What Now?

I am between grants – I hope. As I mentioned in my last post, basic research has been hit hard by government cuts, so you’ve probably figured – uhmm is she one of them? Well yes and now that I’m between grants with no money, the research has almost ground to a halt.  I keep telling myself that I’ll write that spiel on what I did do one of these days but time seems to go down some wormhole as I try to keep up with my family’s comings and goings, not to mention my responsibilities as Sisterhood President at Congregation Kol Ami. Nature abhors a vacuum even in a time bucket.This is the week of Succot, and its followed by one of my favorite holidays, Simchat Torah which comes this Thursday evening.  What’s so special about Simchat Torah? I learned  when I was young – very young that the giving of the Torah was really to mankind, and that we as Jews were only the custodians. Later, in life, I learned that people don’t really want anything the reveals essential truths; not from nature, not from society and darned sure not from an old book.  By essential truths I mean those that come from the experience of everyday living. Old books such as the Torah, Koran, commentaries, New Testament, etc.., run rife with what we do to each other, to nature and to nonhuman animals. So what am I getting at here?

In the absence of seeking the truth about nature, I’ve had time to realize the simple truths of becoming older, the 50’s something years in which one is now confronted with injuries that don’t heal so readily, a deeper appreciation of all things good  and the need to remove one’s self from the
ADHD state of mind induced by our digital revolution. Call it old age slow down, whatever you like, but for those of us who’ve experienced classrooms with solid content taught by teachers and professors driven by a love of teaching and  passion for their subject and who were not intimidated by belligerent students and administrators, we want our minds back.  We don’t find it pleasant to work in an environment where we’re forced to develop substandard products barely passing inspection. Nor do we find it pleasant to not be acknowledged or appreciated for a job well done. We don’t want to work for management driven by numbers, speed and a basic lack of principles, forcing employees to work double time, year around and under conditions where resources such as up-to-date tooling, software, and workplace safety are pretty much non-existent. We want to live and give in a human world where kindness towards others is a standard and excellent work is appreciated.

Despite what this new ‘internet’ age has brought us – access to the entire planet, knowledge, art; no one is able to study it or fully enjoy it. True creativity is squashed and an appreciation for tribal knowledge that in part feeds innovation and affords young people the opportunity to avoid the mistakes made before is not seen. What is the solution – a balanced blend? Of course, but business leaders, managers, and the wealthy who drive commerce and politics have to be on board. Am I saying anything new? Of course not – What I am saying is that many people are ‘opting out’, all of them of course, taking financial risks.  It is my opinion that it is the middle-agers leading this growing revolution of people who opt for a better life and world , who chose to work as consultants, or as independent small business owners and who choose to buy from local markets for food and necessities.  It will be interesting indeed to see the outcome of this revolution on society and business in the next 50 years.

The essential truth I have discovered here – it’s better to be a proud, productive and giving homo sapiens, one with an intact creative mind, ready to contribute to solving many of the ills we face today; a mysterious climate change, poverty, science illiteracy and lack of kindness towards humans and nonhuman animals.

Just a finishing note:
I want to continue my research, especially given not much is known to date about climate dynamics or the mechanisms responsible for clouds, winds, storms, etc. But there is an anti science political climate out now and the Obama administration is too beleaguered to address this, much less put up a united front with what seems to be a minority of congressional representatives and senators who actually support the concerns of the public in funding basic research. I’m not talking about STEM here. You can train all of the scientists and engineers you want but if the market can’t give them a living doing science, what’s the point?


About Deborah Leddon

Vegetarian Mother and Wife, Scientist at UTD CSS, passionate about my family, animal rights, the outdoors and my violin.
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