Academic Abdication


I have always had a problem with misleaders telling me what to do and deciding my fate and future. I don't have a problem with following a leader, that is, a person who leads to a better world in small or big ways. I left home at the age of 8 because my mother was the former: When I complained about her stealing my piggybank money to buy fastfood for herself in a house bereft of food, she almost beat me to death--see murder my mother. I had the same problem in the Navy. When superiors started restricting my freedom because I questioned their actions and motives, I wanted to get away from these non-leaders. Before I left the ship, CWO Tate offered a de facto apology when he said that he admired my independent thinking which would do the country more good outside the team-dependent focus of the military with the "Ours is not to question why, but to do and die."

Undergraduate school was a golden period with a state scholarship, the GI Bill and a wonderful wife. The goal of a university career in teaching and research seemed ideal. Unfortunately, the goal immediately suffered doubts when I arrived at the school. Memorable was the door poster of one professor which read, "Graduate students are like slaves and should conduct themselves accordingly." I was not pleased when visiting my faculty advisor he handed me his phone and asked me to listen for his stock broker while he did some paperwork. This was the same professor who laughed at me in a seminar when I asked a question from the perspective of rate of integration (ROI, the forerunner of timism which was realized at that graduate school). Later, when I explained timism in his office, he laughed at me and said it was the craziest thing he had ever heard adding, "I bet you dollars to donuts that it will never fly."

The graduate school in psychology was in a brand-new building with an enlarged budget from which was hired an ancient couple conducting behavior modification rat research. By all accounts, this couple were status symbols to give the school some instant credibility. By all accounts these stars had not done any new behavior modification research in 30 years, merely modifying a parameter to get new research. During one class session, I questioned the value of behavior modification that prompted the tenured, full professor to question why, since I felt that way, was I taking his class. "Why," I responded, "my advisor says that you are an important person whose approval I will need if I am going to move up the academic ladder so he told me I had to take this class." Later, the advisor confronted me.

As an undergraduate I took an art class in using pencil and charcoal. By my own conclusion, I was second best in the class. A girl on a scholarship was in class by herself, far above my abilities. The course director had the same assessment during a conversation in which he said I could make in the art world but whether I would be recognized depended on the "goodwill" of others. Like billards, I only wanted to compete in activities that based on objective achievement over which I had the control of my fate. Thus, I decided art was no place for my fragile ego. Interestingly, a few weeks later I noticed the girl was no longer in class. When queried, the course director said she had dropped out because she said was learning less than she expected for the amount of time she had to put into travel and other courses. A true artist at heart. Her example was a starting point for ending my academic career interests a few years later.

To have a successful career in academic, one must cultivate friendships first and foremost who will be on the tenure committee. One's achievements within the confines of academic freedom are secondary to kissing ass. Clearly, I'm not derriere embracer. I know an individual who published more than the rest of their department whose career track was derailed because they questioned the actions of their department head, e.g., slapping an assistant professor.

If I had stayed in academia I would have become an alcoholic drug addict trading grades for fornication like many a good professor. In assessing a career in a field where one could not question, so called academic freedom, without paying a career penalty was not a career path for me. Besides, I had a part-time business making more money than 3/4's of my professors. I did not need the job or the money which is a primary consideration for many butt-suckers. I'd rather be poor and free than a gutter-minded richman, e.g., my "homeless" years in Minneapolis, Minnesota, despite owning a home in Richmond, Virginia.

I have never regretted abdicating academia. However, the first few years were stressfully uncertain fraught with adventures and missteps. I regain direction when I began writing on democracy and capitalism. In talking with political operatives, I realized I was naieve when it came to the failure of our political process. Initially, I thought the politicians were naieve about the nature of democracy and capitalism. Through a series of adventures and misadventures I realized that the politicians were not stupid, naieve nor igknowant. Rather, they were guilty of the fourth reason that people don't do the right thing: hypocrisy, corruption, and dishonesty.

As I would not career my life to a den of academic hypocrites corrupted by dishonest verbage nor will I waste my time seeking to work with the thieving liars and lying thieves that habitually plague Congress. I have had my share of frustrating experiences with habitual politicians playing hot potato as they hopscotch around the can until they kick the can down road. One sees this in televised interviews in which the politician does not answer the question. I saw it when I followed a congressman around at a private ceremony in which I heard others pose opposite answers to the same problem to which the congressman had a pat answer, "I'm with you on that one." I bet he calls all his mistresses "Sweetie" or "Honey" so he never gets caught in a lie. If one seeks to be true to onesself, one cannot associate with pathological pavericating Pinocchios.

If I had stayed in academia, timism would never had seen the light of day. I have had more academic freedom as a successful businessman structuring my pursues to feed into timism. The time and stress of academic duties dilute one's iCube. I tip my hat to the mathematician who solved one of the top math puzzles and refused all honors and funds that had been waiting for a recipient. Years earlier he had resigned from a prestigious university as he chose the freedom of living with his mother on her pension. For years, when asked how I financed timism, I responded "with poverty and hate." On the one hand, I gave up a lot of financial funds and security for my on-going sabattical financed in part by a loving and believing wife. On the other hand, I avoided a lot of creativity destroying politics, stress and anger.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, doodoo.

As one can be Christ-like without being a christian so can one be professorial in questioning and answering without being in academia. Quite often during a conversation I am asked if I am a professor to which I respond: "No, I had better things to do."