But it is all too easy to fall into critic-mode, fail to appreciate what is good about our areas of knowledge, and value what, in historical terms, a life of science really represents compared to what most of our species have had to endure.
This, if anything, should reinforce the burden every scholar or scientist feels: not to waste the opportunity, or act too selfishly, but to work towards a common good--the common good we routinely voice as a profession but to which we have it in our power to make a better approximation.
In recognition of the need to 'be at home where you live', we reproduce a poem we recently learned of, by the wonderful pastoral, common-man's poet, William Wordsworth. It is even fitting for the season.
Here, 'home' includes more than one's collection of Big Data, grants, or other score counts, and shows what one can find even in a simple poem.
|Weaver at his loom; Van Gogh|
Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room
By William Wordsworth
Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at this loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, into which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, ’twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.