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Why so much self justification in this hobby?

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#1 bassplayer142

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:29 AM

I find it odd that there are dozens upon dozens of threads and posts here that deal with self justification of ones place in amateur astronomy. I read so many unique named and themed threads here but so many lead down to the argument of ideology. About who believes the way the hobby should be done.

I've frequented half a dozen forums over the years in diverse sports, hobbies and other knowledge and amateur astronomers are the only ones I've seen who consistently do this. Nobody in my 10+ year musical career ever told me how to play or why I should play it. Everyone just shared ideas and influences and you became your own player.

I don't want to come off as being rude. It's just a strange thing I've noticed and it seems people are constantly justifying their opinion in thread after thread after thread. In the end, were all signed up on this forum. We all enjoy astronomy enough for that. So I how could any of us be doing it wrong.

#2 csrlice12

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:41 AM

I feel that as long as you are happy with what you're doing; then great!!!

While there is something to what you say, there are still a lot of good people here who are willing to give good advice. It's kind of like you said, nobody ever told you how to play; but I'd rather learn how to use a guitar from Eric Clapton then Weird Al Yankovic. And just like anything in life, we can present options, but the ultimate decisions are up to the individual...

#3 The Ardent

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:15 PM

Well let me be the first. Are you playing a Gbson Thunderbird? No? Then you are not doing it right :grin:

Nobody in my 10+ year musical career ever told me how to play or why I should play it.


Astronomy isnt a team activity, I can show you what Im looking at, but you wont see it the way I do. You may not be interested at all.

Likewise I can take a crummy 30 second image with my DLSR and parade it around to all my imaging buddies. Its a masterpiece to me, groans and laughter for them.

Consider also how difficult this hobby can be: bad weather, equipment choices, equipment troubles, streetlights, trees, and nobody in your family or friends really understands. So I have strong opinions formed by experience, I express these opinions in order to save someone else grief and money.

We sit out in cold, isolated fields at night pointing odd devices at the sky, with really odd friends sometimes, on a Saturday night when normal folks are at the movies or eating at Carabba's or something like that. So yeah I have to justify my place in society.

When I tell a newbie "dont buy that cheap ^$#$% scope", its not ideology, its wisdom, sometimes in a sour crispy package thats easily misunderstood or offensive.

I tend to get offended by those who want instant gratification in the hobby, without expending effort or sacrifice, who dont even understand that astronomy as a hobby is both extremely easy AND difficult at the same time.

In astronomy circles Im an oddball for being a visual observer (not imager) who points the telescope himself (not using Go-TO) who spends more time looking at the background (not the objects) Yeah I have to justify that a lot.

Regards

#4 Dennis_S253

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:33 PM

That is a very good question. But first I must say, I have found this forum and others on CN, that most everyone is very helpful when there is a question ask. I'm starting to recognise peoples names and feel a friendship. I have never got the feeling that someone was looking down on me just because I only have a 4" scope. I have been on other forums that do that. I just like going out and see as much of the heavens that I'm able to see. If someone has a question and I think I have a possible answer, I'll respond. As far as you question????? I don't know why.

#5 Starman81

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:54 PM

Well let me be the first. Are you playing a Gbson Thunderbird? No? Then you are not doing it right

Nobody in my 10+ year musical career ever told me how to play or why I should play it.


Astronomy isnt a team activity, I can show you what Im looking at, but you wont see it the way I do. You may not be interested at all.

Likewise I can take a crummy 30 second image with my DLSR and parade it around to all my imaging buddies. Its a masterpiece to me, groans and laughter for them.

Consider also how difficult this hobby can be: bad weather, equipment choices, equipment troubles, streetlights, trees, and nobody in your family or friends really understands. So I have strong opinions formed by experience, I express these opinions in order to save someone else grief and money.

We sit out in cold, isolated fields at night pointing odd devices at the sky, with really odd friends sometimes, on a Saturday night when normal folks are at the movies or eating at Carabba's or something like that. So yeah I have to justify my place in society.

When I tell a newbie "dont buy that cheap ^$#$% scope", its not ideology, its wisdom, sometimes in a sour crispy package thats easily misunderstood or offensive.

