Monday, June 30, 2008

Decisons, decisions

One of the main things I want to achieve while in Taiwan is to work out what to do with myself when I decide to return to my own society. I was thinking about this last night and in trying to explain my philosophy to Andrea I think I laid out my reasoning in a new way, projecting my thoughts through a new lens and when I looked at the image I had created I wondered if I hadn't already made up my mind.

I really like psychology. I especially like developmental psychology because of my own childhood and my wonder at the influences that help to shape who we become. I see a lot of potential in having some power, as a qualified, practicing developmental psychologist or counsellor, in applying my knowledge and my own experience to help young people become better people. Perhaps I should say - to help young people on a course to growing up into "incomplete" people. Psychology provides me with intellectual fulfilment and challenges me. I like developmental psychology a lot.

Unfortunately I have a problem with psychology in that it is about helping people. And that's good right? Well, in the scheme of all things, do people really need any help? I think that people will persevere no matter the type of government, religion, beliefs, etcetera. Whatever society is and whatever shape society and culture take, humanity will be fine. I'm not sure that I will be very useful helping people.

However, whatever the shape of society, people have to be somewhere and without this somewhere you can't have human society of any kind. The land is forever. And we have the power to affect it for better or worse. The Roman empire came and went but the Italian landscape remained, albeit in a slightly altered condition. But badly mismanage the land and it may not matter whether the society depending on that land gets its directions from a communist manifesto or from the capitalist enterprise. If the place is ruined then all kinds of society suffer more or less the same. History and archaeology offer us many lessons in how mismanagement of your somewhere can leave you nowhere with nothing. My favourite example of this is Easter Island. However, other examples include the societies of Chaco Canyon, the medieval Greenlanders, and modern Haiti.

Human societies are very interesting but also seem to me to be ethereal things that change shape and blow about in the winds of providence and chance. But these unreal societies exist in a landscape that is very real and concrete and should be taken seriously. And that is why I am now thinking about a career in environmental science or land management of some kind. I have been considering this for a quite a while. I think I should start investigating this option seriously. I only have a year or so before returning to my world (or Canada). That may sound like a long time but with so many distractions and so many small desires to invest my time in, that time will be taken in the breeze and blow past me if I let it.

Decisions, decisions.

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