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Author Topic: The Death of Curiosity in Humans  (Read 1157 times)
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Lee Oliver
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« on: June 26, 2011, 06:40:10 AM »

In a field such as fractal geometry it seems that curiosity is a necessity.  However, it seems as if the ability to access information in a quick-and-easy manner has discouraged the need for any sort of curiosity in the general public.  If one desires an answer they are merely able to google it and be fed the information within seconds. 

This is from a strictly American point of view.  Does this seem to be true of other countries?

Personally, when I have a question I research it and take 2-6 pages of notes about it. (but that might just be me lips are sealed)
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rte’pi twam na bhavisyanti sarve
ye’vasthitah pratyanikesu yodhah
kameelian
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 12:18:23 PM »

Hi BrutalToad,

Well, without giving it too much thought at this point...
I would say that the immediacy that information is available these days, is likely to create plusses and minuses in both directions.
It might open up a whole new world for folks who had little interest in things they did not even know existed...and being able to 'Google'
- and tangent off in all kinds of directions as a result - probably does not have to conflict with your notion of whatever curiosity means to you.
I for one wish that things were available to me in this manner years ago - but then, that is coming from a place that has got me to
where I am today without having it. They do say that 'education is wasted on the young'.

Interestingly, how is it that a posted thread can have already been 'viewed' by any number of folk as soon as it's posted? Is this connected to curiosity topic?

regards
kam
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 04:10:31 PM by kameelian » Logged

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hobold
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2011, 12:24:59 PM »

I don't know the future, but based on the past I think that the sky is not falling.

Back when humanity first acquired speech, people no longer had to learn everything by doing. They could just go find someone who would explain things. Most talk was smalltalk, of course.

Back when humans first learned to write down words and read them back, people no longer needed to find a teacher to speak to. They could just read a record of his words. Most such records were smalltalk, of course.

Back when the Gutenberg Press made such written records much more available and accessible still, the average book became more shallow. Nevertheless, the average level of knowledge and education rose.

And now that the Internet is the fourth disruptive invention that drastically increases the availability of information, and drastically lowers the cost of communication while lowering the barrier of entry, I expect all the same things to happen again. There will be a lot more shallow entertainment and irrelevant chitchat, but also a lot more high-quality information as well. I expect the average level of knowledge and education to rise.

It is this rising level of sophistication that makes the unlucky few who cannot catch up look ever more stupid. And we will be losing a few of the older skills, because the game has changed and so some strategies of play are no longer optimal. We'll acquire new skills to replace the obsoleted ones.

The disruption is happening right now, and I don't claim to know which temporary fixed point it is converging towards. But that kind of turmoil is a necessary companion of disruptive changes, and no cause for alarm. I try to steer as best I can, but in the end I cannot control the storm. What I do know, though, is that the sun will shine again from a bright blue sky afterwards. smiley
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Kali
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2011, 03:30:28 PM »

In a field such as fractal geometry it seems that curiosity is a necessity.  However, it seems as if the ability to access information in a quick-and-easy manner has discouraged the need for any sort of curiosity in the general public.  If one desires an answer they are merely able to google it and be fed the information within seconds. 

This is from a strictly American point of view.  Does this seem to be true of other countries?

Personally, when I have a question I research it and take 2-6 pages of notes about it. (but that might just be me lips are sealed)

Very interesting topic. I can give you my point of view from the so called "third world" (I live in Argentina).
I think it's all about education. Some statistics: We are the latin american country with more web surfing time per habitant. But also number one on social networks access in the region.  I have nothing against social networks itself and can be a valuable tool, but believe me that the way they are used here is mostly incredible shallow. So the poor educated people tends to lack of that curiosity you mention (not always, but statistically speaking), mainly because of being more simple-minded and having more basic interests. On the other hand, internet is a super valuable tool for people who knows how to use it wisely and are capable of an adquate processing of the huge mass of information accessed. The fact is, if somebody needs information, then google it, and accepts the first match as an answer, he wasn't going to do a lot of research neither in the case of not using internet. So in conclusion I agree that some curious spirit is being lost, but I don't blame internet or google... it's all about education and incentivation of the human spirit.
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Lee Oliver
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2011, 11:21:35 PM »

@ Kali: You make some interesting points and it is always interesting to hear the point of view of residents from various countries.

My problem isn't so much with "Googling" something, but with the overall lack of interest in learning new things. 
For example:  If a child were to ask a teacher a question such as "How can fish live without breathing air?"  The teacher would, in my area of the US, respond with a very vague and roundabout answers such as "Because fish don't need to breath air."  The teacher does so because most teachers don't enjoy admitting their ignorance to their students.  In stead of feeling ignorant shouldn't the teacher see the question as an opportunity to learn along with the student?

My problems lies in the lack of incentive in the average person to go beyond what they are required to know.  It almost seems as if curiosity is suppressed from a very young age
Also, just as Kali said, the layperson will generally accept the first answer they stumble upon.

I would still love to hear from those in other countries.
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Lokan smahartum-iha pravrttah|

rte’pi twam na bhavisyanti sarve
ye’vasthitah pratyanikesu yodhah
David Makin
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2011, 12:29:10 AM »

IMO the issue with "lack of curiosity" is more down to what seems to be an ever decreasing attention span in particular encouraged by many modern TV programs and the way many films are cut nowadays to keep an "immediacy" of interest - although long films this method can even be seen in say LOTR and Harry Potter, the idea of "slow-build" seems to have gone out and I think this is unfortunately transferring to education/study and plain curiosity which is of course a bad thing.

More dangerously from the perspective of a British person looking at the USA (overall i.e. very much generalising) it seems that the importance of fair and equal education for all has been lost completely even to the point where the insanity of Creationism in some cases is taught as "truth" and Darwinism as being false, untrue and unproven - this all fulfilling the prophecies/warnings from George Carlin years ago i.e. educate the general populous just enough to do the required jobs but ensure that it's not enough for them to think for themselves and realise that radical reform of Government is required i.e. take all the private money away leaving the politicians free to legislate without influence from the big corporations, banks and other institutions who are really in control at the moment - the problem is not "big" Government it's "big" business - take the influence of "big" business out of Government (and preferably divorce the Judiciary from the legislature) and then "big" Government becomes the solution rather than the problem !!


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