Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Metacognition Or Just 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 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. (Blog Response Due By Thurs. 1-13-11 at 2:30p.m.)

26 comments:

Sarah M said...

I feel that this quote is too quick to judge that people are so happily ignorant. It says, "We give little thought to the machinery[...] Except for children (who don’t know enough not to ask the important questions)". Since everyone- I hope- has had years to spend as a child so many of us have already questioned elements of life that we do not comprehend. Children have the advantage to adults because most experiences are relatively new and so they pay more attention to detail. When an adult experiences something new they do not cease their childish nature of wanting to know how it works, but ask questions pertinent to the situation. I would argue that you can only spend so long wondering about the mysteries of the world before you find interest in what you can understand and influence.

Garett f. said...

I agree and disagree with this quote. Its very true that people do not understand really anything about the world that they we live on, and we dont spend enough time thinking about how we may have gotten here. But one of the reasons we do not think about those types of things is because we are not educated in them. Its hard to understand something and think deeply about it if you don't know anything about it. To understand our universe takes years of school just to understand the basics. People dont think about those things because they don't have time.

Matt L said...

I thought this quote was very interesting. I think that overtime people just come to accept the world they live in so they stop thinking about how and why everything works the way it does. I also believe that individually, everyone is different. Some might be more prone to question the universe and some might simply accept what they see and hear. It just depends on who you are.

timothyn said...

I agree that we don’t ponder enough about what makes up the universe, and why we are here. As people we take a lot of aspects of life for granted, especially people who live in a very good condition. To answer these questions, when we do ask and think, we come up with theories. Including religious ideas, excuses, and to go with this class, Myths. That’s how early people from different cultures used to explain these questions. They came up with stories to explain nature and human existence.

brandonh2011 said...

This quotation and this book i believe is trying to explain the unknown in the universe. There is so much out there and some many theory's that need to be proven to make a theory about physics to be a legitimate fact in society. Like gravity you know for a fact its there, but where is it and what gives it the power to control are mobility throughout the world. You always wonder how everything managed to turn out so perfectly, the air content, the atmosphere. ect. what force causes this perfection to occur for human life. This quotation, "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.” The knowledge of humans i feel can only go so far, you learn something true than it takes you to a whole other world of possibilities knowledge never ends especially with the ever changing universe and world for that matter. Were always going to discover new things, and if were ever scraped of Earth forever those who follow will have to relearn from whatever we left not to make same society mistakes. Learning is key in society it never ends even after the end.

Jackie N said...
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Jackie N said...

After thinking about this quote, there is some truth to it about people not giving enough thought to how we have come about onto this earth. But I think to ponder on those ideas would be dwelling on the insignificant, most of us would rather appreciate the chance to live along with the beauty that surrounds us. "We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world...", I disagree with this quote because each day we wake up and learn something new. We are currently, will be, and forever always getting educated. Logically thinking, a person may not spend hours "wondering why nature is the way it is; where the cosmos came from, or whether it is always here...", but that person may be daily influenced by such ideas. For example, art inspires a person to paint a picture or photograph an idea, and most influences come from the world that our subconscious may not be aware of. It can be argued as being the same as pondering those ideas. I believe that some of us also have a firm faith and knowledge from the Bible that teaches us about the world for those who do believe. And I think maybe a little mystery of the unknown keeps us going and alive.

Erin M said...

I think the author of this quote is trying to remind us not to lose our wonder about the universe. We get so caught up in out day to day lives that we forget to consider and marvel at the world around us. The Greeks explained where things come from, and why they are the way they are, through myth and fantastic stories. We have the ability to understand the world through history and science - but it is no less marvelous. Children instinctively ask questions and are excited about exploring. What is important is that as we get older we still take the time to think about it, and wonder about it, and marvel at it.

andy2013 said...

I think this quote is trying to proove a point that at one time in history, people (with a few excetpions) stopped trying to figure out the way things worked. Now, the only people who want to know the ways of the universe, are children. Why, I don't know, but one thing is for certian, people need to re-learn to ask questions. That is the point that the author of the quote wants people to consider.

ColtonG said...

I for one highly disagree with this quote on a personal note, but I believe if this excerpt was intended for the common people of our era, I may possibly agree. I myself have been highly interested in the origin of the universe, dimensional theory, and so forth, however I do realize that is somewhat unusual. But even still, if you look back through time, all of history has been studying the universe and the cosmos, from the Ancient Greeks, to the Mayans, and even within our modern age. NASA was formed for that exact reason. In the 1950's most of the population was highly under the impression of Alien life existing in and/or near our own world, for instance the common known event of Roswell, New Mexico where the town was legend to have found a space ship and an alien that crashed landed. In the 1960’s people like Jimi Hendrix were known for having a high belief in external life. And today the theory’s may have changed, but we find new planets with conditions that could support life. The Big Bang Theory has started to be questioned with some alternative theory’s (as well as having the evolutionism vs creationism conflict) which deals with the origin of the universe. So frankly, I must highly disagree with what has been put forth, because the world as a whole has always been looking up at the stars and asking where we came from.

M. Turley said...
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Maddie T. said...

I completely disagree with this quote, only because I know humans have a strong curiosity that is naturally set in their system. Yes, as children, we ask questions all the time, and as we grow up, it doesn't seem like they are as important. But life has merely become more complicated.

Humans are always going to want to know more, whether that is a constant yearning to know why we're here, or just the meaning of life so we can continue to pursue our own passions. Had humans not maintained this strong curiosity throughout the course of their lives, we wouldn't have "the machinery that generates the sunlight" or know about "the atoms of which we are made." Without curiosity, much of our technology would not be created, and therefore, we would lose what we had as children.

