Learning kills appreciation

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Fancy
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Learning kills appreciation

Postby Fancy » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:33 pm UTC

So I'm heavily conflicted about picking what I want ot do with my life. In september, I'll be a high school senior.
I've been into computers for a while and learned a lot, ut they seem to be losing their "beauty" to me. I'm just not sure anymore if it'll make me happy to do this for the rest of my life.

I also like math, physics, and literature. Note that all four of these (computers, mathematics, physics, and literature are things I suck at) and am currently considering some physics because the universe and its workings are still beautiful to me. Similar to math, and writing interests me some but to make a career out of it would be impossible.

So I fear that if I decide to learn about physics or math, they will cease to be bautiful, as computers have. This horrifies me; is it possible to understand something and have it maintain beauty in your eyes, or will learning these topics make them "work" or "a career" and no longer and amazing, interesting subject?

I'm sure other people here have had similar thoughts and are old enough to have made the decision or encountered similar conflicts, and I want to learn from your years of wisdom.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:36 pm UTC

I couldn't disagree with you more! The more I learn about my field of interest, the more amazed at it I become. I have a deeper understanding of the field, which reveals more interesting things about it.

You don't need to know what you're going to do for the rest of your life at your age. You don't even need to know that after college. It sounds like you have identified somethings you enjoy. Maybe try pursuing them, with less attention to your perceived suckage at it, and just enjoy the material and learning about it.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Fancy » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:43 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I couldn't disagree with you more! The more I learn about my field of interest, the more amazed at it I become. I have a deeper understanding of the field, which reveals more interesting things about it.

You don't need to know what you're going to do for the rest of your life at your age. You don't even need to know that after college. It sounds like you have identified somethings you enjoy. Maybe try pursuing them, with less attention to your perceived suckage at it, and just enjoy the material and learning about it.

But I don't know if I can.

I was into computer programming things for a while, but recently I just can't do it. I'm going through books learning nothing and making trivial mistakes that drive me insane for hours after. And then I worry; what if my life becomes being fat, white, and sitting behind a screen 16 hours a day (like it is now)?

I was into math, but it can get killer hard without guidance, so I quit. I believe that for those who don't have a knack for it, university education is the only way to learn mathematics.

Haven't looked much into physics, but it does seem interesting. Especially space, I think everybody can look up at night and know how stunning it is beyond our world.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you study that gets better and better as you understand more and more of it?
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:48 pm UTC

So, it sounds like you have motivation issues, to also look at your fitness thread. That's ok, but it's something you need to work on. Nothing gets overall easier as you grow up, but you hopefully get better at dealing with increased challenges. For example, dealing with classes was really hard for me in college because I didn't know how to advocate for myself and/or be organized for studying, but by the time I started graduate school, I knew what was expected of me as a student and had a much easier time with the classes, even though the materials were strikingly more difficult.

EDIT: And fwiw, working on motivation is also a thing, and also something that people need to get better at.

If you don't ENJOY the stuff anymore, then yeah, find something different you do enjoy. But just because something becomes hard isn't really a reason to totally give up on it, I feel, unless of course it becomes so hard you simply can't justify pursuing it. Like, I enjoy running and cycling, but understand I will never be an Olympic Sprinter. Perhaps you need to evaluate where you want your goals to be for these activities.

I'm in Biology, but honestly, I don't think anyone in science would say the more they learn the less interesting the thing becomes. I don't think anyone in anything academic would say that.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Fancy » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:58 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So, it sounds like you have motivation issues, to also look at your fitness thread. That's ok, but it's something you need to work on. Nothing gets overall easier as you grow up, but you hopefully get better at dealing with increased challenges. For example, dealing with classes was really hard for me in college because I didn't know how to advocate for myself and/or be organized for studying, but by the time I started graduate school, I knew what was expected of me as a student and had a much easier time with the classes, even though the materials were strikingly more difficult.

EDIT: And fwiw, working on motivation is also a thing, and also something that people need to get better at.

