07 March 2011

Suitable Activities

One of the features I have noticed when reading biographies of historically significant figures is that many were, in adolescence and early adulthood, forced by their fathers to train as lawyers.

Many of those men were unhappy with the professional direction the training took them, and they subsequently either rebelled or waited until they were old enough to take up a direction of their own choosing.

Some examples:

Wikipedia - A list of composers who studied law

A number of artists, writers and other creative people also studied law before developing the careers leading to their fame - C├ęzanne, Matisse, Goethe.  Can you name a few?

Perhaps it was much more difficult for women than men in the past to shape a life of their own choosing.  In my own case, having no maternal instinct, and no religious instinct, I would not have wanted to have my options limited to the role of mother or the role of nun.

How should a career path be chosen?  What, and who, should be permitted to limit our choices?  Do career advisers know enough about you to provide appropriate advice?

Are your options mainly limited by the culture in which you have developed, rather than by your potential talents and possible future interests?

Where do our interests and opinions come from, especially when aspects of our family and cultural backgrounds do not match our personal interests?

Our brains are the source of many of our interests and abilities, as well as our personalities, our likes and dislikes, and of our social preferences. The external world provides a great deal of stimulation for our senses and minds to process, and we select some of that information and disregard a great deal of it, too.

Yet an understanding of our brains is a relatively recent discovery, helped along by an unfortunate man who had a very unpleasant accident:

BBC - Phineas Gage

I hope that you never experience anything similar to that of Phineas Gage, though any of us, at any time, may suffer a disabling accident or injury.  Do you believe people should be able to follow the path in life they have chosen for themselves, as long as they are fully aware of their identity, personal abilities and limitations?

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