Friday, August 15, 2008

Extended Thinking

“We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world. We give little thought to the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible, to the gravity that glues us to an Earth that would otherwise send us spinning off into space, or to the atoms of which we are made and on whose stability we fundamentally depend. Except for children (who don’t know enough not to ask the important questions), few of us spend much time wondering why nature is the way it is; where the cosmos came from, or whether it is always here; if time will one day flow backward and effects precede causes; or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know.”
-Carl Sagan From an introduction to A Brief History of Time By Stephen Hawking

After reading your peer's writing responses during Tuesday's class about the listed quotation, what new insight can you add to this quotation analysis? Please respond.

28 comments:

Hannah G. said...

There are always going to be limits to human knowledge...And knowing that, it makes the world so much bigger than it already is. We as humans get caught up in our everyday lives, in our everyday routine. It's hard to even look beyond your own life somtimes. There are arguments about where humans came from and we are always trying to find who we are; somtimes as individuals, and other times as a whole. The human race is always testing their abilities through both knowledge and strength. But, again, looking beyond our life, our complexities, we begin to find our simplicities. There is so much more to this world than we can even begin to comprehend.

J Benda said...

I think that there are no limits in life. We prove that everyday while us as a society are making new inventions and finding new discoveries. Having a naive child mindset is a good thing to have until it's time to grow up. Having that mindset will prevent a person from achieving all that they can. Although it would allow for a possibly more peaceful society, it would completely eliminate the need for compitition which is what this society is solely based off of. Compitition is what drives people to doing bigger and better things.

sarahk said...

I agree that we understand almost nothing of the world we live in. Not many people spend time thinking or understanding the world around us and not many people understand why or how we exist. I would say children definately spend more time questioning or trying to figure out the world, they are more curious. I doubt there is a limit to what humans can know, but not many of us have spent the time trying to figure it all out.

Miles M said...

This statement is very true, it's like where a small spec on the world and that no one actually sees the big picture going on, we want too much too fast. The children he says are the only innocent people left in this world and that everyone has done some wrong in their life. Eventually, time will flow back and eventually we will devolve, and the machine will take over.

MollyT177 said...

I still believe that as we grow older we lose touch with nature. Being a child the questions and curiosity never stop, but at the same time there is still the ability the enjoy and stay close and tied with nature. As we grow older we stop enjoying and just annilize. Try to gath the facts, and simply inspect. What happened to the time when we let things just be?

N Turner said...

This statment is very true. Their is so much knowledge that this world offers to us that mankind only has just scratched the surface. As society ages, man gets tangled up in the husstle of life, we take all of our belongings for granted. The only people who stop to think about how things are the way they are, are the children. The Things we take granted for today were once the imagination of a child. "we know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of school children. the real nature of things we shall never know." Albert Einstine.

willf said...

I believe we should spend more time trying to finde out about the cosmos than of what is in our immediate area. There is more we can discover out there than we can just on this one planet. I think the cosmos had to be created from something but that something is not neccesarily one thing. It is in fact in all things it it what makes us go fitting all life togther. Maybe that is what some people would call god i dont neccesarily view it/him/whatever as a person but more as an energy more as everything, the cosmos.

Bluemeanie45 said...

I definatly agree with the whole quotation because I belive that humans know more about the world than they should. Thus losing touch with nature and becoming completely materialistic. The worlds resources will not last forever, no matter how nieve we are.

Evan Salvador

Margaux L said...

I also agree with some and disagree with others. I think that in a way we know more than we should and have lost being in touch with nature and the things it brings but then again why shouldn't we strive to find out more and find out where we are originally from. I believe that there are limits to human knowledge but we should learn the most we can. I think we just get so caught up in our materialistic world that we forget the simple things we have been given.

C.Warwick said...