I tend to get offended by those who want instant gratification in the hobby, without expending effort or sacrifice, who dont even understand that astronomy as a hobby is both extremely easy AND difficult at the same time.

In astronomy circles Im an oddball for being a visual observer (not imager) who points the telescope himself (not using Go-TO) who spends more time looking at the background (not the objects) Yeah I have to justify that a lot.

Regards


That's a great post. To outsiders/non-hobbyists, we do indeed have to justify why we spend the time and money to do what we do. They cannot understand what we get out of it. While visiting my parents recently, my own mother questioned why I am so deep into astronomy and observing. I was a bit shaken at first, but regained my composure and explained to her what I experience when I go out observing and the wonder it inspires. She actually came around and said 'now I know!'.

For our fellow hobbyists, I think it comes down to this: there are many different paths and all lead to enjoyment. We do this for recreation, relaxation, connecting with nature and the universe and all that good stuff. But like I said there are many paths. One person may have a 70mm refractor and a couple plossls and is having his socks knocked off every time out, good for him! I think sometimes the next guy, who may have a 16" scope but is not having as much 'wonderment' may come along and say 'no, sir, you may not have as much fun as you are having, because I have bigger and better stuff and I am not having that much fun. So it is my job to tell you, YOU ARE NOT HAVING FUN YET!' :lol:

Basically, let everyone have their fun, don't 'harsh their buzz, man' and if you can think of any idea to help someone get more enjoyment or solve someone's problem, then definitely chime in. I think that's the main purpose of this forum.

#6 Glen A W

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:58 PM

Many people who do this have made it a very big part of their lives. It is very important to them, and they may have been socially marginalized in some other way in life. So it's not surprising they would be that way.

I don't blame them a bit. It is a wonderful topic and scene and I don't want to see it ruined by a bunch of over-marketed-to ding-dongs. Some of the things which can get folks most upset impinge upon their skills or upon the astronomy pursuit's longstanding traditions..... I don't think anyone is out to be nasty with the opinions.

If you played music that long and did not experience those things, then you were not playing accordion.....

#7 Mike E.

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:09 PM

People are the same everywhere. Some will talk up to you, some down to you, and some straight across. For some, this forum is their world.

#8 YetAnotherHobby

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:26 PM

If by self justification you mean why do people put so much context around their opinion, I would say that, speaking for myself, I am more experienced than some, less accomplished than most, so I want the reader to have a sense of what I know in order to judge the merit of my opinion.
As far as ideology - if someone has dedicated years developing top notch skills I would give their opinions more weight. That's not to say I will adopt their way of thinking, but I would certainly use it to shape my own way of doing things. For instance star-hopping, or the ability to star hop, seems to be a big dividing line between "real" amateur astronomers and the guys who couldn't find Hercules on a bet. While I have nothing but respect for guys who can put just about any object in the eyepiece in a few minutes with nothing more than a star atlas, I'm not about to apologize for the fact that once I'd proven to myself that I could star hop to several objects, I found it more tedium than challenge. I have different priorities - in the time I have available at the eyepiece I want to look AT things, not FOR things. Different attitude, but same love of the night sky. Who's wrong?

#9 Qwickdraw

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:42 PM

One big distention is that Astronomy is not just an hobby, it is a science. The other forums you mentioned dealing with the arts and sports may have a different mindset of people.

#10 kfiscus

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:58 PM

If you are replying to this thread, you're justifying...

#11 csrlice12

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:06 PM

To paraphrase a quote:

Astronomy, it's not just a hobby, it's and adventure.....

#12 Tori

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:12 PM

@qwick: it can be a science but I personally don't feel it's always so; for me it's often more like I'm in the audience of the symphony, or maybe just a visitor to a museum full of beautiful art that I can look at, but never touch.

It may be true that astronomy is unique, I do find a lot of people making justifications, myself included.

