Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Extended Thinking or Metacognition?

“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 hearing and reading your peer's reactions during Thursday's class about the listed quotation, what new insight can you add to this quotation analysis? Please respond.

25 comments:

Kate Z said...

I personally agree with this quote, most people go through the motions without giving the world a second glance. The key purpose of this passage is to show people we have stopped thinking. Yeah sure, generations and generations of kids have spent years sitting at desks and staring at books, and future generations will do the same. However, do we do it for the knowledge, or for the red letter marked on our paper? We as humans have stopped truly thinking about our world’s mysteries. The average person has put their ‘awe’ of life on the back burner, and leaving it for scientists. Only children who have the fresh eyes and inspiration to our world ask questions, which we roll our eyes to and sigh that there are more important things to do than answer their silly questions (“why is the sky blue?”). Mythology is the heart of these colorful questions, which we first see our species creativity and yearn for answers. Today we would scoff at the poor person who answers the unknown with a Cyclopes, a supreme being who eats his children, or a magical box when opened releases evil. We would run to our old holy textbooks, which might possibly hold a future answer in the name of science. But would we consider their question that has not been discovered? The Greeks were constantly questioning themselves and their environment. When did we stop doing the same?

maddieh said...

I agree with what Kate said about mythology answering the questions that we simply can't understand. At the time that the ancient Greeks were writing myths, they had absolutely no understanding of how things did what they did. They just knew that that was how things worked. So they invented stories to try to put incomprehensible things into terms they found understandable. It was far less of a stretch to say a guy rode across the sky in a chariot at dawn then believe that the earth turned around a giant star everyday. Plus, they were able to put human inventions and ideas into the myths they wrote, making them even more relateable. When you think about how little the ancient Greeks knew about the world, it makes you curious as to why we have lost our sense of wonder, when there can be so much that we still don't know.

nobob said...
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Brandon S. said...

I believe that human beings do question the unknown, like for example are we alone?, or why do we act the way we do? Unfortunately, we rarely try to think deeper into our questions, unlike Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. These people used each others thoughts and built off one another’s to build a strong point. Us as humans have to learn from one another, but when future generations soon revolves around TV, drama, and living in personal bubbles, we may not be able to learn as fast as we should. The purpose of this passage is easily pointing to the fact that people aren’t questioning many things because they already know enough, because of science and to much focus on their perception of reality instead of humanity as a whole.

AshleyF said...

Actually, I very much disagree with the quotation. I know there are millions of people who couldn't care less about the nature of the world, but for me, I have no trouble finding people to talk about the ways of the universe with. Sure, there are so many reasons why our generation doesn't need to wonder becauese so much is already explained. But there is still so much to think about. I think there is still so much to be in awe about. I think it is even more interesting to think about because scientists have discovered a lot, but still not everything. There is still mysteries that mat NEVER be uncovered. And that is what makes the world so facsinating. Even the Greeks had a long explanation about the ways of the world, but I'm sure there was still question. There are still topics today that science says to be true, but people believe the opposite. We live in a world where there really is no true right or wrong, it's all about perspective. If you want the world to amaze you, it will.

TannerT said...

I am with Ashley on this topic as well. Mr. Hawkins is under the assumption that all people are the same and I take that almost as an insult. I'm not critiquing the mans intelligence, I am just saying that it is bold to make such and assumption. I can talk about this topic and many similar to it freely and just because it isn't apart of everyone's everyday life doesn't mean that these questions are never asked. Yes, maybe people have lost some of their "spark" so to say, but that isn't true for all people because I no that I personally like to ask the bigger deeper questions and even if they can't be answered at least it has given people something to think about.

Emily B said...

