Play is the essence of learning and creativity. The phenomenon of censoring and thresholding – sensible when one has attained a level of expertise in a subject – gets in the way of learning in a new domain. Why children learn faster is that going into a new activity, they have no threshold. They draw and write whatever they think of, while an adult throws away ten germs of ideas before they write a single word. Sometimes, the best way to get better is by doing lots.

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Visible and Invisible Progress

This: This is something I’ve begun to feel over the past year, that the pursuit of a Ph.D./position in academia and the pursuit of knowledge are two different things. They overlap, but they’re not the same, and it makes me sad.

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1 Why curiosity is important

I: I’ve been thinking about curiosity…

T: Would you say, you’ve been curious about curiosity?

I: Lol. I’ve just listened to a TED podcast “From curiosity to discovery.”

T: Tell me about it.

I: According to them, curiosity is the most essential ingredient to scientific discovery. Children are born with curiosity, but

at a certain point, that kind of curiosity starts to disappear…
It’s almost like the more we know about the world, the limits of what’s possible start to crowd in on us.

If you look at the childhoods of great scientists, their role models were people who encouraged curiosity. Adam Savage talked about that. Feynman, for example. Adam himself too: when Adam wanted a racecar for his teddy bear, his dad spent several weeks making one from scratch, starting from no knowledge of how to make one. It was very formative to him. I’m not sure this is exactly “curiosity,” maybe more “itch to make things,” but the itch to make and to find out things are similar that I feel I can group them together.

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