Questions are a lost art, known only to childeren who grow out of it. Truly we are smarter as childeren, for it takes a person of extreme intelligence to question everything, and expect an answer. However, we grow out of that stage and lose that special gift of question that could change the world; truly speaking if one raised a child to believe completely in something supernatural, such as levitation, then the child will most likely be able to defy gravity in some way. Such strong belief in the world around them is what makes a child intelectual, and to think we call this gift innocence and label these wonderous young creatures with, "You're not old enough to understand". Everything seems natural to a child because they have not experienced enough to "know" what we "can and cannot do". There is no limit to what can happen anywhere at any time, it is all in our "experience" where we learn and drill into our heads the impossible.

Childeren know nothing of "impossible". Shouldn't it stay that way for everyone?

ccoates3571 said...

I think that the human race can achieve anything, and we can figure out whatever we put our mind to. Yes we might go about our days understanding almost nothing about the world, but every day we figure out one or many things that we did not know the day before. We can only take life one day at a time so why rush to figure everything out now. I think that the human race should be wondering about nature and how it works. It’s not necessary for us to know everything. All we need to know it that gravity is what keeps us here and the sun gives us light.

C.Warwick said...

"It’s not necessary for us to know everything. All we need to know it that gravity is what keeps us here and the sun gives us light." is what you wrote.

Do we really need to know that we are suspended by an unseen force, or that the sun will always provide light? How would society change if we did not know these things? What if we had no limitations--no knowledge of either of these? The human mind is incredible and adaptable. Let me give an example:

If we did not know gravity existed, if we did not know for sure that what went up must come down, wouldn't it make sense to us to be able to jump up...and not come down at all? What effect would this have on our psyche?

And light? If we did not know the sun would come up every day, would our bodies adapt and evolve to provide our own light?

Collin M. said...

It is true we know almost nothing about the world around and it is a wonder that the ones that are wise enough to ask are the same who have the smallest amount of experience. Our very existence depends on objects and ideas that we cannot even fathom. Mythology is the one way people can make sense of these things whether they are accurate or not. Through mythology the unfathomable becomes material and truth to the "educated" masses.

Kyle M. said...

I agree that there will be limits to human knowledge but those limits will continue to grow with our expanding knowledge. I think that the only time that we slow progress and our persuit for the greater is when we refuse to imagine what the future holds. Compared to universe we humans live such short lives its crazy. We need to start thinking 50 years ahead instead of 10.

Lynch G said...

I agree with hannah g. I belive that there will always be something that stumps mankind, and because of that it is hard to look outside of your daily life because we do not like to think about the greater questions we just care about what we are having for dinner tonight, dramma, "homefun", ect..

P_lanning69 said...

The human race will always have problems to solve; methods to write over and over again until we think they sound write. Here's my opinion: As long as humanity has its problems it will have explanations that some people will like and some won't. Religion for example was created to explain certain archetypes like death, life, fire, water, and humanity. Overall i think that there is no limit to humanity and that our explanations will keep getting bigger and stronger.

JDavis said...

I think that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It means that we are living in the moment and enjoying life instead of thinking about things that we probably don't have the technology to discover yet. However i feel people do think about these things on a personal level. Whether it's about gravity or the limits of human intelligence.

AlyEEE said...

I believe that most people are more consumed with what is going on in their lives rather than trying to worry about what is going on in the entire universe. To try to move past the limits of what your mind can handle would cause headaches beyond belief that I'm sure NO ONE is looking for. The human mind is simple yet complex at the same time but only to what our knowledge can slowly comprehend. Trying to take in what is more than our thoughts can handle would be way too much. Children don't ask these questions because as far as they are concerned, the most that revolves around the world is boys have cooties and girls like dolls. Plain and simple. As we grow up, we still have that child set mind to the degree of that we only have to think about our simple lives, not whatever is outside that. Plain and simple, the universe is too much for us to handle all at one time.

Emma Grace said...

