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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 593)...

    I'm a sophomore in college who is considering a double major in physics and mechanical engineering - I'm scientifically inclined in this regard and the subjects really engage my interest. I've noticed the trend of people asking 'What do I do? What job should I have?' I have to admit that reading your book and some others (Lord of the Rings, other fantasy) make me feel close to nature... I know that sounds ridiculous and you discourage use of the word nature, but that's just the best way to sum up the emotion of a time and a place with no overwhelming, unsustainable technologies. And so I've found myself at a crossroads many times - Do my scholastic interests conflict with my ideals? But the more I think about it, the more I feel that the world needs engineers who think like me - engineers who want to find creative ways to invent sustainable technologies - after all, engineers are not to blame for the state of our society - ask an engineer how to go to war with the biosphere, and he can - ask an engineer how to make peace with the biosphere, and he can find a way. Have I found my way?

    ...and the response:

    It seems to me that you have indeed "found your way." You can't make a living (and we all must make a living) just by being close to nature. You must do SOMETHING, and people with changed minds are needed everywhere, not just in "noble" professions. In fact, they're needed very badly in the very fields in which you are "scientifically inclined." For anyone who wants to see good things happen, my advice is the same: Go where you can do your best work (and therefore hopefully the work you'll find the most fulfilling), because that's where you're going to have the greatest impact.


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