Get a PhD—but leave academia as soon as you graduate


Just a thought..

Originally posted on Quartz:

Enrolling in a PhD program is, from an economic perspective, a terrible decision. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Just don’t let it ruin your life.

Here’s how that could happen: After nearly 10 years in graduate school and substantial debt, you still end up a part-time or adjunct professor (and still in debt). According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, these jobs make up 76% of the academic labor force, pay less than $3,000 a class, and lack benefits and job security.

Here’s how to avoid that predicament: Contrary to what they tell you in graduate school, the world outside the ivory tower isn’t so bad. And so the minute you get the PhD, you must leave academia.

I’d have earned more money if I did an MBA, but going to graduate school was the best thing I ever did. I went in ambivalent about…

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Many philosophers had scattered interests and wrote on diverse topics, but Foucault, despite his massive erudition, really had only one interest: power. His work forms one of the most systematic explorations of a topic that any philosopher has produced. He looked at the power of norms, in other words, what is considered normal and abnormal – as a gay man, he had a particular interest in the latter. By examining forms of abnormality – criminality, insanity, sexual deviance, ill health – and how they changed over time, he theorized they ways in which power functions as a form of control over populations and individuals.

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was professor of the History of Systems of Thought at the prestigious College de France, where he was not required to teach, but only to do research and give a series of public lectures each year.

Michel Foucault was born in 1926 in Poitiers, France, the son of a doctor. His father wanted him to become a doctor as well, and their somewhat strained relationship seems to have left traces in his work and life. He sat for the entrance exam to the prestigious Ecole Normal Superior, and at first failed to gain acceptance (he was 101st – only 100 were admitted!). He studied for one more year and placed fourth on the exam (placing first was the feminist philosopher Simone de Bouvior). At the Ecole Normal Superior, he was influenced by Freidrich Nietzsche, who remained influential throughout Foucault’s career. Foucault said that Nietzsche had gotten right the centrality of power in human affairs.

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The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung was born in 1875, the son of a poor pastor of the Reformed Swiss Church. Mild early childhood neuroses had led him to become interested in psychology, even though it was not a prestigious occupation at the time. He studied medicine at the University of Basel, and practiced in Zurich.

C.G. Jung

Jung is best known for his ideas of archetypes, introversion and extroversion, and the collective unconscious. His method led to an entire Jungian school of practice, including the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. In some quarters, his mystical writings on topics like alchemy and synchronicity have made him a kind of Godfather of the new age movement. In Jung, we see the intersection of standard, accepted scientific practices and occult mysticism. Jung maintained his entire career, however, that he was a scientist, not a mystic.


Archetypes are idealized images of personality that we emulate. the four primary archetypes are the self, the shadow (that which one hides from the world and even from oneself), anima or animus (the idea of the opposite gender), and persona. There are many persona an individual can take on. These are idealized forms that we aspire to:

Jungian archetypes of persona


The archetypes relate to introversion and extroversion. Jung relates the ancient archetype of Apollo to introversion: dreaming, reflecting and visioning. Extroversions is related to the ancient archetype of Dionysius: one who wants to participate in the world – politics, intrigue, family, etc.


The collective unconscious is a reservoir of unconscious experience that a species can tap into. This is distinguished from an individual’s unconscious – the collection of personal experiences that he or she draws from. As Jung put it in Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (1996, 43):

My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.


Jung was cutting his teeth in Psychotherapy in the shadow of Freud, but as its most promising young star. When the two first met, they famously had a half-day long conversation. But Jung’s openness to seemingly non-scientific matters led to a rift between the two great psychotherapists that never healed. Differences in wealth (Jung married a very wealthy heiress, while Freud struggled) and youthfulness (Jung had to carry  the sick Freud at a conference) led to antipathy  between them.


