Henry Stanley is purported to be one of the main inspirations for the Indiana Jones character. Stanley was a writer and explorer who followed his passions and interests to infamous discoveries in many academic fields.
“I don’t like work, no man does, but I like what is in the work, the chance to find yourself. Your own reality, for yourself not for others, what no other man can ever know.”
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
John Rowlands grew up in a poor house in England. At 8 years old he was told that a woman and her two children who had been living at the same poor house as him for a while was actually his mother who had abandoned him at a young age. He emigrated to America at 18 and apparently upon seeing a man in a cafe asked him for work stating, “If there is any work, I am your boy.” An English expression. Coincidentally the wealthy man, Henry Stanley had just been pondering his life with no children and his desire for ‘a boy of his own’. The Universe at work, Stanley took the mans good name and reputation and was able to forge many career paths.
Henry Stanley did not follow a set linear career path and because of this he was able to follow his passions and interests which led him to many discoveries in numerous varied subjects including Paleontology. Stanley had a rich and varied career which I find is often lacking today as we are squeezed into a particular career path.
I wonder if this obsession with a career today is a detriment to the rich experiences of individuals and society as a whole. In society today we have become obsessed with a set career path, and continually struggle to find good jobs. Has society lost the rich discoveries and development that can only be realised from our ability to follow and develop our dynamic interests and passions?