Architect or Archaeologist

It is no question that architecture and archaeology are universally different in many categories. Architecture, being the art of building or designing structures, isn’t quite a scientific study. Granted, some components to architecture do involve scientific approaches and mathematical thinking; however, the overall field isn’t necessarily a branch of science. On the other hand, archaeology qualifies as a form of science. As the study of human history through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts, archaeology is the apex of discovery. In a literal sense, archaeologists dedicate their careers to discovering how people of the past lived and moved across landscapes to piece together ancient human culture. Moreover, they physically dig up past material, even human remains. 

Our first-world society can comprehend the nature of architecture much more quickly than archaeology. Although archaeology provides us with amazing discoveries, artifacts, and perspectives on human history, our modernized minds have a hard time grappling with the fact that there were thousands of years of human activity before us. Therefore, some people find truths about our existence a bit unsettling because we rarely have conversations about how we fit into the puzzle of the universe, the legacy we want to leave, and the confrontation of death. 

Archaeology is important because it is an opportunity to learn insights about people who led us to where we are now. It helps us understand when people lived on earth and the many patterns that help us explain why we are the way we are. In other words, we can better understand the NOW more comprehensively by digging up the past, metaphorically and physically.

The field of architecture requires a significantly lesser amount of definition. You all know what architecture is. 

So, why am I comparing these two domains? For one, I am uniquely interested in both of them in different ways. Two, I recently came to a realization that their essences create an interesting analogy of life. Do you want to go about life being an architect–planning and curating everything beforehand? Or do you want to go about life as an archaeologist–having solace in the unknown, always seeking discovery, and caring deeply about preserving the past?

Life as an architect requires impeccable planning and acutely perfecting every little detail of a plan before the project even begins. As an architect, your job is to predict any possible outcome, state every possible question, and postulate all of the different possible ways the project could be executed. Ultimately, architecture is a prime example of a practice that relies almost entirely on preparation.

Conversely, life as an archaeologist requires a deep focus on execution instead of preparation. With archaeology, you never know what you may find. Archaeologists are passionate about what they do for that sole reason. But unfortunately, there is very little an archaeologist can do to perfectly prepare for the execution process. I mean, when you’re literally digging up unknown objects, hunting down material evidence that has never even been found before, there is genuinely no way to predict 100% what you are going to discover. Therefore, archaeologists are complete experts at allowing the unknown to be the driving force inside them. As a result, they are able to maintain peace even though they know they don’t have complete control over anything.

The main difference between architecture and archeology is that architects plan everything, whereas archaeologists embrace the reality of being unable to plan; when it comes to their work. I believe this dichotomy represents the two primary extremes, and they reside on opposite sides of the planning spectrum. 

In a figurative sense, I think most people should oscillate between the practices of architects and archaeologists. I think it could potentially be detrimental to the human soul to conduct oneself unwaveringly in one extreme or the other. If you behave as an architect all of the time–obsessing over every tiny detail and practicing complete control over all aspects of life, you will be less able to adjust to conflict when things diverge from the initial plan you formulated. But, if you behave as an archaeologist all of the time–constantly exploring the unknown and always wanting to discover more and more, you may forget to prioritize maintaining structure in your life.

I thought this concept was super interesting and wanted to share it with the world. Do you want to live as an architect or archaeologist? Or somewhere in between? - just some food for thought.