Here is a story about how the time and energies of scientists is too much devoted to administrative busy work:
Faculty members in the sciences spend too long on burdensome administrative work, at the expense of their other, more meaningful duties, argues a report out today from the National Science Board. The report, called "Reducing Investigators’ Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research," is based on the work of the board's Task Force on Administrative Burdens, which asked professors to identify through roundtable discussions and requests for information which federal and internal university procedures and requirements were the biggest drains on their time. Financial management, the grant proposal process, progress reports, institutional review boards, and layers of oversight related to working with animals all were common responses.There is even a blog, Suffocated Science, devoted to this sort of problem. This is a case of science being a victim of its own success. So much of the innovative technology of our world is based on science that being a scientist is now loaded down with big budget expectations. Not only that, but science becomes a political football as well. I don't want to get too off-topic, but I think that one example of science in an unholy marriage with politics is the whole anthropogenic global-warming kerfuffle which currently seems to be coming apart at the seams as Nature fails to cooperate with the politically-inspired narrative. Though I notice that some people seem to have gotten very rich out of it.
Success in the modern world seems to be so imbricated with mere greed that it is tempting to cast a jaundiced eye at all of it. Look at the music business: is there much that is really enjoyable in successful pop music these days?
Or even in the most successful classical music?
I just find all this kind of thing to resemble more than anything else, attempts to beat music into submission. Music as kind of a victim of someone's greed and hunger for celebrity.
So, in an odd sort of way, the relative obscurity of classical music, the real stuff that is, is kind of a blessing. We can play and listen to it a bit apart from the hectic insanity of what appears to be normal 21st century life. If I am not getting rich from it, then I am not going to be hounded by the media, audited by the IRS or Revenue Canada, urged by soulless record executives to sully the music just a bit more and so on. As Thomas Gray wrote:
Even a nice musical metaphor there.Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;Along the cool sequester'd vale of lifeThey kept the noiseless tenour of their way.
Here is a refreshingly amateurish video of the late Gustav Leonhardt conducting an excerpt from Bach's cantata BWV 30: