I suppose my interest in looking for life elsewhere in the universe really dates back to my teens. What teenager doesn't look up at the sky at night and think am I alone in the universe? Well most people get over it, but I never did and though I made a career more in physics and cosmology than astrobiology I've always had a soft spot for the subject of life because it does seem so mysterious.
Why aren't we looking at the causes of breast cancer? Why aren't we spending our energy on looking at what we're doing to the earth? On the pollutants we're putting into the earth? And the pesticides we're putting into the earth? What we're releasing into the air? Instead, we just cut off more organs! That's where metaphor comes into it - not even metaphor as much as reality.
No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert. What is a course of history, or philosophy, or poetry, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen? Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer?