When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. –Hunter S. Thompson
Theory is my hobby. I can’t think of any other way to classify it. These are collected, sorted, examined, remixed, dismantled, hacked, built, redistributed the same way someone deals with their gadget collection, their car collection or any other collectable collection.
Professional theorists, such as those employed by establishments like MIT or religious institutions (Are they not the same to some?) tend to specialize in one theoretical area, more often serving to preserve theory than to wrestle it, tear it apart, mutate it. Probably that’s the main reason I’ll not turn pro any time soon. Maintaining it as a hobby is the most fun one can have with it.
Theory is built of beliefs, some more verifiable than others. As such it is a mutable substance not unlike mercury or other alchemical elements. Many combinations are tried before one strikes gold. But it’s only a provisional sort of gold as the next moment can turn it into lead.
Doing something you enjoy as a profession ruins it. I used to really enjoy everything about computers and the emerging Internet at one time. Endless fascination. Then I got my dream job of sorts as a computer systems manager. It was a nightmare. After a year I quit and had minimal contact with anything technology related for about 3-4 years.
Just when you think the Philosopher’s Stone is in hand it becomes a rock again. That’s part of the fun of it though. One can always build a rock garden.