Monday, March 05, 2012

Did curiosity really kill the cat?

So it didn't kill the cat after all. A video that made me feel good about myself and my seemingly never ending questions! Reminded me of that time when my high school chemistry teacher said to my mom in a parents teachers conference, Your daughter is very inquisitive, in addition to pointing out something about me asking questions in all cases: when I do or don't understand the content covered (or something around that meaning).
It's something that could act to my benefit, or in some rare cases go against me. Although, asking questions is more helpful than it is futile, in that it helps human beings better understand the world around them. If it wasn't for the curiosity and wonder naturally carved into our minds (almost as natural as having an eye or a nose), we wouldn't be in the level of advancement we are in today.
The video also reminded me of the Theory of Knowledge course I had to take during the course of my two years doing the International Baccalaureate program. Unlike standard academic disciplines, the theory of knowledge course uses a process of discovering and sharing students' views on knowledge issues (an umbrella term for everything that can be approached from a TOK point of view), so there is no end to the valid questions that may arisethere are many different ways to approach TOKthe sheer scope of the TOK course is daunting and teachers and students need the confidence to go a little—not too far—outside their traditional comfort zones.[1]
I have to say the course was a really interesting one and I actually really miss the discussions and umpteen arguments we've undertaken along the way. Oddly enough the teacher who taught it was that same one who made the remark about my inquisitive nature: my chemistry teacher, he taught the TOK course as well. I very much appreciate what he has brought to my plate. Though it was a course he was teaching us, to me it was far more than just that. I was being taught life lessons, most notably the art of intelligently questioning the world around me to get to the bottom of matter. It was very personal because first, we always had to relate the knowledge issues under discussion to our own real-life experiences and second, because I myself am quite fascinated with the whole idea of exploration - whets my always questioning appetite. TOK is like 15% philosophy and the remaining 85% is based entirely of questions, put simply. The most central of these is How do we know? Surrounding this central question arises a whole chain of complexly interrelated aspects such as the inquiry into different ways of knowing and into different kinds of knowledge. One of the most valuable lessons it has ultimately taught me is to be mindful of the interpretive nature of knowledge, and of personal ideological biases that are involved with these interpretations.
That being so, the Tunisian historiographer and historian Ibn Khaldun has ignited in me invaluable inspiration in this regard too, so credit goes to him as well! Basically, I have been compelled by curiosity.Mary Leakey

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