In October 1962, Donald French a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Chicago, interviewed his friend, Ashok Rajguru, a doctoral candidate in theoretical physics at Northwestern University.
Ashok Rajguru had lived in Calcutta, India, until 1960, when he had received a fellowship to continue his studies in physics at Northwestern. By the fall of 1962 Ashok had completed all the requirements for the Ph.D. except for a thesis in which he hoped to make an original contribution to quantum electrodynamics. He had not been home since first coming to this country.
Donald and Ashok had first met in June 1962 as the only summer employees at an electronics company in California. They had decided to room together, and during the summer developed an affable relationship without ever becoming close friends. They had frequently talked about such topics as politics, literature and economics, but had found that their social and recreational interests were quite different.
The interview was arranged by telephone one day in advance. Donald told Ashok that he wanted to practice understanding another person's point of view. Donald explained that this was part of a course at the University of Chicago, and that he would be graded on his ability to understand how someone else felt about things. Ashok readily agreed to help, without any apparent concern over whether his identity or the interview would be kept confidential.
On the day of the interview Donald drove out to Evanston, had lunch with Ashok, and brought him back to Chicago. After a one-hour tour of the campus, and some conversation about life at Chicago, Donald invited Ashok over to Donald's room for the interview. No one else was present. Donald set up a borrowed tape recorder in the middle of the room, explaining that he wanted to listen to the discussion again so as to improve his understanding and technique. The recorder did not appear to bother Ashok, and Donald felt that the general atmosphere was one of relaxation and mutual confidence.
Donald 1: Well, as I explained before, the object is not to talk about something that interests me, but rather to talk about something that is on your mind currently.
Ashok 1: I guess I have to start somewhere!
D2: Well, what have you been thinking about lately? Is there anything particularly bothering you? (Long Pause) It doesn't have to be anything very profound. Just the kinds of things you have been thinking about; how the world is impressing you.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- *This case, Ashok Rajguru, HP 584, was prepared by Professor Arthur N. Turner of the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, based on a student report.
A2: Well, the trouble is that everything I think about nowadays is connected either with physics or politics. (Pause) But I don't really want to talk about that.
D3: You feel you don't want to talk about physics or politics? A3: Well there's really no reason I shouldn't want to talk about physics, but I don't know whether that would be something of interest to you. I don't mean something technical in physics, how far you can go, whether it is really worthwhile to be interested in this one thing to the extent that you have to forget every thing else, and whether it is really worth it.
D4: Are you having some doubts about your real future in physics? A4: Yea! I really don't know if it is worth being --it's quite clear that if you want to do something really worthwhile and creative, not merely in physics but in any field, then you have to think only of the field to the exclusion of everything else. And this somehow seems to me to be too great a price to pay.
D5: You feel like it would be too confining.
A5: Yes. There are just too many things in this world which one should bother about, which are interesting, to which one should pay some attention, that it...
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