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Is anyone else feeling the same?

  1. Oct 30, 2013 #1
    Recently, I've started to research and look up some of history's intellectual geniuses and watching documentaries about them (such as Einstein, Newton, Michio Kaku, etc. and all of their different theories and ideas) and after a few weeks, I started to find it depressing that I'm never going to reach that level of "genius" (and don't tell me that we're all "special" in some way because, excuse my language, we all know that that is BS). I realize that these are just very few people selected for a higher purpose out of the billions of people who ever lived since 10,000 B.C.E, but I still find it rather depressing, did anyone else ever feel something similar at some point of their life? Or am I just "too knowledgeable/self aware" for my own good (even though I'm not smart at all, I just didn't how to word it properly)?
    p.s Sorry if I put this in the wrong section but 'general discussion' was the closest thing I could find
     
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  3. Oct 30, 2013 #2
    I think eventually you'll be too busy to feel that way, or you'll just get over it. There's no point trying to compare yourself to the greats, because they were great from a young age - with the except of perhaps a very few, they were all gifted in physics and mathematics at a very early age, and the level of skill they possessed isn't something you can gradually work towards as an adult IMO.

    Just do your best and try to enjoy yourself. There's lots of things you'll never be great at - it's too late for you to become an Olympic gymnast, or a profession football player, or a grandmaster of chess, or a million other things, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy life.
     
  4. Oct 31, 2013 #3
    Learn classical mechanics and you'll know more than all the ancient scientists who worked on mechanics.
    Learn chemistry and you'll know more than all the ancient alchemists.
    Learn contemporary astronomy and cosmology and you'll know more than Galileo et al.
    Learn relativity and you'll know more than Newton et al.
    Learn quantum mechanics and you'll know more than John Dalton et al.
    etc.

    What I am trying to say is that I think it's good to remember that we all stand on the shoulders of giants.
     
  5. Oct 31, 2013 #4

    Astronuc

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    Obtain an education and knowledge, and do what one can do.

    It's not really a race, but if everyone who fell behind the front runner gave up, then it would become a 1 person event.

    Everyone can contribute something to the world, so think of something positive to contribute.

    I find that there is more than enough for one to do for several lifetimes.

    Robert Curl didn't give up - http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1996/curl-bio.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  6. Oct 31, 2013 #5

    arildno

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    You would feel a lot less depressed if you get rid of the following contempt expressed for ordinary people:
    "I realize that these are just very few people selected for a higher purpose out of the billions of people who ever lived since 10,000 B.C.E"
    ---
    What makes a scientist into such a superhuman, the only one who fulfills "a higher purpose"?
    That is just denigrating all other life projects around which peoples' lives revolve.

    Perhaps you should start looking for OTHER fields, IN ADDITION TO, science, in which you also find meaning, rather than dismissing those fields as being of "low purpose"?
     
  7. Oct 31, 2013 #6

    russ_watters

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    You are not special and you can't do everything you want. But I don't see how that obvious reality should cause depression unless our society has driven into you for decades the lie that you are special.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  8. Oct 31, 2013 #7

    arildno

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    Agreed!
    But, isn't this really the downside of the universal slogan: "You can become anything you want to be!" ?
    Personally, I think a better slogan would be: "You can always do better!"

    Even better would be to do away slogans altogether.
     
  9. Oct 31, 2013 #8
    I used to feel that way, then I got high. joking but I did feel like you but you should not compare yourselves to others but rather take example of them. Don't get upset because you wont discover neo-relativity (perhaps you will).
     
  10. Oct 31, 2013 #9

    arildno

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    To feel pride and gratefulness that you can follow the works of the truly great minds is in itself a source of joy and self-confidence.
     
  11. Oct 31, 2013 #10

    WannabeNewton

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    Lol Einstein,Newton, Michio Kaku...one of these things just doesn't belong here!
     
  12. Oct 31, 2013 #11
    Yeah, what did that Newton guy ever do for science...
     
  13. Oct 31, 2013 #12
    If you're talking about Michio Kaku, then you're wrong. The man is a genius and I watched many videos of him on youtube and read a bit about him, I also have much respect for Theoretical physicists (Kaku being one) and Astrophysicists because they don't just focus on the small things here on earth, they go beyond that.
     
  14. Oct 31, 2013 #13
    "Standing on the shoulders of giants"... I've heard that term before though I never believed in it until now. I also believe in a similar idea (it may sound cliché but it applies perfectly): That humanity has been basically building a incredibly tall building since we evolutionized from apes, every single person has somewhat contributed to that building, some people contribute bigger "bricks" to that building such as the people I mentioned before, and some people "take out" bricks from the building (such as religious people, soldiers fighting in wars, etc.), while other people contribute much smaller "bricks" such as anyone who works in a different profession other than science; that building is the building of knowledge. I know it may seem wrong to automatically assume that any profession other than science (especially physics) and even philosophy is somewhat "inferior", but it really is. I mean think about it: Any other profession basically builds on just humanity (such as economics, politics, etc. and everything else that only applies to us, humans), but the universe is obviously much bigger than us, therefore one can conclude that a study of the universe (science) is drastically more important that a study done on just us humans (all the other careers), these other careers may exist simply because we are so self-centered and that we don't see the "big picture" (that is, the universe that is beyond us), we try to focus most of our attention on politics (especially the pointless wars we fight), economy, fictional stories (also known as religion), etc. But very few of us actually focus on the "bigger picture", which I find somewhat depressing.
     
  15. Oct 31, 2013 #14

    arildno

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    "but the universe is obviously much bigger than us, therefore one can conclude that a study of the universe (science) is drastically more important "

    So..you are less important than a rock weighing 200 kilograms?

    Again, you have som skewed sense of "objective importance" of different life pursuits that is not just contemptuous, but also deeply..illogical.
     
  16. Oct 31, 2013 #15
    He certainly seems to be, but Newton and Einstein are geniuses on a level that make the accomplishments and/or abilities of other geniuses seem average.
     
  17. Oct 31, 2013 #16
    Sure, the man is a genius. But compared to Newton and Einstein, he looks like a toddler in kindergarten.
     
  18. Oct 31, 2013 #17
    Why is science objectively more important? One can't make a sweeping dismissal of endeavours and achievements based on which category they fall under. Would you really say that knowing why grass is green is a more impressive and significant achievement than the Sistine Chapel? Or that knowing how hair grows is more impressive and significant than the works of Shakespeare? Our judgement of the significance of different accomplishments should be done on a case-by-case basis, not a categorical one.

    Great art (including literature, music, visual art, etc.) is inspirational, and it provides perspective, important emotional and intellectual experiences, and pushes us to think critically about ourselves, those around us, and the world in general; great politicians and military men provided leadership and strategic thinking without which the Allies probably would have lost World War II; studying history enables us to learn from past accomplishments and mistakes and to compare current events with past events. Need I go on?
     
  19. Oct 31, 2013 #18

    WannabeNewton

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    ^sounds like an advertisement for a liberal arts class at my university that no one cares about :)
     
  20. Oct 31, 2013 #19
    :biggrin:

    It was a nice try though, I almost fell for it :tongue2:
     
  21. Oct 31, 2013 #20

    phinds

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    Yeah, he did some brilliant work years ago but he has turned himself into a joke in recent years.

    There are numerous threads in this forum that point out exactly what I'm saying. Here are just a couple of places to check that out.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Michio_Kaku

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/26680

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/02/16/why-do-physicists-think-they-a/
     
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