Committing to grad school means time, money and, for most of us, anxiety. An early graying head is a sign of a PhD candidate. Despite the cost, many of us enter into this commitment without much deep reflection on the function of grad school. Sure, we consider the end resultâ€”a higher pay rate, power to help those who canâ€™t help themselves, accomplishment of our dreams, and so onâ€”but questions of real, ultimate purpose often go unanswered. Why is a higher paying job more desirable? Why should we want to help the poor and oppressed? Who cares about accomplished dreams and success?
To begin to answer these questions we need to ponderÂ purpose. That is, “Why am I here?” If we can answer the quandary of fundamental human purpose and meaning, then answers to all the other questions will begin falling into place. But again, many of us never really think about the â€œbig question.â€ For some itâ€™s just too overwhelming. For others, the day-to-day routine doesnâ€™t allow time for such consideration. Or maybe, if youâ€™re like me, the question of purpose is always lingering in the background, whispering at every turn, nudging every decision. Whatever the case may be, I hope the following discussion aids in the pursuit of an enriched and satisfying human life.
Iâ€™ve done a bit of digging and come up with several â€œpurpose statements.â€ The following is an assortment of todayâ€™s (and one of yesterdayâ€™s) most prominent voices in the question of human purpose: the Dalai Lama XIV, N. T. Wright, Albert Einstein, Christopher Hitchens, and Pope Francis I. These quotes are only snapshotsâ€”they donâ€™t capture fully the philosophies they represent, but they do, I think, offer clarifying windows into their respective worldviews. [Read more…] about Why Should I Go To Grad School, Anyway?