Monday 20 December 2021

My shameful past - three great sins repented

I have done much of which I repent - since I became a Christian I have discerned and recognized this; and three of the worst of my sins were being a doctor, a scientist and a university teacher. 

What appalling professions these have turned out to be: how solidly and aggressively evil these three careers have become!

Are there any worse jobs? probably not. Some are equally bad: politics, the civil service, law, the mass media, police... but none are significantly worse than medicine, biological research, and academia; none have contributed more to the current corrupt, cowardly and value-inverted state of the world here-and-now.

Yet these activities are what I gave the bulk of my life to! 

Nothing to be proud of there... Much to repent. 


Avro G said...

For years I have kicked myself that, had I not made certain catastrophic choices in youth, I might have been, say, a university teacher. The occupations you list are among the highest centers of authority in our society. Hence they have been targeted for capture by the forces of evil. That doesn’t make me glad for what I did. It does show how pervasive the rot is.

ted said...

As I was contemplating my own career transgressions, I have pondering if there are any truly good occupations within the system these days? Perhaps we are all complicit that have bought into it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ted - Very likely, but it is for each individual to acknowledge this wrt himself. It does no real good merely to accuse others.

In my case I had a genuine (misplaced) loyalty to these professional groups and their (supposed) ideals - which was (I later saw) an attempted substitute for the Christianity I rejected.

It's the old story of putting second things first...

John Goes said...

I felt this very keenly in 2012/2013, during a pivotal moment in my PhD program (mathematics). A vocation that I had idolized in my youth had clearly become decrepit and evil. Even individual research programs had become bureaucratic enterprises, with obtaining-of-funding the major focus. And of course as part of this, lying was de rigeur.

The depth of the rot was really driven home to me by your book "Not Even Trying", one of my favorite books you've written. I believe there are still a few small islands of integrity within mathematics, at least, but they are rare. I ended up finishing my PhD and going into industry, but sometimes I wonder if there would have been more dignity in leaving without it.

I am good friends with a medical doctor who has also verified first-hand many of the things you have talked about regarding the state of medicine. As with just about everything else, the bureaucrats and "stattos" have infiltrated it, and medicine has become a dishonest, evil enterprise, on the whole.

Incidentally, what address do you prefer? Bruce? Dr. Charlton? Professor Charlton? I have always struggled using formal address, partly out of my overly-familiar-Americanness, partly out of an anti-elitism in modern math culture that was drilled into me, but mostly, I think, because I no longer think much of the titles. But the titles of old I do bear respect for, and I have great respect for you. I dimly recall you had a negative opinion about *not* using these titles, at least awhile back. I have been presumptuously referring to you buy your first name, but realize now that I should probably have asked you first.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JG -

I hope it goes without saying *again* on this blog; that we all lead lives of sin and sin is utterly unavoidable - so I am not proposing that there is any job/ career or profession that is Good in contrast to others that are evil.

If someone chooses to be a death camp guard, public health doctor, social scientist, journalist or drug researcher, he can still be 'a good Christian' so long as they acknowledge they are indeed serving evil, and repent this.

The problem is that this so very seldom happens.

The point is not to pretend that we can do the impossible and avoid sin (and evil work) - but that we acknowledge and repent the evil that we inevitably do that is what Jesus asks of us, and it is possible for anyone.


I have a thick skin about forms of address, having been a university lecturer - but I personally prefer not to call people by just their first name unless they are a friend - and would either use the full name or their proper title (if I know it).

My title is (again) doctor (since I retired) - so if someone wants to give me a title it is doctor, not mister.

Giving somebody a title, but using the *wrong* one - seems like the worst of all worlds: why use a title At All, if you then use the wrong one?

I notice this when it happens; but it's not something that bothers me, after so many decades of experiencing it so often from students.

R.J.Cavazos said...

Oh yes. Former university professor and economist--lots of regret on this!

John Goes said...

It does go without saying. We are in agreement about sin being unavoidable. I also do not think being a professor/doctor is especially evil in contrast to some class of "good jobs". I believe, as I think you do, that almost every profession these days is, broadly speaking, evil.

I do feel a special hostility toward academia, however, because it betrayed my expectations in such a deep and personal way. I remain devoted to the *ideal* of academia, its culture of old, when there were still honest men searching for truth. But it is dead, no longer a living reality. And I resent my participation in the illusion that it is other than that, if that makes sense.

