Roby Rajan, Ph.D.
1) What is a typical day like in your profession?
No day should be “typical”, should it? Shouldn’t everyday be different? If you start having too many “typical” days, that’s a symptom that you are starting to stagnate, that you’re not learning and growing.
2) Why did you choose your profession and how did you get started?
“Professional Fields” are just areas we have artificially marked out for convenience -- life itself has to be lived as a unity, isn’t it? Ultimately what matters in business also is not how well the different “functional fields” are doing separately, but how well they mesh together as one.
3) How did you get into your present line of work?
The term “work” only makes sense in opposition to “leisure”. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any difference between “work” and “leisure” if you really like what you are doing. Otherwise “work” is something one has to do in order to free up some “leisure time”. In that sense, ideally it’s not “work” one should be doing in academia. What you are supposed to be doing as a thinker in academia is continuously enlarging your focus rather than being fixated on one thing throughout your career. When you get started in this academic line of “work”, you just follow certain kinds of impulses and interests. It’s only later that you construct a story t looking back at what has gotten you where you are.
4) What do you see as your priorities in the next five years?
One’s “priorities” should always be to continue to develop and grow in understanding oneself and others, not just in the next five years but for however long one is here on Earth.
5) What do you enjoy doing most outside of teaching?
Psychoanalysts tell us that one of the pressures of modern life is that you are supposed to “enjoy” everything. One should also sometimes be allowed to enjoy the act off “not enjoying”! One’s always learning through every interaction with others, some are “enjoyable”, others are not, but so what?. Learning and teaching are not things that just happen inside the classroom.
6) How do you best connect with your students?
My main purpose to convey to them directly or indirectly that knowledge is not something stored in a bank by someone else that they then get to withdraw in bits and pieces. On my door I have a quote by Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pale, but the lighting of a fire”- that’s ultimately what I would like to convey to my students.
7) Packers or Bears?
This question is a version of: “either you are with us or against us”. This kind of false choice is increasingly what characterizes our social and political lives. They are either/or questions. Why not both? Beackers. Or neither? There is also another alternative that a Buddhist logician might dwell on: neither not Packers nor not Bears.
8) If you could travel to any part of the world where would it be?
There are people who travel to every corner of the world and don’t learn a thing, and there are people who have never left their village but have more wisdom then all the world travelers put together. The philosopher Immanuel Kant for instance had never traveled outside his hometown of Konigsberg. And I’ve met world travelers without an iota of wisdom.
9) Favorite Movie?
Easy – Psycho! And my favorite character? Norman Bates..He’s the creepy guy in the movie.