A lot of people tell me I'm the absent-minded professor type. My room is a pile of books and I love discussing ideas.
But I find myself a misfit in academics. I teach Religious Studies, part time. My core motivation in teaching is to bring out the spiritual meanings of the religions I am teaching, to show students how other people in the past and present have found a sense of meaning, truth in their lives, and to encourage students to consider issues of meaning and truth themselves. I focus on human experience and subjectivity.
Most other teachers and most of the writing in this field, however, is more about the historical, political, sociological forces that moulded certain religious movements. It is about evidence and argument rather than 'feeling' one's way into the religion. I would any day be much more interested in knowing what went on in the heart of the people who wrote, for example, the Bhagavad Gita, rather than what was going on in the political milieu then.
So, I find myself a misfit. People say I am a bit too emotional about things, too other worldly, or not historical enough. Sometimes my writings remind them of poetry appreciation rather than the academic study of religion. I'm considering not making a career in this field. I realise that my method is more akin to that of a spiritual/personal guide than a professor or lecturer in a university.
I've been teaching master's level students and things may be a different at the undergraduate level.
Are any of you other 4w5s in academia / research?
Do you find a similar problem between your search for depth and meaning and the mainstream's emphasis on hard evidence, research, historicity, etc.? I imagine that such issues may be faced by 4w5s even outside the limited field of Religious Studies.
How do you deal with it?