How query and intellect work together to make the new.
One of the greatest drivers of lifelong learning is a fun, though difficult to analyze, human trait...
Have you ever wondered why you’re curious? Why any of us are curious? Why do we as humans have a sense of curiosity, and how is it used? Why is it there? What is the evolutionary function of curiosity? Is it an emotion?
There is so little that we know about curiosity, yet we all know it when we feel it, follow it, when we nurture it. It is a personal sensation as familiar as love, sadness, or anger. We seem to be born ready to question. Curiosity seems to be our driver, or a starter emotion anyway, for understanding how the world around us works and what our role in it is to be.
In Greek mythology, curiosity is represented by the god Κοῖος (Koios), whose name means questioning or query. He is the child of Uranus (representing sky/heaven) and Gaia (representing Earth). He was the husband of Phoibe, the goddess of bright intellect. And interestingly, Κοῖος is the father of Leto, who represents motherhood).
Think about this for a moment from the Greeks perspective: curiosity (Κοῖος) is the product of a present place and time merging with a boundless expanse. His role as the inquiring one is to partner with purified intelligence, so they may give life, spirit, and guidance to that which makes new life.
You can imagine the Greeks standing on the shore of the sea, feet firmly on the rocks, the sun setting where the sky meets the horizon over the water, as the star-filled expanse of our galaxy starts to fill in from the east. They know where they are, know nothing of what’s beyond the vastness, and trying to make sense of their place and their why.
I find it so interesting, thinking back on the ancient Greeks, that they actually bothered to not only wonder about wonder, but they were so moved by it that they wrote the instinct to question into their system of beliefs.
I’m curious why more educational programs and teachers don’t scratch this itch. Learning objectives are necessary, without a doubt. But how much more intellectual ground might children and adult learners cover if we would facilitate them to a cultural setting where their inherent curiosity could drive their learning?
You know, as I know, that very little teaching needs to be done when someone is dialed in on their curiosity. The best learning happens when they want to answer why and how things are as they are, or as they could be.
As leaders, as teachers, we need to think of how we design the learning experience to foster and nurture the curiosity in our learners, whether they are first graders or working professionals.
We need to help them become students of experience.
For a fascinating exploration on what makes us curious, check out Why? by Mario Livio.