We are so preoccupied by life and its many twists and turns to think about it's origins. We also understand that time is constant and ever present, but do not take the time to think about why this is so. Humans, as a species, are curious, it is a curse to be sure, and are deeply invested in death and dying and understanding the truth about everything before the latter occurs. There are many theories as to the origin of man, but it seems that religion, the part of life that is supposed to help uncloud your view of the world, has actually clouded it more than anything else in the world. It only explains a way of origin via mythological birth. It generally defines one and only one way of human domination of the earth. Science is the response to the wars between different religions, is it not? It explains things in a worldy recognized way, and so that everyone can understand it. It does not allow for higher powers, or superficial beings. It is the most baseline one can get on the creation of man.

I don't really know where I was going with this. But this is what I wrote down when we were given the quote in class. :/ seems pretty random.

MATT TODD said...

This quote is very true and i like the fact that it's true. I think that if everyone did worry about what is going on all the time then we would all just be a bunch of kids. A lot of times people don't need an explanation they just except it for how it is. In a way this is good, i don't think anybody should just wonder how or where or when but instead worry about the now and the future. You shouldn't dread on things that are here just because you don't know how it got here. You should just excpet the fact it's here. An example is like a dirt bike, i have no idea how it works and i don't care, it works so i ride it and have fun.

Andrew H said...

People can't always be asking the right questions about everything. But what we can do is ask all the right questions about one subject. Once we all have done that with many a subjects, "oh" well that would be where we are today. Knowing the basics of everything, discovering that everything is relative, and finding the harder questions.

AaronW said...

The simple processes that make up a day in the life are not as important as Sagan makes them seem. Yes, for our existence we do depend on the collisions of a billion atoms within our sun, on the photosynthesis of a trillion organisms and on many other micro systems that our lives depend on, but to constantly focus on these things, and on the limit of human knowledge, detracts from the simplistic innocence of the ignorant lives we lead.

ChrisT. said...

Agreeing with the quote, I do beleive that with the thought of boundries and restrictions, comes the existance of limits and boundries.

Without thoughts of failure limits, even boundries to not exist to there fullest potential
which offer's a chance at expanding knowledge, and motivation, strive, things that cripple boundries or limits.

forrest m. said...

I agree and disagree. Those with little interest in the functions or makings of creation, whether it's in nature or man-made, do have lack of thought in this case. People like this-which is everyone at times-basically just want everything to benefit THEM. They could care less of how it came about or how it works. There are sparks in our minds of imagination, passion or curiosity, however, that do show interest in these phenomenon.

Colin said...

That instead of thinking the world is over when you lose things like money and family. You should'nt give up on life and try to throw it away, but find a new reason to move on.

nick larson said...

The first line sets the whole theme for the quotation it states that everyone of most people never really stop and pay attention to the rest of the world. People are self centered because they never appreciate the world that we live in especially when they liter. The natural elements in this world aren’t focused on because they are here and there have never been any issues with them so there becomes no thought about the gravity or the sun. Questions are the only way of understanding and with out the ability to question we would bee a mindless race. If there were never questioning we humans would be just as smart as any other animal. But because we can question we can learn and become more aware of what is going on but at the same time we start to loss our natural instincts such as knowing when something bad is about to happen. Some times you have to just leave things unanswered because the mystery might just be to great to solve until self realization is discovered then everything will be known.

blakeh said...

It is surprising to think about how we came into existence and yet we find it hard to find time to think about it. It's strange that we know so little about our limits and our existence and yet we know so much about ourselves as humans and the massive world we live in. We seem to get so caught up in our own little/big world that we don't seem to stop and smell the flowers. It seems that the less we know about something, the more we are driven to know about it; like fearing the unknown yet trying to unveil what is hidden from plain view. There is so much to know in this world and yet there is so little that we can actually have the opportunity of getting to know.

TomB said...

this quote is a sad truth of the world. the wonder which has propelled human thinking to this age of technology and luxury has dimmed in years past. there are still those who reflect and build for a better future, but for the most part humanity stays content, uncaring about where we're going or where we came from