Bless you

I think I have mentioned this a couple of times, but for the sake of context I am going to do it again: I am currently in the data cleaning and analysis stage of my Ph.D. My mixed methods involved a series of content analysis and social network analysis, involving about 20,000 tweets. I have always known that pursuing doctoral research is going to be tedious (but eventually rewarding!), but I honestly enjoyed my first two years of grad school when you are still in the flighty and pleasant part of learning things — doing loads of reading — both just for fun and critically. But now that the fun years are gone! Hours and hours of spreadsheets invade your life!

There was an Instagram Story sticker challenge going on of some sort a few days ago. People would choose the Ask a Question sticker and invited their followers to choose a theme, from which they will answer the top 3. After a few drafting back and forth, I decided to take part. Most of the questions I received were fairly standard — your top 3 movies, top 3 things in your room that you like, top 3 colours you would never be found wearing etc. Until someone asked me, “Theories.”

Here are my three theories (of which I have conducted some online research to prove that I am not talking poppycock):

  • If we won’t be solving the problems of inequalities & climate change, in 12 years when the earth gets too hot to be habitable the only people who could live comfortably are the 1% (but what’s new)
  • The language (and the practice itself) used when it comes to space exploration reeks of colonial terms (colonialism, a system that couldn’t exist without violence and dispossession anyway) and again will benefit the most privileged elite. Related read: Exploration, or oppression?
  • By the time you’re 18 and deemed able to make decisions for yourself, note that whatever choice you made is a legacy of your earlier ‘inheritance’ —your genes, your upbringing, your socioeconomic status etc. So if you are trying to improve yourself personally, you are trying to overcome these inheritances (and it’s OK to stop being too hard on yourself)
  • Every time I sneeze, my cat would make these cute, but annoyed chirruping sounds. Scientifically it is said that this is because their ears are more sensitive to louder noises, but I still would like to believe that he actually said, “Bless you.”

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