24 November 2013

What Does It Take to Be a Doctor?

I’m sure most of you have heard that the living legend, riff virtuoso Tony Iommi has received his long overdue official recognition. He finally got an honorary doctorate of arts from Coventry University. And I’m also sure some of them, namely the pretentious, self-righteous, and know-it-all Drs of all sorts snorted in derision when they read about it and other similar stories before that. Well, as a Dr in the making myself I say to them: Suck it up!
I've been wanting to express my views on my road to Doctorship and now the time has come! I said it before and I’ll say it whenever I get the chance: becoming a doctor doesn't mean anything. Well, it means something but it does not mean you are smarter, more educated, or even evolutionary more advanced than everybody else. It does not make you a Mensa member (in fact, what does that even mean?), you are not superior (well a little but more on this later), and by no means you are more intelligent than the average person.

So this is what becoming a doctor actually means:
  1. You spend a considerable amount of years studying a particular area.
  2. You then spend an even more considerable amount of years trying to contribute to that area.
  3.  You acquire skills and proficiency in that specific area over the years and ‘till your death.
  4.  You eat shit in the process. You meet great and not so great (borderline sociopathic) people. You make connections. You learn how to regulate your emotions and how not to be humane. You lose faith in yourself. You become arrogant and then humble again. You doubt, despise, and hate yourself. You uncover the mystery behind humans and politics. You regret. You lose yourself and you find you again. You anathematize your existence and the choice to go through this road almost every day yet...
  5. ...you love every single thing about it.
  6. You then think you are an expert in your field.
  7. You are actually recognised as an expert in your field.
  8. You get the decorative prefix Dr in front of your name and the frame that goes with it.

The above process (or torment) is usually performed in the safe and well-regulated (most of the times) nest of a University in 3 to 10+ years. As I said, it won’t make you more intelligent than average nor does it mean you were so in the first place. It simply grounds you, it can kill your idealism, and it can challenge your values and ideas. Anyone can get into it but few will get out of it as winners. Winning is going through it all and not losing yourself in the process. I’m still struggling.

Now back to Mr. Iommi (or should I say Dr?). I urge you (and more so the pretentious Drs out there) to take another look at points 1 to 7 above. Tony Iommi has been through all of these. Not just once but hundreds of times for nearly 50 years now. Only now, he gets his no. 8. I will get it after 3 years, just because I pay the University my fees and do it in a controlled way. I don’t know about you but I feel humbled by the thought of it. For the only equivalent to Iommi is a wrinkly 60-year-old Professor of behavioural science in my field. His education did not come from a university; it came from a greater source: LIFE. So I salute you Dr Iommi. It was about time. And all of you out there condescending bores, suck it up, will you?

P.S. Some more awesome honorary Doctors (not necessarily of music): Bruce Dickinson, Steve Vai, Alice Cooper, Joan Baez, Jon Lord, Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, THE Bob Dylan, Jon Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, Brian May and more.
Image credits:
Classic Rock Magazine

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