I personally think it matters to the person, I think about stuff not many people think about, so this quote could pertain to different people. We might have stopped thinking about atoms or gravity or digging deeper into our thoughts but I don't we've totally turned off our brain. During school, I learn so much about the universe, so it is explained to us. I think the question should be more... Do we listen? As much as people may or may not think about how nature, or life as it is, maybe we just haven't listened to what we're being taught. Also it is your personal choice, if you want to learn or listen, as much as we wonder we cannot find an answer without asking.

Savannah said...

I agree to the quote. Most people will go around their daily lives, taking the Earth they walk on for granted. We just always assume that we will always have the things that surround us. We seem to never question how things came to be; like nature, the earth itself, mankind, even the universe. We all just ignore everything that we have to keep us safe, to keep us grounded. Such as, gravity. If not for gravity, we would all be floating in space. We seem to take that strongly for granted. But, mythology is the core of where we get these questions. Every question we ask about how things came to be, everything links back to ancient Greek mythology.

valgavi23 said...
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valgavi23 said...

Valentina Gatica
I agree with this quote, I believe some people go through life without actually thinking how everything came to be. We as people have stopped to think of what everything really is, how everything was created, and how we are even here. We take the earth for granted. Although questions such as these are asked less often I don't believe people have completely stopped asking such questions. Whether it's that we don't want to share or we simply don't listen to was is being taught. All these question have been asked for centuries all the way back to ancient greek mythology, I just believe that they asked more questions.

brookem2012 said...
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brookem2012 said...

I agree with parts of this quote, but at the same time I disagree it. I think that most people have stopped questioning the world and why things are the way they are. But there are also others that question everything about everything and want to find an answer because they are not entirely satisfied with the explanations that have been already provided. The people who don't question the world are the ones that accept what others say. I think that these people are completely justified because there are answers that they are told and are presented in a way that sound completely possible, depending on the person and their beliefs. It is incredibly easy to find answers because there are people who look for explanations and explore possibilities for their job: scientists, the ones that want new answers.

MasonR said...

I agree with this quote, we as humans can be rather narrow minded, we dont really care about the things that we take for granted until the break. Without these luxuries though people seem to take more time to think about deeper questions rather than what did so and so say on facebook. I think this is why the greeks made such a great mythos behind thier creation. They had to live off the land thereby making them think about why plants grew, why it rained and so forth.

KaitlynF said...

Along with Tanner and Ashley I agree that Hawking is making the assumption that all humans are the same and we do not care. I think that there are people in this world that really could careless about being insightful and have stopped thinking. I think that a lot of that has to do with our generation today and the capabilities we have to find answers. But I also think that there are still people out there today that question the universe. I do not think that we question as much as the Greeks did but we still question some. Our questioning relates back to the Greek Myths and how our world took shape based on what they would say.

Marley B said...

I think Katie is spot on! I think as a society we have become accustom to just going through the motions of life rather than actually living it. Carl Sagan says, "few of us spend much time wondering why nature is the way it is;" We have become comfortable with just accepting things as they are. What happened to questioning, looking for a deeper understanding or testing others theories? Just like Katie said, "We as humans have stopped truly thinking about our world’s mysteries."
We are being lazy. The pure laziness of our culture is causing us to mold into a society of followers. Who really wants to be known as a follower? Gorge Washington, John Hancock and Rosa Parks all are great examples of leaders in our history as a country. What would they say if they looked at our generation as a whole, right now, today?
Our eagerness to find reason, and think for ourselves is depleting. Our mythology is withering away with each generation. Mythology is a "dying breed." The Greeks are known for their mythology, and constant thinking and questioning. Many parts our culture are based off of the Greeks. They set a great example of free thought, why are we choosing to stop their legacy?

ethan l said...

I agree with this quote but I also think that it's not completely necessary that all people know these things. We function just fine not questioning or knowing exactly how things work. I would say that the majority of the population, at least to an extent, understands how life is possible on Earth. I'm not saying that there are none, but there are probably only very few people that loose sleep over this kind of stuff. In my opinion I would say that it's better to just live life and enjoy your time here rather then spend all of your free time trying to find an explanation for everything. So I think that in the end it's probably not going to matter weather or not you knew why there was gravity or why the sky is blue, I think what is going to matter most is if you made the most of your life.

