A Friendly Reminder

  1. Science, I had come to learn, is as political, competitive, and fierce a career as you can find, full of the temptation to find easy paths.
  2. By the end of medical school, most students tended to focus on “lifestyle” specialties — those with more humane hours, higher salaries, and lower pressures — the idealism of their med school application essays tempered or lost.
  3. I was driven less by achievement than by trying to understand, in earnest: What makes human life meaningful?
  4. Life wasn’t about avoiding suffering. Years ago, it had occurred to me that Darwin and Nietzsche agreed on one thing: the defining characteristic of the organism is striving.
  5. I had thought that a life spent in the space between the two would grant me not merely a stage for compassionate action but an elevation of my own being: getting as far away from petty materialism, from self- important trivia, getting right there, to the heart of the matter, to truly life-and -death decision and struggles … surely a kind of transcendence would be found there?

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