If you don't ENJOY the stuff anymore, then yeah, find something different you do enjoy. But just because something becomes hard isn't really a reason to totally give up on it, I feel, unless of course it becomes so hard you simply can't justify pursuing it. Like, I enjoy running and cycling, but understand I will never be an Olympic Sprinter. Perhaps you need to evaluate where you want your goals to be for these activities.

I'm in Biology, but honestly, I don't think anyone in science would say the more they learn the less interesting the thing becomes. I don't think anyone in anything academic would say that.

It's not about it becoming less interesting, it's about it becoming less special. It feels like it becomes work, even if it isn't. A pointless pursuit of knowledge for...nothing, I guess.
It is partially a matter of how something becomes harder. It does get challenging, and I don't handle challenge well. (I was never challenged as a kid, etc, we could hire a psychologist to try and figure this out...)

I recognize that I have motivational issues, but don't know what to do about it. I generally don't care, but during my motivated periods, it's a burst of productivity and everything.

I'm also afraid of these things. Of all the four I listed, only one has career opputunities that are good in the way of salary and growth-computer science. I don't think it's possible to make as good a life as a physicist, mathematician (acturarial work, maybe, but that's soul-sucking), or writer (unless you land among the lucky "Top 1000" that make an excellent living off of it).
Last edited by Fancy on Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:18 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:08 pm UTC

Fancy wrote:It's not about it becoming less interesting, it's about it becoming less special. It feels like it becomes work, even if it isn't. A pointless pursuit of knowledge for...nothing, I guess.
Yeah, I still just disagree with you. Biology is the most special and amazing thing on Earth, and it only gets more special and more amazing the more I learn about it. I'm of course not suggesting I don't have frustrating days, or that it even comes easy to me. But I can't get enough of Biology. I'm of course not saying I find all aspects of biology equally interesting.

Fancy wrote:It is partially a matter of how something becomes harder. It does get challenging, and I don't handle challenge well. (I was never challenged as a kid, etc, we could hire a psychologist to try and figure this out...)
I say this with the utmost of support, but you absolutely MUST get better at this. If your response to all challenge is to quit, you are in for an extremely rocky road. There's a HUGE culture of 'smart people' I've observed who were really good at something in high school or college or grad school or whatever their jobs were, who simply rise to the level of their laziness, and spend a lot of time bitter that 'stupider' people are getting further than them.

The mark of doing well at something is not solely correlated to your intelligence. Aptitude is absolutely a function of 'how hard you're willing to work' at it.

Fancy wrote:I recognize that I have motivational issues, but don't know what to do about it. I generally don't care, but during my motivated periods, it's a burst of productivity and everything.
Heh, do you think this sounds a bit ironic? You have a motivational issue, but you don't care?

Anyway.

Fancy wrote:I'm also afraid of these things. Of all the four I listed, only one has career opputunities that are good in the way of salary and growth-computer science. I don't think it's possible to make as good a life as a physicist, mathematician (acturarial work, maybe, but that's soul-sucking), or writer (unless you land among the lucky "Top 1000" that make an ecellent living off of it).
I think you should reevaluate the career opportunities for people who are good at computers, math, or writing. There is a fairly large demand for all three of those skills.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Fancy » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:20 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Fancy wrote:It's not about it becoming less interesting, it's about it becoming less special. It feels like it becomes work, even if it isn't. A pointless pursuit of knowledge for...nothing, I guess.
Yeah, I still just disagree with you. Biology is the most special and amazing thing on Earth, and it only gets more special and more amazing the more I learn about it. I'm of course not suggesting I don't have frustrating days, or that it even comes easy to me. But I can't get enough of Biology. I'm of course not saying I find all aspects of biology equally interesting.

