Gardening - all things for all people... :-)
I was struck by GP1's post on the like/dislike thread but don't want to hijack that one further so thought it best to start a separate thread....
What struck me is how gardening can satisfy so many different needs/desires. It provides an avenue for solitary activity, contemplation, and expression of individual creative vision for GP1 - and all gardeners I'm sure! - while also providing an avenue to express that same sort of individual creative urge in a way that increases social interaction.
I am in a sort of opposite position to GP1 - i.e. have more limited opportunities for routine social interaction - so one of the functions that gardening provides is to create a context that promotes opportunities for social interaction (in person on on forums like this - which sometimes lead to in-person interation too :-) by sharing a common love of gardening. I'm a believer in 'a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled'!
I think the sharing aspect is probably behind most of the interactions that happen (in person or on-line) of the 'you should see MY [whatever]' type that many interpret as one-upmanship irritating incidents. I'm probably guilty of a few of those :-) But gardeners love to share what they've learned and I think that is at the root of many of those type comments - and you often see posts here along the lines of 'show me your [whatever]'.... so there is an interest in learning from those who have been successful at growing [whatever].
I'd say the solitary/social balance for me is about 50/50 (i.e. half the pleasure is from activities and outcomes in the garden that pleases me, regardless of what others think of them, and half from discussing the garden with other people and incorporating that interaction in the development of the garden so as to create a garden that gives others pleasure too.) What is the balance of things for you?
In part, because I live with physical limitations, exploring the the more 'academic/intellectual/aesthetic' aspects of gardens/gardening gives me as much pleasure as the hands-in-the-dirt part, although both aspects are necessary to provide a complete and satisfactory gardening experience for me.
Different strokes for different folks and all that....! :-)
GP1 - it sounds like your job is in some sort of land planning field....? It sounds interesting (annoying meetings and revisions aside!)