Curiosity

“The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know.”
-Socrates

I was having a productive conversation with a friend of mine regarding quantum physics (under the pretense of studying) when he said something interesting. He asked me, “What does the phrase ‘The more you learn, the less you know’ mean?” For me the answer came easily, “the more you learn, the more questions you have. That cycle continues, causing you to have more and more questions, hence “knowing” less.” This, however, got me thinking.

A baby is born. The first thing it does is cry. Why does it cry? Rather, why is it upset? It is unfamiliar with the surroundings. It is no longer in the comfortable environment of the womb. However, it comes out because it is meant to come out, and if it doesn’t, it will be in discomfort. For it to continue along in growth and development as nature wills it to, it must emerge from the womb and experience discomfort due to unfamiliarity. But after a while, the child must adjust. The only way it will adjust is if it is familiar with its surroundings. This will only occur if it has the motivation to, which comes from curiosity.

As life progresses, nature wills us to grow and develop. This growth comes from experience. The motivation to experience has its roots in curiosity. We continue on to higher and higher levels of achievement through curiosity. Humanity progresses by asking the question “why”. If not for this question, we would still be our primitive, not yet evolved ancestors.

Therefore, one of the strongest forces behind innovation and progress is actually quite simple: the primitive feeling of curiosity.

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