Category Archives: pirates
A civilization’s nightmares encompass its darkest truths. The zombie myth has shown increasing traction in pop culture — witness the success of the Walking Dead series. And the zombie does somehow symbolize the fate of the many workers, sentenced to day after day of mind numbing drudgery. While you might have escaped this fate, you know of people who have not.
Nowhere is this better epitomized than in the classic Shaun of the Dead. The zombie apocolypes is not even noticed at first, and in the end Shaun and his (now zombified) friend still enjoy the simple pleasures of a video game in each other’s company. Society hasn’t changed.
Yet there is a second myth, more powerful than that of the zombie. A myth of walking out of society, of joining a band of independent and wild souls. This is the myth of the pirate.
Pirate or zombie, what’s it to be, matey? Arrr or rrrrg?
(of course some choose both)
Arrg! Whoever wrote that should be keelhauled! Sounds like someone who read too much Carlos Castenada at an impressionable age. Next he’ll be saying it is the way of the peaceful pirate or such. ‘Course, Dan Millman might have been a pirate.
What hogwash! Each pirate has his own way, that’s why they go into the business! And, to be frank with you, some of their ways just don’t work very well. Who said it was easy? Well, it is, if you happen to be one of the ones whose way matches the happy currents of luck and the times to produce success, but sailing against the tide won’t get you far.
Now you might be able to find some charts somewhere, learn the ropes, learn the winds. All that will help. You can improve your methods, and you should. But in the end,
You have your own way. Follow it.
A pirate, on the other hand, is mortal (excepting those who are cursed by taking the wrong gold…). The pirate philosophy is to embrace the sweet shortness of life. His every action expresses this.
Yes, it is difficult to come to terms with mortality. Exuberant dance is one way, even more so if the dance is with a partner, expresses a full range of sense- and sexuality, and (even better) is done in front of an audience. Spanish guitar is a plus.
It is much harder to come to terms with immortality. And zombies don’t dance flamenco.
- Leadership positions (professor, PI), assume and confer substantial autonomy, even in an institutional context.
- Research is often state sponsored, but not state controlled.
- A lab operates on merit. The “crew” (Ph.D. students, post-docs) choose their own captain to follow. Advancement through the ranks is actively encouraged.
- Spoils of victory (these being glory and honor in science) are shared. I have seen several first year Ph.D. students get first authorship of Nature papers.
- Both operate in waters which may be known to them but distant from mainstream society.
- Get to play with dangerous toys.
- Specialized vocabulary.
- There are many interesting characters in science.
- Bad clothes.
yes, yes I can count. You figure it out.