Fancy wrote:It is partially a matter of how something becomes harder. It does get challenging, and I don't handle challenge well. (I was never challenged as a kid, etc, we could hire a psychologist to try and figure this out...)
I say this with the utmost of support, but you absolutely MUST get better at this. If your response to all challenge is to quit, you are in for an extremely rocky road. There's a HUGE culture of 'smart people' I've observed who were really good at something in high school or college or grad school or whatever their jobs were, who simply rise to the level of their laziness, and spend a lot of time bitter that 'stupider' people are getting further than them.

The mark of doing well at something is not solely correlated to your intelligence. Aptitude is absolutely a function of 'how hard you're willing to work' at it.

Fancy wrote:I recognize that I have motivational issues, but don't know what to do about it. I generally don't care, but during my motivated periods, it's a burst of productivity and everything.
Heh, do you think this sounds a bit ironic? You have a motivational issue, but you don't care?

Anyway.

Fancy wrote:I'm also afraid of these things. Of all the four I listed, only one has career opputunities that are good in the way of salary and growth-computer science. I don't think it's possible to make as good a life as a physicist, mathematician (acturarial work, maybe, but that's soul-sucking), or writer (unless you land among the lucky "Top 1000" that make an ecellent living off of it).
I think you should reevaluate the career opportunities for people who are good at computers, math, or writing. There is a fairly large demand for all three of those skills.

Well, I guess math could also help get a career in engineering or other sciences, but to do pure math for a living is doubtful. Oviously people who do CS things make it pretty good.

I've also seen a lot of people complaining that dumber people were going far when they weren't. Namely, the two who gave me the curse of life-my parents.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:35 pm UTC

Or finance, or consulting, or business, or doing work in other fields. Biology is desperate for people with computational or statistics skills. Biophysics is a field that is absolutely blowing up.

Doing academic math is really hard, and probably very competitive. Academic tenureship is extraordinarily stupidly competitive. If your bar for 'doing a thing' is getting a tenure position in it academically, you're in for one of civilizations more competitive job postings, and it is by no means the only way to apply an interest in computers, math, physics, or writing. By a long shot.
Fancy wrote:I've also seen a lot of people complaining that dumber people were going far when they weren't. Namely, the two who gave me the curse of life-my parents.
I'm not sure how you wanted this parsed.

Also, I think you're getting past the age where you can blame your parents legitimately for your motivational issues. It's fine if you're like, in middle school and your parents don't enforce your homework time while leaving the TV on, but you're going to be graduating high school. Your parents are no longer able call the school and ask how you're doing academically.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Fancy » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:51 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Or finance, or consulting, or business, or doing work in other fields. Biology is desperate for people with computational or statistics skills. Biophysics is a field that is absolutely blowing up.

Doing academic math is really hard, and probably very competitive. Academic tenureship is extraordinarily stupidly competitive. If your bar for 'doing a thing' is getting a tenure position in it academically, you're in for one of civilizations more competitive job postings, and it is by no means the only way to apply an interest in computers, math, physics, or writing. By a long shot.
Fancy wrote:I've also seen a lot of people complaining that dumber people were going far when they weren't. Namely, the two who gave me the curse of life-my parents.
I'm not sure how you wanted this parsed.

Also, I think you're getting past the age where you can blame your parents legitimately for your motivational issues. It's fine if you're like, in middle school and your parents don't enforce your homework time while leaving the TV on, but you're going to be graduating high school. Your parents are no longer able call the school and ask how you're doing academically.

I've NEVER been motivated. Never will
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby speising » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:10 pm UTC

that's the spirit!
but honestly, i always had a motivation problem, too. there are a lot of things i started, and i have a phase there where i really dig into literature and strive to learn everything about the topic, be it espresso making or photography, but the i realize i'll never be as good or as involved as the people i'm reading about, and i just give it up, more or less.

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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:34 pm UTC

Fancy wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Or finance, or consulting, or business, or doing work in other fields. Biology is desperate for people with computational or statistics skills. Biophysics is a field that is absolutely blowing up.

Doing academic math is really hard, and probably very competitive. Academic tenureship is extraordinarily stupidly competitive. If your bar for 'doing a thing' is getting a tenure position in it academically, you're in for one of civilizations more competitive job postings, and it is by no means the only way to apply an interest in computers, math, physics, or writing. By a long shot.
Fancy wrote:I've also seen a lot of people complaining that dumber people were going far when they weren't. Namely, the two who gave me the curse of life-my parents.
I'm not sure how you wanted this parsed.

Also, I think you're getting past the age where you can blame your parents legitimately for your motivational issues. It's fine if you're like, in middle school and your parents don't enforce your homework time while leaving the TV on, but you're going to be graduating high school. Your parents are no longer able call the school and ask how you're doing academically.

I've NEVER been motivated. Never will

Ok then! Good luck!
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Angua » Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:44 am UTC

Most people who are in fields that they love find beauty and appreciation in it. It's not hard to findlists of quotes of famous scientists saying so (Richard Feynman's are the most verbose).
Spoiler:
“I love science, and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awed by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and reinvigorate it.”

― Robert M. Sapolsky ―
"The world and the universe is an extremely beautiful place, and the more we understand about it the more beautiful does it appear."

― Richard Dawkins ―
“Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination - stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one - million - year - old light. A vast pattern - of which I am a part... What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?”

― Richard P. Feynman ―
“I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.”
― Richard P. Feynman ―
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:52 am UTC

Fancy wrote:I was into computer programming things for a while, but recently I just can't do it. I'm going through books learning nothing and making trivial mistakes that drive me insane for hours after. And then I worry; what if my life becomes being fat, white, and sitting behind a screen 16 hours a day (like it is now)?

I was into math, but it can get killer hard without guidance, so I quit. I believe that for those who don't have a knack for it, university education is the only way to learn mathematics.

What I'm getting from this (and your posts in Coding) is that you can't manage to teach yourself these things quickly enough, so you're giving up.

Why?

I fully agree that a university education is the only practical way to learn a lot of higher math, even for most people with a knack for it. I have a knack for math, I just don't have a knack for autodidacticism, so I wen't the standard route of paying other people to teach me about it.

Why do you apparently think that's a bad thing?
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:33 pm UTC

I really want to reiterate though that 'getting good at something' doesn't necessarily mean it comes easy to you. A good number of the people I work with are exceedingly good scientists , but are by no means geniuses biologists/chemists/physicists/whatever. 'Working very hard' is a trait that will get you extremely far in many many things, while 'having a knack for something' may not.

Not to suggest that gmalivuk isn't getting far, or whatever.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:24 pm UTC

Fancy wrote:So I'm heavily conflicted about picking what I want ot do with my life. In september, I'll be a high school senior.
I've been into computers for a while and learned a lot, ut they seem to be losing their "beauty" to me. I'm just not sure anymore if it'll make me happy to do this for the rest of my life.

I also like math, physics, and literature. Note that all four of these (computers, mathematics, physics, and literature are things I suck at) and am currently considering some physics because the universe and its workings are still beautiful to me. Similar to math, and writing interests me some but to make a career out of it would be impossible.

So I fear that if I decide to learn about physics or math, they will cease to be bautiful, as computers have. This horrifies me; is it possible to understand something and have it maintain beauty in your eyes, or will learning these topics make them "work" or "a career" and no longer and amazing, interesting subject?

I'm sure other people here have had similar thoughts and are old enough to have made the decision or encountered similar conflicts, and I want to learn from your years of wisdom.


Okay, I'll start with the easiest one. Writing, particularly writing anything of substantial length, requires immense determination. A professional author is considered pretty prolific if they can write a novel every year. And again, that's a professional, for whom writing is more-or-less a full-time profession. Of course, that isn't the only type of writer there is, since you were talking literature rather than say, journalism or technical writing, I'm guessing that was sort of what you were thinking. There is really no way that you can be a professional, or even amateur writer, unless you are very dedicated to your work. Fortunately, you can appreciate the beauty of literature without requiring that kind of motivation, since you can just read the many thousands of books written by people who do have that level of dedication.

