Richard Ernst (2009) - Passions and Activities beyond Science

Richard Ernst (2009)

Passions and Activities beyond Science

Richard Ernst (2009)

Passions and Activities beyond Science

Abstract

“Success in science requires full devotion and relentless day and night activity in the research lab!” This is a notion common among the public, and often also among teachers and beginning students. “Let your scientific activities become your most beloved passions, and success will not fail to arrive!” – Indeed there is much truth in this opinion. Without passion, no scientific breakthroughs will ever be achieved! But it is not the full truth. In fact, there is a world beyond science, and our humanness requires a much broader field for its full development. Without developing several of our gifts and satisfying our diverging ambitions, we will also lack the ultimate scientific insight, and we may not reach the envisioned professional goals even by working 24 hours per day. The scientific view of reality reveals only part of the truth, and we experience reality through its projection onto a lower dimensional scientific subspace.

One might caricature an ambitious scientist as a one-legged person hopping along a dusty road without any chance to reach ever the remote goal. He or she can move much more efficiently by developing a second leg beyond the scientific discipline. And the creative interaction between the professional and the passionate leg may lead ultimately to the inspiration he or she is longing for.

There is no strict rule for the selection of the second leg. Each person has to find one (or perhaps more than one) for itself. But not unexpectedly, the more remote the field of passion is from the field of professional activity, the more stable will be the stand and the more inspiring the interaction.

The lecture will be illustrated by the experiences and passionate choices of the author. He is convinced that his passions have paved the way towards scientific achievements and have enormously enriched his personal life.

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