The making of authority

    Step 1: Get friendly with the judge

    The first thing an aspiring scientist must learn if he wants to reach the top is how to get published. This
    involves more than writing a seminal paper. Indeed, it doesn't matter what you found out or discovered
    or invented. That's secondary... if at all important. What is important in contemporary 'science' is that
    you get to know the right people, that you have the right connections. If you know that one of your
    instructors at the university is a hooded peer reviewer at one of the mags or journals, you have half the
    battle won already. All you have to do is play your cards right. You just got to suck up to him, invite him
    for a beer, be courteous, make him like you and if possible feel empathy for you.

    One day you humbly ask him to review an idea you've been kicking around that coincidentally builds on
    the theory he published the other day. You sound him out. You do this back and forth until you figure him
    out. You gradually learn what he is interested in and what to watch out for. Slowly you mold you paper to
    his liking. You can even give him much of the credit or ask him to coauthor your upcoming submission. Of
    course, he'll most likely refuse because it would look like he is reinforcing his paper. It's better if he
    maintains his distance and makes it look as if an independent researcher confirmed his findings. It's not
    only you who is playing this game.

    At some point you finally finish your paper and submit it. Your instructor will make sure it gets to the 'right'
    people. After a few tweaks and amendments it is finally published. You now have your name in lights for
    the first time. But it doesn't stop there. One of the friends you made lately invites you to a shindig. Many
    of the big honchos are there. You meet more people, make new friends. You build for a reputation and
    gradually become part of the secret fraternity, a mason of sorts, a yuppie who is slowly gaining power.

    An important part of this process is to become a hooded monk yourself. Not only does it satisfy your
    inner quest for power, but you get to learn the ropes, the tricks of the trade. You get to see how
    others got to the top and, as a bonus, you get to be in direct touch with the editors, people with
    censorship level clout. You also get to trash intellectual enemies ad begin the process of removing
    them as competitors.


    Step 2: Publish in respectable journals

    Of course, it is of no value if you publish in alternative magazines and journals. They are of no interest to
    popular popularization magazines like Scientific American, Discover, or National Geographic. These mags
    only publish stuff they translate into street English from 'respectable' journals. And if the popularizers don't
    print your article, you will remain a nobody.

    And it's not easy to get your foot in the door with them because the guild is already filled with celebrities.
    In order to conserve their status and continue making them big bucks these folks have to keep riffraff like
    you out. So you kinda have to pretty-please your way in there, you know... like on your knees. You have
    to do major ass-kissing and brown-nosing for several years. You gotta be a 'good boy', a diplomat, keep
    a straight face in the presence of ridicule, tighten those face muscles when you're put down in public, take
    it in the gut when your superior belittles you and smile a deferential smile in return. After a while you learn
    how to behave properly, how to hold your champagne glass at the ball, how to dress, when to keep your
    mouth shut and yer ears open. Actually, the formula is quite easy. Be a mute with elephant ears. Never
    say a word. Don't let them know what yer thinkin'. Don't tell anyone that he's an idiot. He might be an
    editor. In fact, chances are that he is an editor. Wise men say only fools rush in. But keep 'em antennas
    collecting tidbits not only about people, but about what they're working on. Follow the herd, but try to keep
    a semblance of individuality. You will need it someday if you don't lose it over the years. Your turn will
    come. You just have to hang in there. Think positively. Think that you'll be in his shoes some day and that
    this is just part of the nasty process.

    Yes, if want to reach the top you are going to have to publish in the Big Leagues. Don't seek the easy way
    out. And don't ever publish in an alternative science mag or journal because that will be the end of your
    career right there. Don't even read the alternative mag articles because they might corrupt your thinking.
    You might say something out loud that you might regret at the next get-together. It's better not to be
    contaminated by radical ideas, especially those that go against those who are your superiors. It's not wise.

    If you follow spec, you will be gaining friends in high places and publishing an article about something here
    and there now and then. Publish or perish. Publish whatever nonsense, but keep your name on the
    billboards. If in addition you kept yer mouth shut, people will eventually reach the conclusion that you're
    intelligent. They might even consult you on some bullshit and all you have to say is, "I don't know." They'll
    absolutely adore your honesty and candidness. You have made not a friend, but a fan. Actually, those
    competitors around you are the ones that have fallen by the wayside over the years and you remain
    because you have been inconsequential. You made fewer enemies, pissed off fewer people. If you have
    built a big enough list of influential friends by then you are a good candidate for the final step, the one with
    the utmost glory...


    Step 3: Win the gold medal of knowledge

    Not too many people win the lottery. One  out of a million.

    Would you like to win the lottery?

    If you said 'No' you are a liar.

    So now you have a chance to win the lottery. You have published many papers and built a reputation
    among friends and colleagues. You are a member of the most important fraternity clubs in the nation. You
    sound out the guilds in each state and get a feel for what they might want to hear. You tailor your paper
    accordingly. You are a master at it after so many years. You call several of your editor friends and tell
    them the breathtaking discovery you have made with your PhD student. To keep the interest and spread
    the word, you pass the classified information to your old buddy the reporter. You tell him that it is a
    ground breaking discovery. What does he know, anyway? You could have told the nitwit that space is
    warped and he would have jotted it down as law. The article appears in the news with big headlines
    while your colleagues are still trying to figure out your paper. The ball is rolling. Your buddy in Australia
    'confirmed' your finding and praises you publicly. Don't forget to call him on his birthday! The news is now
    all over the planet. You are a celebrity.

    The Nobel Committee has a problem this year. It always does nowadays. It doesn't know who to give
    the prize to because nobody has discovered anything of Earth-shattering value. It's not a race among top
    runners. It's more like the Paralympics: a race among cripples. The guy who wins is the one with fewer
    handicaps.

    All the top runners are head to head more or less, but you win by a handful of votes. You finally got the
    coveted medal. You now have certified knowledge. You get to travel to Sweden or Norway and dine with
    kings and princesses.

    The party over, you now have a medal on your chest and God given authority. You will be able to make
    others tremble like they did to you throughout your career. You are now the newest king of the mountain.
    The editors rush to consult you on whether such and such article should be published. You're the expert.
    You got a Nobel to prove it. You can squash any ant with your thumb. What do they have? What do they
    know, anyway? You have veto power. You have censorship power. You can decree and say what you
    want. It magically becomes gospel. You finally have real power! Specifically, you have the power to select
    a candidate of your liking to mold so that your beliefs and name are perpetuated. People on the streets
    ask you not for your theory. (Thank God!) You don't even remember what it was about any more or what
    you proved. They ask you for your autograph. Millions across the planet are mentioning your name to back
    up their arguments at parties and pubs. Envious aspirants who wish to emulate you reference your writings
    in their papers. "So and so, the Nobel recipient said so!" Ha, ha. What jerk-offs!

    Thank God that it is all in the name of science.

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