I think that in the study of any topic, there will certainly be periods of time where you will have difficulty seeing the beauty in it. There are lots of underlying nuts and bolts stuff that is not that glamorous, and is just going to be hard work. But it's still certainly important. A lot of undergraduates going into physics, say, have heard things about particle physics or black holes or string theory or whatever that sounds really cool, and want to learn all about that stuff. But if you want more than a very superficial understanding of those topics, there's a bunch of other stuff you need to know too, some that might be interesting, some, maybe not so much. A lot of what actually gets reported in popular scientific media is going to be right at, or pretty close to, the cutting edge of the field. To use a sports analogy--when you watch, say, basketball on TV, you're seeing the top-level professionals playing. But if you actually want to play at that level, you're going to have to spend an awful lot of time just standing at a basket shooting free throws and practicing layups, among many other things. That isn't to say that the process can't be fun and exciting--lots of people love playing amateur sports with no interest in ever reaching even a semi-pro level--but if you want to become a professional at something, rather than just an interested amateur or spectator, then you are going to need to put in a lot of work.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you study that gets better and better as you understand more and more of it?


Sadly, the only things that have this property are probably things that are explicitly designed to give you feedback rewards in a certain way--video games, say. There are a lot of things that get more interesting the more you learn in general, but that doesn't mean that there won't be specific instances where you will really hate the subject in between. As an example for myself, when I did my physics undergrad, I did an electromagnetism class that was pretty easy and kind of interesting and I did pretty well. I did a second EM class that was brutally hard and I hated the subject and didn't do particularly well. I did a third class EM in graduate school that was also brutally hard, but I didn't hate it quite so much and I did okay. The next year I was a TA for the class that I absolutely hated in undergrad, and I loved it. I actually really felt that I understood the material inside and out, and found the concepts very elegant. For me, being able to move from the superficial beauty of the first class, to the beauty of insight of where I ended up, required me to slog through two of the most difficult courses I'd ever taken, one of which, I really hated.

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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby poxic » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:43 pm UTC

Fancy wrote:I've NEVER been motivated. Never will

This used to be me. I discovered something one day called "giving a shit". Once I learned that, I found out that that's how motivation happens.

It's super easy to say "I don't give a shit" to everything, all the time, because that protects you from getting anxious and upset about anything. It will also kneecap you. You won't be able to get anything done because you don't care and won't push yourself to care.

That can (and probably will) change as you get older. Probably because, like me, you will start running into one crisis after another that just can't be solved by not caring. Health, money, friends. It all goes away if it isn't cared about.

The good thing is that caring does work. Once you give a shit about something, now you're motivated because goddamn it so much I hate the gym, but goddamn do I feel hella better once I'm out of there. Looking for a new job sucks ass, but goddamn will I be so much better off in a more stable, better-paid situation. My friends aren't perfect, but if I keep tolerating their flaws like they tolerate mine, goddamn do we have a hot time improvising music together. It's the highlight of my week and makes all the other shit worthwhile.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:05 am UTC

One great reason to give a shit about getting things done whether or not they are exciting or special is that work pays the rent. Soon you won't be living with your parents. You will be doing your own laundry, having to replace your own rolls of toilet paper, having to wash your own dishes.
Nobody really loves hauling out the trash. It still has to be done.
Every one who feels that they have be inspired on order to do good work is missing the point-99% of success at any task is getting your butt in the chair and working. (That was aimed originally at writers, but is applicable across the working world) Quitting when it gets hard, boring or less special is a guarantee of failure. Deciding that motivation is too hard is another.
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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Jorpho » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:16 am UTC

"The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side." -James Baldwin

...Wait, this is an old thread and the OP has departed. Never mind.

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Re: Learning kills appreciation

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:24 am UTC

Dearly departed?

Oh dear.
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