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Complex interests, what to study, and if it matters

  1. Jun 13, 2013 #1


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    I'm a new undergrad. I have been obsessed with learning for a long time but it has had no direction. It's all about the rush for me. However, I've decided that I need to take my studying more seriously and systematically to genuinely add anything new to pile of human knowledge.

    The problem is that I feel what I know is so broad as to become a jack of all trades yet master of none. I have struggled with trying to choose one subject to specialize in for a career.

    However, I am genuinely most interested in the convergence of different disciplines and I would say that this is where I'd like to contribute.

    Emergence, quantum mind, theories of consciousness, psychology, probability, systems, chaos theory, and what quantum mechanics really mean to everyday life, if anything.

    The problem is, I of course don't have enough technical knowledge of any of those things to produce more than pure conjecture. In fact, most of the things that are most interesting to me are considered pseudoscience by many. Can pseudoscience be a precursor to what is currently understood?

    I'm trying to decide if I want my b.s. to be in physics or biophysics. Is it possible to be accepted to a neuroscience graduate program with a b.s. in physics? Or do I even have a b.s. in biology and then try to go for a physics graduate degree? Which is preferable? It seems to me that there is ground to be broken everywhere, so I wonder what difference it really makes.

    I have also considered double majors like physics and philosophy or mathematics and philosophy.

    How does one become a useful transdisciplinarian, if there is such a thing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2013 #2


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    Can one become a polymath in the modern world without being a savant or is every subject too deep?
  4. Jun 13, 2013 #3


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    Also, it has of course occurred to me that this may be economically impractical or that I may not actually be good enough to pull it off. I have thought about studying something in science with more job opportunities and security while pursuing my own interests on the side. I feel after my degree, I'll have considerably more self control with which to systematically teach myself.

    I'd prefer to be in a position where my work is my play.

    A person only lives once, why not shoot for the stars?
  5. Jun 13, 2013 #4


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    What you are up to is not technically wrong, but you need to be aware that you need to become an expert in at least one field of study. And before going into unknown territory, it is essential that you have an indepth understanding of the current state of the art in "conventional" science. Almost all breakthroughs in all areas of science were done by people who were either experts in their field or related fields.

    I'd say what field you should choose is is more or less arbitrary. But if your interests are so broad anyway, why not settle for something which *also* can serve as a valid backup if your plans don't work out? For example, if you really wish to understand consciousness, it is likely a good idea to start it with a hard traditional science like psychology, which actually does deal with those issues and is founded on hard evidence. Then you can take up the additional knowledge (say, in comp sci, programming, artificial intelligence) you might need in your quest on the side and incorporate it into the building of things you already know.
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