Wetenschap - 29 oktober 2015

Love and Science

The biggest threat to love is marriage. When love is reduced to marriage vows there is no more freedom. Underlying the vows is the fear that you might do or think something sinful. Is that ‘yes’ the gateway to happiness and nice surprises or does it squeeze your life into a socially acceptable framework of mortgage, children and smartphone?

There is no true love without freedom. Genuine science and love have a lot in common. You can get carried away by them; they can give you butterflies in your tummy or a eureka moment. You can love someone till death do you part, and you don’t stop being a scientist when you retire either. On the contrary: many scientists blossom after retiring, when they can look back on their career. That is when wisdom comes, in freedom. If you subject love to scientific study you’ll get stuck; you’ll never be able to deconstruct love. And the other way round too: no matter how great your love of science, the nature of true ‘knowledge’ cannot be grasped.

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And so science too faces a big threat: tenure track! Twelve years to get to a personal chair. One rung up the ladder every three years. Tenure track offers you the prospect of a permanent contract if you meet transparent quality criteria for teaching, research and management. Tenure track is an excellent springboard for your career in Wageningen UR. But… if you don’t make it, you can in theory be dumped. Does that stimulate genuine science or are you being squeezed into a virtual, socially acceptable framework? No genuine science without freedom.


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