Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Renegotiating the Hillel Balance


The Hillel balance is the balance between the first two phrases of one of my favorite quotes, which is attributed to Rabbi Hillel:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am for myself alone, what am I?
And if not now, when?”

External recognition in my profession mostly arises from those who take very good care of phrase one. My own tendencies pull my center of gravity to phrase two. I feel the tug.

This week when many compelling work-related interests are all tugging at my attention, including department events, lab-related issues, and so so so much exciting science to do, the Hillel balance seems especially precarious.

I interpret the last phrase as an exhortation to always be mindful of the balance.