Monday, August 07, 2006
A Unified Theory of Academic Willpower
Cordelia Fine, writing for The Australian, shares the secret of her father's success as an academic philosopher. How is he able to sit in his chair and puzzle through that difficult article? Where does he find the strength of will to finish that manuscript? Simple: he indulges his will in every other arena of life.
The secret of his success as an academic, I am now convinced, is to ensure that none of his precious brainpower is wasted on other, less important matters. He feels the urge to sample a delicious luxury chocolate? He pops one in his mouth. Pulling on yesterday's shirt less trouble than finding a clean one? Over his head the stale garment goes. Rather fancies sitting in a comfy armchair instead of taking a brisk jog around the park? Comfy armchair it is. Thanks to its five-star treatment, my father's willpower - rested and restored whenever possible - can take on the search for wisdom with the strength of 10 men.Now if you'll excuse me, there's a chocolate-pecan brownie and a comfy chair calling my name. I could resist, but I need that willpower to write a book review, finish my syllabi, and continue sorting through archive notes from earlier in the summer. And when duty calls in the form of chocolate, I answer. (Hat-tip: AL Daily.)