What is this?
My friend Gus exclaimed this question once. We were excitedly discussing curiosity and the “purpose” of life. He concluded it simply: to answer that question. From the moment a human has consciousness, he is attempting to answer that question. Watch a baby. A toddler is better. The curiosity is so easy to spot!
Sadly, many people lose their curiosity. We can change that. I have a simple solution and it is simply to ask a question over and over…
What happens if…?
This question guides our life without our knowing. In social situations, we constantly test our ideas by talking. In other words, we are asking, “What happens if I say this?” If others respond nicely, then we will continue to talk about whatever it was we were talking about. This explains why kittens are all over the internet. Everyone loves kittens. However, this also explains why we avoid topics such as politics and religion because those can steer us into a heated debate.
We also use this question in personal situations, such as how much our body can withstand. Running the Bix 7 is an example. Many people see if they can beat their old time. So, they are asking, “What happens to my Bix 7 time if I train a little harder?” I set little challenges quite often, such as biking 45 miles to my Dad’s house — the farthest I’ve biked before was around 15 miles.
By asking the question repeatedly, we can get our curiosity back. And being curious is the first step to being a scientist. Great. You are a scientist. So, what do you create as a scientist?
Models – The Products of Science
Above is the model of the solar system (credit: Nassam Haramein). Scientists have continuously modified the model to better fit the collected data. We’ve gone from Earth-centered to Sun-centered, to Sun-moving models of the solar system in order for it to better reflect reality. Note the fact that it changed in order to better reflect reality.
We all have our own models of how the universe works. We begin developing our model at an early age. For example, we might conclude that rocks sink in water. Or, the closer we get to a heat source, the warmer we are. Also, we may learn to beware of strangers. But, do our models reflect reality?
Do rocks always sink? I was surprised to find a rock, which I believe is limestone, floating when I placed it in water. Not until the gaps filled with water did it sink.
Is the temperature higher every time we are closer to a heat source? Our winters occur when we are closest to the Sun — I live in the Northern Hemisphere.
Should we beware of strangers? I’m not sure on this one. I know I don’t pursue random conversations in part because of this piece of my model. Though, when I do talk to random people I have always come away alive and well.
We should spend time evaluating our models of reality. Like the model of the solar system has changed, our models will likely require changes to best reflect reality. The one good thing about being a scientists is that it is okay to be wrong as long as you correct your model!