Paradigm shifts and beavers

I read a hilarious example of childhood-to-adulthood paradigm shifts today. Thunderpuff wrote about having to ask her parents what a phrase in a biography meant. She was shocked to find out that “beaver” didn’t refer to the dam-building mammal in this context. It sounds like she had really good parents who explained without being judgmental. The whole piece could be looked at as a study in how we pass funny paradigms to kids.

I’m going through a bit of a paradigm shift, myself. Matt Might talks about the shift he went through at this stage in his career in his article on the subject. Tenure, publication, funding… these are all a means to accomplish an end. Really coming to terms with that end is hard.

“Life is too precious and too fleeting to waste my time on bullshit like tenure. I didn’t become a professor to get tenure. I became a professor to make the world better through science. From this day forward, I will spend my time on problems and solutions that will matter. I will make a difference.” -Matt Might

That’s inspiration for me. It’s hard to shift over to that view of things when there are urgent pressures like grant writing.