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Noticing would be thoughts, but instinctive urges like fear or hunger I wouldn't probably consider to be thoughts unless it is being noticed and processed somehow, because this can be happening automatically without consciousness and awareness. But once that urge or feeling is noticed then there is some "image" or "thought" of it, some indirect interpretation of the event. 

In such case, I am thinking of consciousness as way of processing complex thoughts.

Thank you fo this reply! As you mentioned, it is mostly about how we define thoughts. In this case, I would define it as you did. It does not have to be expressed in words, it can be mostly feelings. I think consciousness then seems to be way of processing thoughts.

Answer by Olitness40

I can empathise with your situation. Although I am not making career choice between engineering and research, I am looking to decide what to work on next.

I cannot give you any answer, but I can share few heuristics I use in order to decide what to work on.

For one, you are asking how should timeline affect your decision. But I would consider other variables that might affect it as well and I wouldn't place too much emphasis on only one, e.g. time in this case.

You have advantage in having binary choice here between engineering and research. So I would ask, from which it is easier to transition into the other? And which gives you more opportunities in the future?

Making decisions now based on our predictions of unpredictable future is maybe not the best way to go about it. So consider that if your predictions about future go completely wrong or in unanticipated way, which choice would be more robust?

Also if you are anything like me, deciding mostly on what you enjoy now wouldn't be very wise as what I tend to enjoy does change with time and new experiences. So I prefer choices that give me more options and easier transitions in future.

Hope this helps!

Thanks for this post. Yes, that is mostly the idea that I am discussing here, which I think can have beyond practical and work related benefits. Mainly, that it makes one more secure and confident in their life as a whole. 

Another thought related to that is that it probably makes not only for more secure personality and confidence, but also more secure career in case one field becomes more obsolete.

Thanks for pointing this out. I have to admit I have totally overlooked this and I think it seems like very important point and it should be clarified.

At first look when I look at these two examples, it feels clear to me why it should be so. But I cannot identify principle behind it of why it should be so. Yet, most of us can agree that we wouldn't want killers to be running around, but it is not harmful for people to lead their sex lives as they wish as long as they don't harm anybody.

I think it could be thought of then that harmful ideas should be expressed, but not acted on so that we can judge and keep in mind their harmfulness without being affected. These ideas will be mostly weeded out by society by "natural selection". 
On other hand, ideas that are not harmful will remain to be enacted on as they don't have any obvious harmful effects, other than not being a preference of other people who can feel offended by them.

On another note as I think about it, I wouldn't mind if there is society that decides that it is OK for there to be killers killing people etc. as long as living in such society is only voluntary and does not affect any other society. 
So I am thinking that as long as behaviour I oppose does not affect me, or anyone who does not want to be affected, is being enacted by people who are OK with being affect, then it is fine.

Thanks for pointing out some of flaws in my post, I haven't fully thought about these points. I have indeed under-emphasised importance of focusing on improvement. Point I was trying to make is more along lines "We are doing great compared to yesterday, but how can we ensure that is still true tomorrow?" and I should put more emphasis on latter part.

As for people can't be bad, what I meant is that we aren't born bad and there isn't anything inherently bad in us even if "bad" is objective. We can do bad things, but we are neutral and can stir in either way, good or bad.

I think you have point here because this post might not be the best fit for this forum, as I assume most people here are aware of those arguments and aren't against people and denying our importance. As for political fight, I hope not! I am notoriously unaware of any politics as I don't follow any (except funny memes of course). But it is possible that it can echo some political discussion.

Just wanted to say that not having attended prestigious university doesn't make you low status. Especially in todays society where having degree from prestigious university is way too common and most high status people did not attend one.

Status is just subjective perception of where we place our values. I personally know many people who look down at people who attended university for many different reasons.

So you can easily be viewed as high status because you are that underestimated underdog from humble beginnings having courage to work on something important. 

And in many ways, any achievement you will have will be much more valuable given that you have no credentials because you will be defying expectations.

Good luck on your journey!

I haven't, but I will give it a read. My ideas here were inspired mostly by works of David Deutsch and Matt Ridley and many others I can't recall right now.