But I have found another hobby of mine is similar: sport-bikes. I have a Suzuki GSX-R 600. When I posted on a bike forum I was quickly bashed for even daring to own my bike... Maybe it's because I'm a woman; maybe it's because if you're not actually an experienced racer they don't feel someone ought to have a sport bike. Nevertheless reading those forums there was a lot more "justification" going on there than here....

#13 MikeBOKC

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:23 PM

I suspect the OP is referring primarily to posts in response to inquiries from newbies and beginners asking "what should I get?" Most of us have traveled a fairy complicated path, with some detours and errors, to assemble an astro-kit that may include scopes, eyepiences, cameras and other accessories that can easily run into the thousands of dollars. I think a lot of us hope to help newbies avoid some of the pitfalls we all experienced along the way . . . and of course astronomy is divided into many camps (visual vs. AP, Dobs vs. SCTs, refractors vs. everyone else) that tend to instill loyalty and perhaps a little rivalry as well. Frankly, as I noted in a similar thread on what was perceived as "arrogance", folks here are almost universally nice and helpful. My thinking is that when someone logs in here with post number one and asks "what should I get?" they assume they are asking a fairly knowledgable group for honest answers. And I think a lot of people here can genuninely justify the opinions they give with many years and decades of experience.

#14 Tori

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:38 PM

Another reason for justifications: This is often an expensive hobby. Many find they have to justify their purchases to their spouse. By the time they're posting online they've already formulated a dozen reasons why they made the choices they did...

#15 Escher

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:46 PM

X1000

#16 cheapersleeper

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:47 PM

You must hang with a totally different type of musicians than I have hung with my whole life... :lol:

#17 TL2101

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:00 PM

Any salesman knows you buy on emotion and then justify with logic. The more expensive the item the more justification required. This applies to all hobbies. :grin:

#18 Kon Dealer

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:33 PM

What irritates me is if you don't have a Televue this, or a Takahashi that, then you are automatically a second class citizen.
Witness the mutual back-patting when someone proudly announces they have bought a new TV Ethos, or the like.
Like money automatically makes you a better astromoner :foreheadslap:

#19 Stargazer2012

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:39 PM

I think the newer you are, the more justification you have to do with yourself. I know I want to make the right decisions the first time, and not waste funds. It's sort of like walking through a mine field, financially speaking. If I spend big money on a scope or other piece of equipment, and I find out I erred or could have gotten something better for the same or less money, then it's easy to get down on yourself.

So you have to ask others, you have to ask yourself. Is this for me, really? It's one thing to look at photos others have made, and quite another to commit to spending nights in darkness and cold to see something that might not be as good looking as you'd imagined it to be, and that relates directly to your scope and what it can show you.

I'm also into photography, but not AP. Not yet anyway. So I have to be mindful of needs for that hobby, which is turning a bit lucrative for me. Justify, justify. It's the name of the game.

#20 csrlice12

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:49 PM

Unlike a car, when one asks, what should I get; one usually has an idea what a car is, what it does, how it operates; its usually just a matter of "what make and model". When someone comes here for the first time and asks, "What should I get"; they're probably NOT very familiar with telescopes, reflectors, refractors, Macs, Cats (teh nonfurry kind),focal lengths, eyepieces, finder scopes (what ya gotta have a scope to find your scope?), and all the other mumbojumbo. So yes, when you're spending possibly thousands of dollars, you would like to know a little about what you are buying. While they think it is a simple question, our problem is that it IS a simple question, that has a complicated answer....

#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:50 PM

I find it odd that there are dozens upon dozens of threads and posts here that deal with self justification of ones place in amateur astronomy. I read so many unique named and themed threads here but so many lead down to the argument of ideology. About who believes the way the hobby should be done.

I've frequented half a dozen forums over the years in diverse sports, hobbies and other knowledge and amateur astronomers are the only ones I've seen who consistently do this. Nobody in my 10+ year musical career ever told me how to play or why I should play it. Everyone just shared ideas and influences and you became your own player.



Hi:

I am not quite sure what you mean by "self-justification", I do not see people justifying the ways they enjoy the hobby. What I do see is people discussing the ways they experience amateur astronomy, what exactly it is that draws them to eyepiece on a cold, windy night when all sane people are at home, in bed. I think such discussions are honest attempts to communicate and share this experience that is ultimately personal.