At the age of 40, Jung felt that he had achieved all that a person could ask for, professionally and personally. He even said that “life begins at 40, the rest [the earlier period] is just research.”  Jung began a series of eccentric self-explorations, such as painting the inside of a tower on his property, studying alchemy and writing and illustrating The Red Book, a kind of exposition of his own personal unconscious, including dreams and visions. He claimed that all his late work was derivative of The Red Book. Because of its personal nature, the book was only shown to less than a dozen people and kept in a safety deposit box for a half-century before finally being released in 2009 by his grandson.

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Image from The Red Book (New York Times)

Along with the posts on RousseauPlatoBaconMachiavelliSaid, Marx and Locke, this post, and many to follow, are part of an upcoming project (as you can see it’s not all philosophy!) – stay tuned.

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Jungian Archetypes


RE: The Jung article posted above

Originally posted on Cognitive Consonance:

Archetypesvary greatly through different cultures many of which overlap. As these archetypes are used symbolically to helps us make sense of the world, they can be found in all forms of human expression: art, drama, literature, etc.

The nature of archetypes is such that they are easily recognisable so that we can easily attach emotional meaning. As mentioned in my previous post on Carl Jung, they can be associated with a multitude of behavioural and emotional patterns. However, some archetypes are far more recognisable than others. As a paradigm, the Wise Old Woman, the Great Mother and the Hero. One of the most important archetype is, however, less known. Jung describes it as the Persona and was something he identified early in his own life. He recognised it as his “tendency to share only a certain part of his personality with the outside world.” As he grew older and more…

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¡Ikatú! = “Yes, we can!” (A new proposition on how to understand and measure poverty)


Some applications of Wilber’s quadrants ..

Originally posted on Accion Ambassadors Blog:

The Fundación Paraguaya appreciates thinking outside the box, which in turn makes me appreciate the Fundación. Take their vanguard project Ikatu, for example. The mission of this endeavor is to analyze the multifaceted reasons that contribute to about 60% of the Paraguayan population to live in poverty[1]. Looking at income and purchasing power parity to describe a person living in poverty is not enough to address the problem. This kind of approach simplifies the truth about life and existence and as most of us realize as we mature: life just is not that simple.

Martin Burt, Executive Director of the Fundación Paraguay, introduced Ikatu as a project to understand poverty as it exists in Paraguay. The hopes are to be aware of what characteristics (vital behaviors) differ between their clients coming from different social classes. That way the Fundación could see how to improve their services to their…

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IN his web chat on The Guardian website, Slavoj Zizek noted that “we were all Fukuyamaists,” meaning that everyone, even the left, believed in a sense that we were at Fukuyama’s “end of history.” The meaning of this end of history was widely debated, but it argued that with liberal democracy, no further progress was required or possible.

Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man

Fukuyama actually meant this in a Hegelian sense – that the thesis of monarchical authoritarianism and its liberal communitarian antithesis had been resolved with the synthesis of moderate liberal capitalist democracy. [Hegel’s most influential idea was that an idea, or thesis, confronts its opposite, or antithesis, and the two resolve at a higher level in a synthesis.]  Zizek’s point was that even the left had failed to imagine possibilities other than the same liberal democracy and that debate came to be about what kinds of reforms – essentially tweaks – could be made to make the system more just.

Prof. Slavoj Zizek is international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London and senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

We continue to find ourselves in this rut, caused by an inability to imagine alternatives to the system we find ourselves in. This is particularly perilous for Hawaiians, who are in various ways trying to imagine an alternative society, but are trapped in the paradigms imposed on us over the past century.

When trying to imagine alternative social arrangements, it may be helpful to think about what kinds of assumptions can be made of people in any given system. In capitalism, for example, we assume that most people do not steal (most stores do not have security guards, but often a 100 pound teenage girl as the only one “guarding” the store – this is only seen as dangerous in “dangerous” neighborhoods, not in “normal” ones), but in fact believe in the system to the extent that people will go out of their way to show that they have the money to buy even overpriced goods (to which prestige may be attached). Those who do steal are shunned, perhaps shown on reality or crime shows as examples of social misfits. They are, in the terminology of [transpersonal] psychology, pre-conventional; they do not adhere to the expectations of the society, but to one “below” it. The ability to assume people do not steal is quite an accomplishment, because it is an assumption that people do not always do what is in their blatant self-interest – or perhaps that their self-interest can be much more complex.

