Whilst I was at Furman University this week (which, I must say, is one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen), I received an email from Princeton Seminary granting me an extension till March, 2010, to finish my dissertation. Upon hearing this, my host at Furman, Vaughn CroweTipton, told me the following fable.
The Rabbit, the Fox, and the Lion
One day, a rabbit was casually hopping back to his hole when, just as he was about to jump into his hole, he was grabbed around the neck by a fox, bent on eating him.
“Oh, please don’t eat me,” said the rabbit to the fox, “For I am just about to finish my dissertation.”
“Why should I care about your dissertation?” asked the fox.
“Because,” replied the rabbit, “I think the subject would fascinate you. It’s entitled, ‘Why Foxes Can’t Eat Rabbits.'”
“That’s a stupid dissertation,” declared the fox. “Of course foxes can eat rabbits. In fact, I’m going to eat you right now!
“But wait,” said the rabbit, “Just come down to my hole for a minute. I’ll show you my dissertation, and, if you’re not convinced, you can eat me. But, I promise you, I will prove to you that my thesis is, in fact, true.”
Reluctantly, the fox agreed, and he followed the rabbit down into the hole. There, in the rabbit’s hole, the fox saw a pile of bones in one corner, and a lion typing on a laptop in the other.
“What’s that?” the fox asked, gesturing at the pile of bones.
“That’s my research,” replied the rabbit.
“Well, what’s he doing here?” asked the fox, looking at the lion.
“Oh, he’s my advisor,” said the rabbit, at which time the lion pounced and ate the fox.
Moral: The subject of your dissertation really doesn’t matter. All that matters is who’s your advisor!