As someone pointed out, a musician makes a sound, makes music, a visual amateur astronomer only has the experience of looking at the stars, one can talk about eyepieces but beyond equipment, the things that draw us together, they are internal experiences....

But as rather poor musician who began playing nearly 50 years ago, musicians may not talk about the internal experience of making that music, where it comes from, but most do, just not necessarily in words. You can talk about licks and chords and rhythms, amplifiers and strings and the best read for a certain sound but in the end, making music is an equally private experience.

If you flip it around and look at discussions of how astronomy "should be done" and just recognize that these are individuals discussing something very personal and internal, "what exactly is the magic that makes this a passion," then maybe it will not seem so much like self-justification as people who are passionate about something discussing something they love.

The GOTO'ers versus the Starhoppers, how about the Folkies versus the Heavy Metaller's or the classical versus the rockers....

Jon

#22 magic612

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:54 PM

Any salesman knows you buy on emotion and then justify with logic. The more expensive the item the more justification required. This applies to all hobbies. :grin:


As someone who has been in sales for 20+ years, yes. This.

#23 tim57064

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 04:15 PM

Well let me be the first. Are you playing a Gbson Thunderbird? No? Then you are not doing it right

Nobody in my 10+ year musical career ever told me how to play or why I should play it.


Astronomy isnt a team activity, I can show you what Im looking at, but you wont see it the way I do. You may not be interested at all.

Likewise I can take a crummy 30 second image with my DLSR and parade it around to all my imaging buddies. Its a masterpiece to me, groans and laughter for them.

Consider also how difficult this hobby can be: bad weather, equipment choices, equipment troubles, streetlights, trees, and nobody in your family or friends really understands. So I have strong opinions formed by experience, I express these opinions in order to save someone else grief and money.

We sit out in cold, isolated fields at night pointing odd devices at the sky, with really odd friends sometimes, on a Saturday night when normal folks are at the movies or eating at Carabba's or something like that. So yeah I have to justify my place in society.

When I tell a newbie "dont buy that cheap ^$#$% scope", its not ideology, its wisdom, sometimes in a sour crispy package thats easily misunderstood or offensive.

I tend to get offended by those who want instant gratification in the hobby, without expending effort or sacrifice, who dont even understand that astronomy as a hobby is both extremely easy AND difficult at the same time.

In astronomy circles Im an oddball for being a visual observer (not imager) who points the telescope himself (not using Go-TO) who spends more time looking at the background (not the objects) Yeah I have to justify that a lot.

Regards


That's a great post. To outsiders/non-hobbyists, we do indeed have to justify why we spend the time and money to do what we do. They cannot understand what we get out of it. While visiting my parents recently, my own mother questioned why I am so deep into astronomy and observing. I was a bit shaken at first, but regained my composure and explained to her what I experience when I go out observing and the wonder it inspires. She actually came around and said 'now I know!'.

For our fellow hobbyists, I think it comes down to this: there are many different paths and all lead to enjoyment. We do this for recreation, relaxation, connecting with nature and the universe and all that good stuff. But like I said there are many paths. One person may have a 70mm refractor and a couple plossls and is having his socks knocked off every time out, good for him! I think sometimes the next guy, who may have a 16" scope but is not having as much 'wonderment' may come along and say 'no, sir, you may not have as much fun as you are having, because I have bigger and better stuff and I am not having that much fun. So it is my job to tell you, YOU ARE NOT HAVING FUN YET!' :lol:

Basically, let everyone have their fun, don't 'harsh their buzz, man' and if you can think of any idea to help someone get more enjoyment or solve someone's problem, then definitely chime in. I think that's the main purpose of this forum.

Kudos,that is all I have to say.

#24 phreon

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 04:15 PM

So what I'm hearing is that in astronomy, some are The Beach Boys, some are Bruce Springsteen, some are Rush, some are a garage band and a sad few are Justin Bieber?

Doug

#25 csrlice12

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 05:14 PM

and some of us you don't even want to hear sing...... :lalalala:






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