One thing I’ve meant to do with this blog all along is exercise curiosity about what curiosity is. What do other people have to say on the topic? What does science have to say? I decided that TED talks would be a good place to start and a day or two ago watched my first talk specifically on the topic of curiosity: “The Value of Curiosity” by Emily Graslie, Chief Curiosity Correspondent for the Field Museum in Chicago. (Isn’t that an intriguing job title?)
Frankly, I had a bit of trouble following the talk, not because it was too technical but because it rambled rather. (For the record I am aware of the irony of complaining on a blog dedicated to curiosity about a talk on curiosity because it isn’t very structured or focused.)
Some interesting points came out of it though, like the phrase “Wikipedia rabbit hole” (covered yesterday) where one search leads to another until half an hour later you realize you’ve looked up ten different topics and are miles away from where you started. (You don’t need Wikipedia to do this, by the way. On summer vacation my family used to do this using a slew of reference works like the Columbia encyclopedia, nature guides, the American Heritage dictionary, abridged Oxford English dictionary, and so on.)
I was also struck by her statement on the value of following the rabbit hole: “You can’t be curious about something if you don’t know it exists.”
Tomorrow I’d like to get into what Ellen Langer wrote about the call for relevance in education. It’s related.