Questions

Or, Two Ears, One Mouth.

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”
– Sir Francis Bacon

I have a lot of random knowledge about a lot of random things. I remember when I was in elementary school, we learned about encyclopedias, and that there are two types. The first type has only a few (or only one) subject, but has a lot of information about that (or those) particular subject(s). The second type has a little bit of knowledge about a broad area of subjects.

I think that in the back of my head, the idea of the second encyclopedia has stuck with me. I don’t aim to be encyclopedic by any means, but I would like to be able to contribute to conversations on a wide array of subjects. If someone is talking about politics, or art, or music, or pop culture, or gardening, or religion, or baseball, I would like to be able to carry on (or at least follow) a conversation with them.

My intentions have never been, specifically to learn a bunch about every subject ever, but I tend to absorb pretty much everything I read or watch or hear. This is why I contest that TV has made me smarter. From Sesame Street to Zoom to Food Network and the Discovery Channel, I have always favored television that is both entertaining and informative.

Further, I ask a lot of questions. In fact, more than one person has told me that I ask too many questions, including a couple of my former professors from Reinhardt. (I was like, “Seriously, I’m paying you to TEACH me, for crying out loud.”) I ask questions because there are a ton of things that I don’t know anything about, and I am eager to learn about them. In the past 24 hours I have grilled two different friends about two different subjects. I think it’s possible that some people find my intense curiosity toward just about everything annoying (particularly my aforementioned professors). I, however, hope that curiosity is not something that I lose or forgo as I get older.

I remember when I was a small child, and everything was a new discovery for me. I remember discovering that the red clay in my backyard made very different mudpies than looser dirt, that the step-stool in the bathroom became a tiny chair, that the lines on the rear window of my dad’s Hyundai warmed and defrosted the window, that my warm breath made fog on cold glass.

As I get older, and people ask me questions about things, I think I have begun to lose some of the wonder I once had about my environment, and about the world. I think that perhaps to some degree answering questions makes you jaded as you get used to knowing the answers to things. I think that typical educational environments, wherein you are fed and regurgitate specific information over and over tend to stifle natural curiosity and a sense of discovery. But, I hope and pray that I never lose my curious, questioning spirit, even as I age, and even as I go back to a traditional learning environment. I don’t want to lose the beautiful sense of discovery that God has given me, and I look forward to continuing to delight in beautiful, simple things I may learn each day.

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Daniel J. Boorstin
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~ by Amanda on 19 May 2010.

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