The Condemnation of Intellectual Curiosity

To start off the topic, I’m going to put forth questions that I have been asking for a long time, but have not gotten answers for. I have tried to bring these questions up with a bunch of different people and the response is usually a shrug and a mumbled “yeah, well, I don’t know”.

My questions for the world: Since when has learning become a bad thing? What movement started that pushed intellectual curiosity to the way side? Was it in the 40’s and 50’s when all of a sudden the jocks and bad boys were the cool kids and, for some reason, they weren’t allowed to get good grades (as depicted in the musical, Grease)? Was it after the space missions started to fade from the interested, public eye? Doesn’t anyone realize how detrimental intellectual ignorance is to the world, our culture, and even to your own, personal progress in life?

It angers me to no end when those in power, or simply those in my community, have the nerve to look at leading experts in any field and say “Yeah, well…maybe not”. There is nothing more self-centered and self-indulgent than someone thinking they have nothing new to learn. Of course you have more to learn; don’t you ever think otherwise. Even if someone doesn’t come at it from that direction, there’s still nothing more self-indulgent than pretending you know better than experts in whatever field you are commenting on. Yes, there are certain times that we are allowed to, and probably should, question authority. It’s always good to question what you hear or see on the news or the internet. That, though, in and of itself, is a part OF intellectual curiosity. The natural human state includes curiosity.

Not only do we all still have much to learn, but all the things we have already learned are so interesting! This world is so vast! So filled with cool things! Never stagnant! There’s a never ending stream of facts and ideas out there that will make you go “shit, that’s so cool”. Here’s just a few of my favorites:

  1. A sperm whale has a brain that weighs about 17 lbs, compared to human and dolphin brains that weigh 3 lbs on average. Also, sperm whales usually weigh, in total,  77,000 – 130,000 lbs.
  2. The first website (ever) was launched in November of 1992.
  3. The sun is classified as a G-type main-sequence star, or G dwarf star. Our sun…which can fit 1,300,000 Earth’s inside of it…is considered a DWARF star.
  4. Due to humans finding and cultivating a specific kind of banana seed, there are now no bananas that have seeds (other than the truly wild variation). Also, bananas can be classified as both a fruit and a herb.
  5. If you were standing on the Moon, you would always see the Earth in exactly the same position, while the stars and the Sun moved around in the sky (this one’s just cool to imagine).
  6. Earth’s seas cover approximately 70 percent of the planet, reaching depths of about 12,100 feet, on average, and up to 36,200 feet at the deepest point.
  7. The average elevation of New Orleans, Louisiana is between 1 and 2 feet below sea level, but it can range up to 7 feet below sea level, and even 20 feet below sea level in some areas. How they aren’t actually underwater (considering they’re a coastal city) is beyond me.
  8. To completely escape Earth’s gravity and travel to another moon or planet, you would need to be traveling at a speed of at least 7 miles per second or about 25,000 miles per hour.

Intellectual curiosity is what fuels progress. It is what fuels all the new research, new businesses, new technology. Curiosity and communication are the two largest proponents of worldly progress; an understanding that if we are not smart about things, and do not talk to each other, we are going to go no where. Progress needs a question to be asked, debated, and, eventually, answered; with a new question sprouting from the results. Progress on a large scale, on an important level, does not happen overnight and does not happen without hard work being put in. These are some of the things that we need to know, as a whole, in order to propel our future forward into a new era.  The definition of progress is a “forward or onward movement toward a destination”. The destination in question can be debated, but I think the true destination that we should be working towards is simply a better world. 

Recently, there has been a witch hunt against those that believe in science, against those that believe in intellectual curiosity, against those that truly want to learn more, see more, experience more, do more. This new culture that is breeding across our country is probably the scariest thing about our future.

In the journey to become larger than myself, those that truly want to expand their knowledge, and their minds, far and wide, are the kind of people that I am trying to surround myself with. I am not going to be stagnant in my view of the world or of other people. The most important value that I hold, near and dear, is the value of learning. And, although it’s not for everyone, I encourage anyone and everyone to adopt this simple, life-altering view.

 

As a side note; please support the March For Science happening across the globe on April 22nd. Supporting those looking for a better tomorrow is crucial to the coming evolution, revolution, and devolution.

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