Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Speak like a Child

More an more, I want to be a child.  Don't misunderstand me, I have often been equated to be more akin to a middle-aged man, and I understand the connection made there as well.  I certainly don't act like most nineteen year-old boys, and it's something I'm not necessarily proud of, but aware of and certainly not bashful about. 
But I try to be like a child in that I want to look at the world every day as if it is completely new. I want to enter every experience as though it had the energy of a first meeting, and I want to learn like a child grasping at strings, trying to understand the universe through incessant questioning and unapologetic curiosity.
"This is what I am passionate about... it is this inextinguishable, undaunted appetite for learning an experience no matter how risible, no matter how esoteric, no matter how seditious it might seem." -Ben Dunlap
This is a quote from another TED speech.  Ben Dunlap outlines the lives of two great friends with only the common characteristics of a Hungarian heritage and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge even until their 80's.  I hope I am the same in my aged days, I hope my need for new knowledge and experience lasts until my dying days.
But more than that, I want to maintain a childlike curiosity because it is non-judgmental.  It is a thirst for knowledge without expectation, and without the inevitable falls and disappointments that come from living with it.  It is curiosity for the sake of knowledge alone, serving to explain the strange place we live in.  
I think it is disturbing we try to dampen this curiosity in youth.  As we grow older, we stigmatize mistakes in children through a broken education system and remove that which makes a child's mind so captivating.  Mistakes are not to be avoided:
"I don't mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative, but what we do know is if you're not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original."- Sir Ken Robinson
Phrases like "curiosity killed the cat", while true in a certain way, also teach an untruth; that is that we shouldn't go out and look for ourselves, search for ourselves.  Give in to idle curiosity.  Let yourself make mistakes, but learn in the process.  If we assume that every mistake is a failure, than we have removed any hope for a beautiful tomorrow, because we will make many mistakes before the glorious future.

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