It occurred to me today, why I have such an intense desire to teach and research and publish.

I look at the world around me, and I see willful ignorance spurring on disastrous policies and irresponsible behavior.

I see people insisting that the only thing standing between our innocent children and a life of sexual wantonness is our refusal to teach them how to respect their bodies.

I see people laughing at the possibility that the masses of humanity, with their cars and factories and gasoline and smog, could possibly be doing irreparable harm to the environment.

I see the poor being denied access to food, jobs, medicine, and human decency so that we can fund wars and tax cuts. Worse, I see the ones responsible for this praising themselves for their compassion in teaching mankind how to fish, as if foodstamps were the only thing stopping shoeless people from lifting themselves up by the bootstraps.

I hear the Orwellian cries of war is peace and I support your right to be born, but not your right to live, and give me the religious freedom to force my neighbors to live by my religious beliefs, and if she’s ever had sex before then she must have wanted it that time too, and the poor can’t be trusted with money but the rich can’t be trusted without it.

And my faith in humanity withers like the husk of a seed that wanted so bitterly to blossom.

My last hope, in this Pandora’s box of misery that we’re creating for ourselves, is knowledge. Forging it through research and wielding it through education.

I have to believe, beyond all evidence to the contrary, that if I could just show people, teach them to understand the harm they’re causing, then we could start to solve our problems. Here is the evidence, just look at it!

I know it’s the epitome of hubris to think that I can change the world; I don’t mean to suggest that that’s my goal. I have an entire human history of evidence to suggest that people will continue to believe what they want, or need, to believe in order for their reality to remain unbruised. I also know that it is far too arrogant of me to suggest that I have the answer to any of the problems that human kind has yet to solve. Don’t misunderstand me, please.

Instead, consider this my main act of rebellion against a world gone mad. To labor away in a classroom, hoping against hope that one of my lessons will change the way a student sees the world, much in the same way that my worldview was changed by my professors. To engage in constant research, adding to the existing knowledge of the world in the hopes that my books will be read by the President and my testimonies will be heard by Congress and and they will write legislation based on the work that I’ve done and the things I have said.

(I’ve always turned to books as my refuge against an unbearable world; perhaps it only makes sense that I would continue to do so.)

And no, I can’t let myself consider the possibility that it will all end up for nothing. That at the end of my career, I will have done nothing but bore young adults and waste trees and get laughed out of the chambers of our government. The thought terrifies me, and is something I’m admittedly too naive to be able to consider.

Give me a few years, I’m not so jaded yet.

Right now, I’m just a wide-eyed girl who wants to save the world in the only way she knows how.