So while, again, I do believe that sin is largely unavoidable, and fully agree with you that inward repentance is all that is *essential*, I also believe that life is a quest in which sometimes we are called, as individuals, to make hard choices and resist specific evils that are important for our quest. This is a matter of personal discernment, based on an individuals needs, strengths and weaknesses. As part of this, I legitimately wonder whether I perhaps should have left, and what I can learn from this. This thought connects with certain personal ruminations about my current career path, and in what direction my quest lies.


Thanks for clarifying your preference with respect to title.

Ingemar said...

Dr. Charlton,

I'm a month away from getting sacked for my refusal to receive the Devil Juice Peck. "Maybe," I reasoned, "I could find another scientific services job that will actually accept my religious exemption request and everything will be better."

Except I know better than that. The Birdemic is a gold mine for the worldwide scientific establishment and given how the majority of scientists are not encumbered by notions of Truth nor True Religion, it's plain as day that any employer is going to be as bad as the last one.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ing - As I have often said - My confident expectation is that every sanction visited upon the unpecked today, will be implemented without regard for peck-status tomorrow. It is just one step in the totalitarian tiptoe toward universal slavery.

That is the plan - anyway; but whether it happens 'according to plan' is another matter.

Things may seem very different in three months time.

Stephen Macdonald said...

During my time in Silicon Valley in the 90s and early 2000s I was convinced our project was overwhelmingly likely to better the lot of humanity. I vividly recall the nascent Google.

It's been a hard journey to realize I helped birth technologies many times more evil than the hydrogen bomb. Infinitely worse. For this I repent regularly.

Anonymous said...

I have spent my twenties avoiding any work, and a chance to begin a family. I find that food service is poisoning people, and the big money makers in industrial jobs also poison me. I need to figure out how as smoothly as possible I can become a serf in Armenia.

Truth to Life said...

This post couldn't be more timely for me, as I've been tempted to apply for PhD programs so I might have a chance at becoming a "real" professor instead of a lowly, exploited adjunct. What has held me back is how much I actually despise academia, though I enjoy the teaching aspect. After a brief stint as a journalist, I feel that at least teaching is a job I can do without selling my soul.

Grad school for my master's was like a mind control cult where I was being trained to conform to the image and expectations of academia. At the time I was so miserable that I ended up with an eating disorder, which I finally managed to overcome...and I also found your blog, which helped me through. You were like the mentor I never had, writing about topics I thought would be discussed in a place like grad school. Shows how naive I was, since the vast majority of academics avoid truth and clarity like the plague.

Now that I know better, I just can't apply to PhD programs in good conscience. The only system more corrupt than academia is tech, and maybe the entertainment industry.

Bruce Charlton said...

To repeat - My post should not be taken as a specific warning against my vocations.

IN a totalitarian world, we are all in the position of slaves - who must (at some level) behaviorally-obey our masters to live. The only alternative may be to accept death.

But slaves can be good Christians; and coerced behavioural obedience does not entail joining the side of evil. Spiritual discernment and repentance have infinite power to save us; and to enable us to learn from our mortal earthly lives.

Therefore, in principle, anyone can exerience, learn and pursue theosis - and attain salvation, in Any society - even when enslaved to an evil totalitarianism; so long as he recognizes and spiritually-rejects evil.

Todd said...

Thank you Dr. Charlton.
I was entranced by academia far too long. I was in two PhD programs. The first time, some odd depression hit me, when I tried to sit in the dark cube, beheading poor test animals and doing my experiments. It was either some kind of spiritual early-warning system, or the System itself knew I was not the type it wanted (rebellious), and it got rid of me.
Second time - well, I won't go into that.
But hey - I have a master's degree in someting, and am ABD in neuroscience.
I don't miss anything about the people I was with in those programs. Vain peacocks, avidly subservient servants of the system, and just boring uncreative minds, with a few exceptions who were older outliers.
One fellow student put it best: "I'm in graduate school because I can't imagine the horror and boredom of having a real job in the outside world."
I do feel a need to start writing about my experiences and life. Your ideas have been essential at helping me integrate things, and inspiring me with creatively inspired thought.
In the biomedical sciences, I remember that first week: a professor told us that we were the elite, the ones who were going to change and lead humanity. Lordy.