By: Naomi Matlow
There is No Man in the Yellow Hat
Why is Curious George always getting into trouble? And why is the Man in the Yellow Hat always available to get George out of a jam? Is curiosity the same as mischief? Can Curious George be both inquisitive and not disturb everyone’s shit? The answer, likely a no. Maybe for monkeys it’s always both…but what about for humans?
Sometimes it feels like “adulthood” (whatever that fucking means) has knocked the questioning out of us. Remember when active curiosity used to be a game (or a tried and true time-waster) in and of itself? When was the last time you played “20 Questions” or “I Spy” on a long car ride? Did the questions get too big or did our worlds get too small?
The Shit Disturber Revolution
Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group, argues that in the modern school system, we are not teaching kids the tools they need to succeed in the contemporary world — with curiosity and imagination being top among those essential skills. Our schools were designed to churn out factory workers during the Industrial Revolution, not creative thinkers. For Wagner, “The average four-year-old asks a hundred questions a day. But by the time that child is 10, he or she is much more likely to be concerned with getting the right answers for school than with asking good questions.” Why? That’s a good question.
There would be no iAnything, no airplane, no toaster oven, if someone didn’t ask themselves: is there another way to do it?
Just because something has always been done a certain way, does not mean that it should, or that there isn’t a better way to do it. The little shit disturber kicking inside each and every one of us with a million questions and a gazillion things to say, deserves to be listened to. Or at the very least, heard.
Curiosity May Have Killed the Cat, But it Will Also Save It
As April Rinne writes for Quartz, “In the 21st century, we need skills to solve complex problems and address challenges that do not have one answer and cannot be distilled into mathematical equations or contained by traditional borders.” Professionally speaking, we are no longer one thing anymore. We are misfits. Or perhaps the categories we are prescribed to “fit into” haven’t evolved as fast as we are going.
Sometimes I think that growing up is the realization that you don’t know anything, and that the people you thought knew the most, are the least certain of all. That does not mean that they are not intelligent or inexperienced, in fact it’s the opposite, they are the Yodas — all they know for certain is that the truth is always in the form of a question.
It is the questions that keep us alive. From astrophysics to Penicillin, nothing would exist if no one ventured to ask “why?” or “how can this be done differently…or maybe even better?”
Fuck the quest for definitive answers. The people that argue they know how it’s done, aren’t doing it the way you think it should be done anyway, right?
Our Manifesto States:
Life’s a process; there’s no destination. And it’s the constant journey of growth and discovery that keeps us venturing on.
Don’t fear the unknown.