Six days a week I am up early to work on my Ph.D. dissertation prospectus. On Saturday mornings when I do this I’m pretty sure many are just heading home after the last call was made at the bar. I also pack in reading, writing, and research time when ever I can throughout the day—between jobs, family, and the occasional period of sleep. The mornings are my most valued time. Before the city around me begins to wake and before the earth has spun the sun up above the horizon, I get to devote myself to quiet study and thoughtful work.
Some days are more productive than others, but I try to make sure I'm always doing something that brings me closer to my goal—earning my Ph.D. Earlier this week, I was writing at quick pace, managing to type a few cogent thoughts into the digital screen, and then I suddenly wanted a particular quotation but could not manage to find it promptly or pull it up quickly. Unable to locate the passage, I decided to just start working through the text from the beginning. It took quite some time but not only did I find what I was after, I managed to log a great deal of quotations into my drafting program, Scrivener.
Here’s the passage I was looking for:
“But does one only have duties toward man and the other man as human? And, above all, what are we to reply to all those who do not recognize their fellow in certain humans? This question is not an abstract one, as you know. The worst, the cruelest, the most human violence has been unleashed against living beings, beasts or humans, and humans in particular, who precisely were not accorded the dignity of being fellows (and this is not only a question of profound racism, of social class, etc., but sometimes of the singular individual as such).
So long as there is recognizability and fellow, ethics is dormant. It is sleeping a dogmatic slumber. So long as it remains human, among men, ethics remains dogmatic, narcissistic, and not yet thinking. Not even thinking the human that it talks so much about.”
Jacques Derrida. “The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume I.”
It's easy to get a bit lost or even overwhelmed when I have so much I want to accomplish. Sometimes it can be particularly challenging when working independently. Luckily, I have great family support and encouragement, which means I have the opportunity to work hard towards my goals. Experience has taught me that if given an opportunity, consistent hard work is the surest way to reach any goal.
Many in this world will never be given the opportunity to work hard toward their goals. Sometimes, particularly Saturday mornings, I look up from my work at the city scene below and watch patrons stumbling along the streets, entertainers motorcycling home, and the ignored and dejected trying to sleep in lean-tos along everyone's path to anywhere.