July 2018

The Lava People teaser image
Watching the videos of the ongoing volcanic eruptions in the Kilauea, Hawaii would give anyone a pause for thought. The mesmerizing fountains of molten hot rock flowing out of the ground and making its way any which way it desires is a true wonder of nature. As a social scientist in training, I looked at the lava flow and started thinking of comparable phenomenon in our society. It turns out some people behave like lava. Let’s call these people the “Lava People”. 
            People get presented with choices countless times in their lives. Some choices are straight forward and easy to make, for instance burger or tacos, pants or shorts, etc. But some choices are difficult, for example wait to fall in love and then get married or let your mom find you a wife and go with an arrange marriage (By the way, I chose the latter, it was a difficult decision but one that paid off). But what if the choices afforded to you are not the ones that you wanted. Say you don’t like the choices that are available, what then. Now, if you are a one of the lava people then you will force your way through the situation until you find the choices you want. For lava people obstacles are something that you destroy or go through, not go around. Simply put, lava people force their way through situations instead of working through them.  
            Unlike lava people who flow through obstacles destroying them, the water peopleflow around obstacles. These people are always willing and ready to negotiate with their environment. When presented with choices they choose the most viable option at that time and work around issues that arise. Water people are usually relaxed because they spend less effort worrying about obstacles, since for them obstacles are not a point of stoppage but a point of continuation in a new exciting direction. 
            As I look back at my life and all the choices I have made, I can’t help but think that I am not a lava person. Never been, and probably never will be. It simply takes too much effort. What about you, are you a lava person? 

Aamir Fidai
Aamir is a Ph.D. student in the College of Education and Human Development
(Image courtesy: Daniele Florio from Rome, ITALY (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:I_didn't_have_time,_Pompeii.jpg), „I didn't have time, Pompeii“, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

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