Forgotten things...that matter.

A few days ago I was riding the train back home and in front of me was sitting a rather peculiar person. You can’t help paying attention to the amount of papers he was reading, juggling and comparing. And you can’t help paying attention to what he was wearing, and because of the content of what he was reading it seemed unusual that he dressed the way he did.

He looked like an ultra-clean version of the homeless men you usually encounter on the French metro or trains. He was wearing very clean but worn out pants, the main button on them didn’t exist anymore, probably fell off in the late nineties and an old belt tightly held the pants to his underweight thin body. His shirt wasn’t in a better condition, worn out but again very clean nonetheless.
But what he was reading and comparing was remarkable, very interesting at least to someone like me. His papers were full of long equations and it was clear to me that he was dealing with complicated stuff relating to quantum mechanics, optics and particle physics. I am nowhere near being very knowledgeable about the subject, but I’ve studied quantum mechanics and semiconductor physics and I was able to decipher some of the basic terms of his equations that left me really impressed. I googled his name and went to his webpage (Yes he has one),  and the big surprise was that he is a leading scientist working on state of the art, cutting edge theories in particle physics.

Again I was very impressed but I felt sad to see him in such a condition, it is true that scientists don’t have time to even think about their appearances but such cases make you wonder also about their financial situation. It is a well-known fact that these people are underpaid, under estimated and some of them even struggle with their financial situation. We are indebted to people working in such fields and we owe them on so many levels, so the least we can do is show them some respect and pay them salaries that match the level of their brilliance, competence and most importantly their level of contribution to our societies and the human race, but we don’t.
The examples of their contributions that impacted and improved our lives are countless and I’ll leave you with one example, just one, to ponder on, the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). These guys through their dedication and hard work improved the quality of our lives and continue to touch all the aspects of our daily lives, even after their death, in so many ways. And in spite of all that, we let them lead an uneasy life full of insecurity and hardships that very often hold back their creativity and prevent them from giving us even more.
In the meanwhile and while brilliant hardworking scientists are struggling, footballers for example are millionaires, the media is saturated with their news and games, and even football isn’t about football anymore. It has become a consumed object that pins fans to the screens to give them their daily dose of opium, the remedy that makes them forget the imposed hardships of their daily lives; and people don’t even play the sport like they used to do before!

Football is one example, I can give many others, but the point here is that respect should be paid where it’s due, appreciation and recognition should be put where they’re due otherwise degradation is the inescapable fate of our societies. The media and marketers have blown the entertainment business out of its real proportions and it’s all happening at the expense of things that really make a difference and that really make a business. Because if we want to look at it from the financial point of view, creativity, innovation, and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge farther from where they are now is what really creates sustainable businesses that are based on real value.

The herds of passive watchers will continue to grow, but I always love to think and hope that those who are actively working and those who actually make an effort to look beneath the surface and appreciate real high impact things, their numbers will increase too and they will help people similar to the homeless-like scientist get the appreciation and support they need and deserve. Because we need more of these scientists and we can’t afford a decay in their numbers as we’re having now, the challenges lying ahead of us in the upcoming years are astronomical and it’s not a man kicking a ball nor another one firing fake guns on a movie set that will help us solve them, it’s the homeless-like scientist and his peers that will do it.
 And this leads to the inevitable reality check question to be asked, in which category do you fall?


Liliane said…
Thats is a slaf in thr face to think about what really matters. I loved the way you wrote the post, the story telling, the strong truth behind it, the examples and the cotent. I really missed reading you and thank you for the post.
Rany said…
Thank you for your sweet words Liliane, I appreciate it, and I missed reading you too.
Jabri Mouna said…
A very memorable post, i love your writing style, keep up the good work ran :)
Rany said…
Thank you Mouna! :)
wondassista said…
Je ne peux douter de la veracite de ton recit. C´est tres facheux! Pourtant c´est vrai! Nos societes donnent plus de credit a Haifa ou meme aux sujets futiles des "salons" qu´aux grands decouvreurs ou aux vrais artistes. Peut etre qu´a la mort de cet homme on parlera de lui mais ce sera bien-sur trop tard...
Rany said…
wondassista!! Merci pour ton commentaire, t'as raison c'est toujours trop tard et ça si on assume qu'il aura un peu de respect après sa mort, j'en doute fort.

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