What it is is this: one of the things I found very uncomfortable about academia was the feeling that I always had to prove myself. Or prove something. I never really liked that feeling. I love learning, and I know that there will be many, many things for me to learn. But I was never very fond of the feeling of intense inadequacy I was always left with in most of my academic career.
It wasn’t in writing papers, because I did rather enjoy writing papers. I didn’t mind sitting examinations, either. What made my teeth itch were the intense discussions that people got in to that really didn’t, in the Grand Scheme of Things matter much (what I mean to say is that whatever the result of those arguments, the world would still be essentially the same place it was the morning before.
Don’t get me wrong. I like discussing literature and religion and philosophy and hypotheses. I enjoy vigorous debate. I certainly don’t enjoy it **all the time**. Sometimes, I think it’s good to disagree, and sometimes (more often than not), I would play Devil’s Advocate simply because sometimes it gets pretty dull when you’re all sitting around agreeing with each other all the time.
But ultimately, I preferred to listen to others have their discussions, or I would choose to do something else, not because I didn’t understand or because I found the topics uninteresting (quite the opposite), but because usually, these kinds of things left me feeling stupid and frustrated. That’s probably very petty, I realise that.
Perhaps it’s just that some people are storytellers and some people are apologists, and perhaps cenobyte is much, much more the former.