I am a scientist with very strong desire for personal growth.I acknowledge the

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I am a scientist with very strong desire for personal growth.I acknowledge the undeniable practical values of science in making better world. However, I am wondering how being a scientist would contribute to my own growth and self-actualization.(regardless of financial or social gain of being a scientist). Also is it worthy to put my life on practicing science which mostly involve in a very narrow research area. I mean if putting so much time and energy on such tiny bit of knowledge is really good and in accordance with my ultimate goal of being self-actualized?

I think the best place to start is by asking yourself what "self-actualization" is supposed to be and why it's so important. The phrase "self-actualized" has a sort of aura about it, but I'm not sure it's a helpful one for thinking about how we should live. One of my problems with the phrase is that as it's often used, it seems to mean something that has to do with a rather narrow sense of bettering oneself.

Wanting to live a good life is a noble goal. Part of living a good life has to do with making good use of the gifts one has been given, to borrow language from the religious tradition. And I sense that that's part of your concern. One doesn't want one's life to be devoted to trivial things. But most of us have to make a living, and making a living by doing routine science doesn't seem ignoble—not least since one can never be sure what the larger consequences will be. So if you find satisfaction in doing science and do it well and conscientiously, I'd say you have nothing to be ashamed of.

But on the larger question that I think may concern you, I have a lot of sympathy with broadly Aristotelian ideas of what "self-actualization" might amount to: the cultivation of virtue. I don't mean this in some prim and proper sense. I mean that there really are traits of character that we think of as virtuous: kindness, courage, fairness, honesty, generosity, and a great many others. On this view, how well a person is living is measured by the extent to which they lead a virtuous life. This doesn't amount to living the life of a prig. The people we often admire have traits like humor, appropriate irony, adventurousness and various others that make them into what we often described as well-rounded people.

To return to your specific question, all of this is quite compatible with making science the center of your working life, if that's what you want to do. Of course, if you feel that being a scientist leaves you unsatisfied, it's obviously just fine to consider what else you might do. But if you like being a scientist, that leaves ample room for living a life worth emulating; no need to feel guilty.

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