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Category: thinking

09/29/05 09:50 - ID#27697

Work and Soulmates

As usual it’s been a while since my last post. I know I promised pictures of my apartment, Cambridge, and the roommate, but right now they are all on my digital camera. I’m not in a big rush because I’m pretty sure no one is really holding their breath. Instead I wanted to post about something that has hit me since I started school two weeks ago.

As a requirement (the only requirement) of my program, I have to take a class on Integrative Thinking. Honestly I would have never taken this course if I didn’t have to and I really couldn’t have told you what integrative thinking meant before last week, but ironically this is my most meaningful course thus far. To show that I have learned something, I will tell you what integrative thinking (in reference to looking at educational topics) means. The expressed purpose of the course is to get people to look at topics of education in a complex manner. By resisting the urge to simplify and generalize issues, we can adjust to the idea that no one solution will exist that solves “the problem of education.” Don’t get the wrong idea, this is not simply an extreme form of relativism. Integrated thinkers search for answers- real solutions- but they do not expect one answer to fit all, and they don’t minimize the problem so that they can find a solution more easily. Furthermore, integrative thinkers attempt to use as many perspectives as possible to come up with a solution. It’s like being right-handed but forcing yourself to develop your left-hand as well. Sometimes it’s a huge benefit to be ambidextrous. Or, think of it like the way humans see. We have binocular vision, that is, we see with two eyes. The multiple perspectives allow us to see depth (among other things). This is the perfect metaphor for integrative thinking- multiple perspectives give us the ability to see something more deeply. This all sounds really meaningless and abstract but I really find it to be a beautifully refreshing perspective.

Anyway, I’m sure I didn’t explain that clearly at all, but the point it brings me to is that the reading and work that I have done for this class have given me so much to think about lately. My future seems so uncertain because the more I learn about different ideas the more I become unwilling to commit to one life goal. I guess the best way to describe what I’m feeling is to compare it to finding a soulmate. When you are looking for someone to be with forever you don’t just want someone you like. The person needs to be special. They need to have the capacity to challenge you for the rest of your life. They need to be someone you can imagine being passionate about forever. (These are my beliefs anyway)
For me, finding a life’s wok requires the same feelings. It may seem like a lot to expect, but nevertheless, I have long thought that I had found my soulmate; the one focus that I was passionate about and could feel content building my life around. However lately, while working on this class, I have gotten shaken by my interest in other things. You could liken it to getting a “crush,” only this is on a new topic or line of research I never thought about before. These “crushes” are confusing, they make me question whether I could have more passion for something else; they make me wonder if my “soulmate” is really the one. Since I’m someone who despises change, these tremors are quite unsettling. I think about the possibilities my life could take all the time. I wonder whether my resistance to change will force me to end up with a pseudo-soulmate for the rest of my life. If it takes me longer to find the right one, then shouldn’t I be ok with that? Patience has never been my strongest characteristic, but now, do I need to force myself to take the time it requires rather than rush ahead?

In the end, I guess I think that questioning what you have settled for is a good thing. Sometimes you have to take risks to decide what’s really right for you. I’m not a determinist but I think if the track I’m on right now is right, then I will end up back on it eventually. I don’t expect life to do everything for me, but I trust myself (most of the time). If I’m not in the right place, I like to think I’ll find my way there somehow.

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