Erica Guedeney said...

I agree with Brandon S. In Carl Sagan's quote I strongly agree with one thing. "Except for children (who don’t know enough not to ask the important questions)" I feel that children ask the best questions. Kids know they do not have as much knowledge as their teachers, they ask more questions than we do because of this. Adults don't ask vary many questions. They stop asking them selfs "Who are we?" When I was a little I remember always asking myself "where do we come from?" And I, still to this day, am amazed at life. How we are able to speak, see, move, and problem solve. Kids have infinite possibility's to questions. Some a little out there, but they all make sense one way or another. Just like Greek Mythology, it seems out there but when you analyze it- it makes perfect sense.

Dennis B said...

I think that if more people took the time to try to understand how gravity and sunlight work they would find that it's more interesting than they thought and more people would go into careers that focus on those subjects and there would be more people working to advance science and humanities understanding of the universe.

GDFrunz@gmail.com said...

I understand what this author is saying but I believe its hard to marvel at every aspect of the organic bio sphere we are surrounded by. There is a lot we over look and only a little we look over but sometimes I feel like that is the beauty and bliss of life. Acknowledging our surroundings and trying to fathom the "bigger picture". Its not only nature though. Its our entire lives, look at any form of craft and art and skill and you will find the details of our everyday materials are far deeper then we consider. Sometimes I wander if people would notice if the very fabric of reality was slipping out from under them. Then again we would never know but its the little things that keep us ticking.

andyt said...

Yes, I do agree with this quote, i think that everyone walks the earth taking everything for granted. Everybody assumes that everything they have on a day to day basis is always there for them. Personally, I have never had questions about how earth and all of its' creatures came to be. I beliebe that people do not question the earth because the earth was there when we came ot earth. People are educated on the universe; but i don't believe that we ask enought questions about how we came to be. Everyone takes everything for granted; such as the sun, fossil fuels, and the universe in its whole being. But mythology can be a way that we get questions about the universe. Mythology is everywhere we look, as the video we watched in calss said, everything is a new picture with old myothological images burning through. Mythology gives people a way to explain life.

wildernessexploror121 said...

I think that we dont ask these important questions because we figure someone else is asking them. we dont want to take time from our very important lives to ponder these mysteries that seem to be of so little importance.

Joe the NINJA said...

The fact of the matter is that many people do not think about the things that they canselves not explain. When you are looking at somthing as small as an atom or as far as the sun, everything that goes on in these systems are somthing Few people care enough about somthing that they feel does not directly affect them to go find the answers that are waiting for them in today's sociaty. And in the ancient greek sociaty they thought about these things but when some one came up with a story to explain to, the greeks just accepted it, simmilar to the way people just accept the infromation that they are givin today.

anna-marieb said...

I agree with the quote many people don’t give much thought to why the Earth is the way it is. There are some people though who do think about where the cosmos or Earth comes from. The subject brings up different views and can cause huge debates. They don’t give much thought to why nature is the way it is though. When it comes to thinking about how nature, Earth and the cosmos came to be some people are freighted about what they may learn.

gabe0721 said...
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gabe0721 said...

Gabriel Harmon

I think this is true for years people have questioned everything sence the begenning of time. Slowly we think about myths and think they are true but later we prove it is wrong. People to day dont really think about it to much anymore. When i think about this question i think i have asked this question myself. most answers i have gotten is that god wants us to enjoy the world he has created for us. I believe in god and its because god gives me hope and i do believe that he gives me strength and helps me spirtually. But i think there more to it that is just way beyond for us to know. Im the kind of person that thinks everything happens for a reason if its a situation that you cant controll. But i think it is good that people ask questions and try to find out why, but theres times where you just cant find all the answers.