Lewis and Clark departed West from just outside St. Louis in 1804 with the intent of finding a navigable route across the western part of what we now call North America.
They planned on mapping it, making scientific observations, creating trade relationships with the Native Americans, and imposing an American presence in the territory in order to keep the British and French out. These two guys were hard as fuck. Although probably racist. Actually they were definitely racist. But still, they had qualities that we can all learn from.
There was nothing known of the land west of the Mississipi at the time they set out. Thomas Jefferson, who had an incredibly extensive library and was well versed on geography, cartography and natural history, believed that:
“the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia might be the biggest on the continent, that the mammoth, the giant ground sloth, and other prehistoric creatures would be found along the upper Missouri; that a mountain of pure salt a mile long lay somewhere on the Great Plains; that all the great rivers of the West — the Missouri, Columbia, Colorado, and Rio Grande — rose from a single ‘height of land’ and flowed off in their several directions to the seas of the hemisphere.”
I wish Jefferson was right because having one of those as a pet would rock
These were opinions that were well respected at the time and they highlight the fact that Lewis and Clark were stepping into the unknown and that Thomas Jefferson was an idiot. I mean everyone knows that rivers originate from God’s tears when we make him sad by being gay and reading Harry Potter books.
Before Lewis set out on his epic journey he spent time managing his families plantation, serving in the military and attending at least some schooling in the city. However, his most important education came after all this as he used his mid to late 20’s to do some serious learning, and no he did not do this at a University.
Meriweather Lewis, a captain in the army at the time, was offered a role as the secretary to President Jefferson. This job would not offer him much money but it “would make [him] known & be known to characters of influence in the affairs of our country, and give [him] the advantage of their wisdom”. Meriweather enthusiastically accepted this position and spent the year spending every waking hour with Jefferson and his eclectic group of friends.
Jefferson was a man who was known to have friends from all age groups, and from all different walks of life. He valued information that was foreign to him and he loved the idea of having experts from all different fields available to him over a dinner table.
This is a very valuable lesson that we can take for ourselves. Once university is over our further education is on our shoulders. We can no longer rely on professors to give us multiple choice tests that will make us super smart and totally not prone to cramming the night before getting by on natural intelligence and good looks alone.
The people that we spend time with have a very intense impact on the type of lives that we live. This can often be worrying as it seems that the people that we spend the most time with aren’t the most encouraging or positive, whether they mean to be or not.
Thankfully we now have the ability to surround ourselves with many different people through many different mediums. Podcasts, books, videos, audio books, and online communities are all great ways to expose ourselves to people who think the same way as we do, as well as people who come from entirely different backgrounds than ours. Make sure that you are exposing yourself to different viewpoints and ideas every day. It will challenge you, make you think, and make you as badass as Meriweather Lewis, although hopefully not as rascist.
The Pugcast with your host Puggles McPugster
I’ll make a post with my top three favorite podcasts and the three books that I am reading right now so that you can see what I am using to get myself better at multiple choice tests.