If you are a professional of any of those areas that are concerned with human development instead of generating money, you must have heard many times the question 'What is the real life application of your research/work?'
There is an interesting comment about that in the book
What are universities for? by Stefan Collini
I will reproduce that here:
And talking of literature, it’s usually at about this point in the argument that an appearance is made by one of the more bizarre and exotic products of the human imagination, namely a wholly fictive place called ‘the real world’. This sumptuously improbable fantasy is quite unlike the actual world you and I live in. In the actual world that we’re familiar with, there are all kinds of different people doing all kinds of different things – sometimes taking pleasure in their work, sometimes expressing themselves aesthetically, sometimes falling in love, sometimes telling themselves that if they didn’t laugh they’d cry, sometimes wondering what it all means, and so on. But this invented entity called ‘the real world’ is inhabited exclusively by hard-faced robots who devote themselves single-mindedly to the task of making money. They work and then they die. Actually, in the fictional accounts of ‘the real world’ that I’ve read, they don’t ever seem to mention dying, perhaps because they’re afraid that if they did it might cause the robots to stop working for a bit and to start expressing themselves, falling in love, wondering what it all means, and so on, and once that happened, of course, ‘the real world’ wouldn’t seem so special any more, but would be real world’ wouldn’t seem so special any more, but would be just like the ordinary old world we’re used to. Personally, I’ve never been able to take this so-called ‘real world’ very seriously. It’s obviously the brainchild of cloistered businessmen, living in their ivory factories and out of touch with the kinds of things that matter to ordinary people like you and me. They should get out more.Of course, when faced with the 'real world' question asked by a friend, one has to make a hard choice: either succumb to the temptation of of preaching about the importance of developing the human mind and losing the friend or breathing deeply, giving a smile and changing the subject. I, usually influenced by my wife who has much better social skills than me, choose the latter. However, I still have the hopes that she wouldn't be there one day to prevent me from asking questions like:
So, you are going to have a child. What is the 'real world' application of that?