If an Academic Were a Sheep

Sean McClure
1 min readMay 3, 2024

Natural systems are primed towards insatiability. We do not naturally restrict sugar, calories etc. because historically there was never enough. Hence our modern diet catastrophe.

Sheep’s wool, beaver’s teeth, invasive species, mosquito outbreaks, the “salmon” at Costco.

Natural systems regulate via the environment they are embedded in. But when humans incorrectly assume they can isolate the “cause” of something they separate these so-called reasons from their natural surroundings.

In the absence of natural environments the now isolated structure will grow into something preposterous.

This is as true for the mind as it is the body. Truth comes from being embedded in environments. Thoughts that survive are those in communication with the natural modes of nature. They do not exist in isolation.

But isolate someone from the real world and they will concoct all manner of foolishness. As with unchecked wool or uninhibited beaver teeth, the insatiable mind will explode into nonsense, filling the space that should have been one’s natural setting.

The romantic dream of creating sanctuaries of learning, where one might retreat to the purity and beauty of their unregulated thoughts is, it turns out, quite the nightmare.

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Sean McClure

Ph.D. Computational Chem, studies complexity, NonTrivial podcast.