NOW imagine a society in which one could assume that people are pro-social, and that they do not behave in ways that damage the natural world – this society is already beginning to emerge and its norms are being constantly enforced (see the film version of The Grinch). These people are “post-conventional,” but this view is quickly becoming “conventional” – Noam Chomsky noted recently that in his youth, women’s rights and the environmental movement did not exist. Now imagine further a society in which it can be assumed that history, law and intellectual and artistic pursuits are actually important and should be encouraged, even if they don’t have “market value” – or where they’re given market value (or where there is no market). This exercise may be viewed as utopian, but that is exactly the point, as Robert Kennedy said, “to imagine a world which has not been and say ʻwhy not?'”


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If Marx was declared dead in 1990-91, he seemed to be resurrected in 2008. As Communist governments fell or were transformed, awkwardly, into pseudo-capitalist ones (as Russia did, and China had previously), capitalism appeared to have taken the day – Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” had arrived. But in the inventing years, Marx retained his currency in academia because of his theoretical contributions to the critique of capitalism, and because the academic left was not as jubilant for the end of history as was the right. Then Marx was rehabilitated when capitalism’s structural flaws became apparent with the financial crisis.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

All this is to situate Marx in the real world – I came to know his work during his brief afterlife in the 1990s. I remember first reading The Communist Manifesto at a campsite in Flagstaff Arizona and feeling somewhat subversive in that conservative state. Thus it is with some relish that I dust off (literally) my old copy of The Marx-Engles Reader. Marx was born at Trier, Prussia (later Germany) in 1818, studied at the Universities of Bonn and Berlin, and wrote his best-known work (though not his magnum opus), The Communist Manifesto in 1848 [Hawaiian connection]. He married Jenny von Westphalen, the daughter of a Baron, had several children, and lived in such dire poverty that some of the children died, though spies told of his caring, loving demeanor as a father. He lived in England and collaborated with Friedrich Engles, author of Condition of the Working Class in England.



Marx was one of the “Young Hegelians” who followed in the wake of that philosopher to whom Foucault said “all philosophy is a footnote.” Specifically, he was a “left Hegelian” using Hegel’s idea of the dialectic to show how advanced societies would move, in evolutionary fashion, toward socialism. The dialectic was, like a dialog, a conversation in which each element responds to the last and development occurs this way. This is as opposed to a “teleological,” or internally-driven form of development. According to Kedourie in Hegel and Marx: Introductory Lectures (1995), he saw himself as another Hegel, who, standing on his head, was set right by Marx. While Hegel invoked spirit with his weltgeist (world spirit) and zeitgeist (spirit of the times), Marx was, at root, a materialist; he viewed the material conditions of humanity as the basis of historical development itself – Marx’s “historical materialism.”


In his essay On the Jewish Question, Marx addressed the topic of private property. Specifically, he examined its relation to voting rights in the US. He applauded the state constitutions that had abolished private property as a voting requirement [Hawaiian connection], but questioned whether doing so actually sublimated the role of private property so that the privilege it afforded became invisible.


“A specter is haunting Europe; the specter of communism” (Marx, 1848). This quote and the final line from Marx’s Manifesto, “Workingmen of the world unite!” are seared into the minds of the (at one point) billions of people living under communist regimes. The sheer impact of Marxʻs work, both philosophically and in the real world explains the relevance of his thought and why many still visit his tomb in London.

Along with the posts on RousseauPlatoBaconMachiavelli, Said and Locke, this post, and many to follow, are part of an upcoming project (it’s not all philosophy!) – stay tuned.

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