If I was going to be a scholar, I wanted to have real empirical data to show that I was right or wrong with a theory. All research can spin its wheels with bad assumptions, but please give me some data. (It's easy to do meaningless work in experimental research as well, but that's another topic. Really, the take home point is that research that's good and that matters is few and far between and the fact that it ever appears at all should make you appreciate those scholars who do it even more.)

I say all this, because I am in the middle of getting materials together for a post-doc at the University of Oslo, where I would do research in... wait for it... linguistics and philosophy. I'm actually kinda qualified for this one in a way that isn't a complete stretch. And it's one of the possibilities that's more exciting than others.

Suffice it to say, it would just be freaky if I ended up spending 2 years doing philosophy again.

However, maybe I'm just applying for the job because it's freaking Oslo! I could hike me a fjord, eat me a bunch a smoked fish, stay up to midnight with the sun, and go around doing the Swedish chef voice as if I can't tell the difference between Sweden and Norway. Really, that last one makes it all worthwhile. I'm sure the Norse love being considered Swede.

My two big questions are: 1) If I get the job, do I have to wear the helmet with the little horns? and 2) If I do, can I please change my name to Hagar the Horrible?


writtenwyrdd said...

Hey, best of luck with that, Hagar! I fully intend to come visit when you migrate. Just be warned (as I've done this) when you move from Hawaii to someplace much colder--you are going to freeze your nubby body parts off. Really. That first year will be totally, miserably, unforgettably AWFUL.

But it sounds like it would be worth it.

blogless troll said...

Bork bork bork!

Sarah Laurenson said...

How bloody awesome! I'd go just to be going and doing some of those things you mention. Hope you get it, Hagar!

pacatrue said...

WW, yeah, my son shivers and complains in the meat department.

Throws a fish in the air for BT.

Thanks for the well wishes, Sarah.

sylvia said...

Oh how exciting! And what fun, to combine two loves like that (although I must admit, as a comp ling person, I'm desperately curious as to how philosophy fits in)!

Robin S. said...

Damn, paca, run, don't walk, for this amazing opportunity! And it would be excellent for B as well.

Is N fine with it? Because to me, there's no wondering, there's only 'take the helmet by the horns and fly, baby, fly, on over to Oslo.'

And expect visitors. There's that. Because it's easier to get to Oslo than it is to Hawaii, for some of us.

Courtney said...

if u call me isabella i will call u hagar, even though i would already call u hagar! smorgish borg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GOOD LUCK on getting the job! that would be awesome!