Ben Olsen said...

I actually would have to disagree on what Carl Sagan has said. Although we might give little thought to these things it is because they are something we always depnd on and trust. Everyone knows where we get our power and how we stay on the ground and some of the essentials of knowledge. We learn those through teachers, parents and so on. We learn them and it is stored away for something more to be learned. If we constantly had to think about if we would stay on the ground or not people would become very paranoid and that is the reason we tend to just trust these things will be provided.

Jackie W said...

I agree that we don't take time, as we get older, to think about how things can be the way they are, or how they got that way. I think that we subconsiously think about these things, but we never really ask about it after about first grade. We think about them when we talk about mythology though, so when we see things outside of mythology class that have to do with greek mythology we start to question, "how did this come to be the way it is?" or "are there really gods of war, love, wisdom, ect." I think if we took the time out of our day to think about these things, we would have less questions and possibly more answers.

Jameson R said...

I believe that this quote brings up a very interesting point. Personally, I rarely consider how these things have an effect on my daily life and I think that is true for most people. This doesn’t mean, however, that I am completely obliviously to how the universe functions and that I don’t ever question it. I think that this does relate well to the subject of Greek Mythology though. For ages people have wondered “Why?” and I believe that the ancient myths we read about were primarily a form of answering those questions.

BrianW said...

I would have to agree with what Carl said, because most people go through their lives not thinking about the simplest of things at times. For instance when you use a word you don’t think of how you learned it or where it came from. We think about it at times but we chose not to focus on these simple matters that don’t change how we act.

Rebekah said...

I think that because our civilization has evolved so much, that we no longer need to think about that stuff. As much as we need gravity, we dont need to constantly think about gravity for it to work. I know that I can ask good questions but we dont need to ask questions to maintain our current level of IQ.

allieb2013 said...

I think that, after a while, poeople get tired of asking so many questions. Children try to figure out everything they possibly can in a short amount of time. As they grow up, they realize that there is seemingly infinite time to find it all out later. Once at the end of their lives, they realize that they could have known so much more so much earlier. They go about their day to day lives wondering, bnut never really making an effort to find out.

Logan S. said...

I agree with this quote to an extent. People are often too distracted by whats in front of them and the problems they face (Mortgage, Debt, Just trying to survive.) that things that matter on the long term just aren't that thought about. It may be an evolutionary necessity, to keep people focusing on surviving and less on questioning. Questions like " Why does the Earth orbit the sun" mean less than " How will I keep my family fed." I would assume that even as we as a species move beyond merely surviving, it still stays ingrained on our subconscious.

David B said...

This quote is merely Carl Sagan rambling about. He expresses his beliefs to inspire others to wonder. Sure, it's fair to say, " everyone goes about their daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world." as it is true. But there is a vast amount of understanding one would need to attain in order to go about their daily life understanding most of the world, and it just simply isn't necessary. This quote includes a few examples of physics such as gravity, something I sometimes wonder about, not always but sometimes, as I'm in AP physics. And apparently, "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," and actually I can't argue with that, it is true. However we do spend some time wondering about each of these, but human nature is human nature, survival will always be the top priority in terms of cognition, so it is illogical to say we should spend much time wondering. That being said, the human race has developed remarkably and we are always learning, so ultimate limits to what humans can know are non-existant in my opinion.

GraceK said...

I think What Sagan is trying to say in this quote is people regularly dismiss the questions how? and why? We live our lives in a box and not many people can't lift their heads for one minute to appreciate their existence. I think it scares a lot of them which is why they stay in their protective bubble of what they have deemed most important and are too afraid to live not just exist.

eberger2013 said...

I agree with this quote- while there are people that ask these questions, most people simply don't have time to stop and ponder why the universe is the way it is and if it will ever change. However, if we all did stop to think about this, and pondered on it too long, it could prove to be dangerous. People would start to question the way everything is in an unhealthy manner. They would begin to wonder, "There are almost 7 billion other people out in our world alone. Why me?" They could think this whether the "Why me?" part of their question was directed at something positive or negative. This kind of attitude could eventually cause that person to become mentally unstable.

sarah said...

I agree with this quote. The are a large majority of people that do not know alot about the world that we live in. Or think about it. But that is also because we do not really understand it. Or we are not given enough information to even understand it.

lydiaG said...

I thought that this author has a good point. Most people just go through life, not questioning all the amazing things that have been here for thousands of years. The cosmos how they got to be, and how nature got to be. It does make you question and want to look back and see what or how everything got to be. I think most adults don't ask as many questions as children because they just want to survive in the present, by paying bills going to work and etc. Children have more questions maybe because they have more time and a more lively imagination.

matt p said...

I find that the person that made that comment was very quick to judge because we all ask the big questions on why things are the way they are. I wish we could know the answers but we don't. Although I do agree witht the part that said children ask the big questions. Their innocent curiosity should be what we base our biggest questions on. They could become the most simple answer ever and it was just staring us in the face waving it's arms around. Why else would we not listen to children? Because the simplest answer is not good enough for us now.

ConnorB said...

This quote from Carl Sagan actually makes me think more about intertwined and connected everything is in reation to the rest of the natural world. the world we live in is a grouping of systems, for example the oceanic currents. with out the flow of these currents the atmosphere we live in would become incrredibly unstable to the point that catasrophic storms would happen daily much like the surfacce of jupiter. just to think that all the conditions of the plant can sustain a being so complex and intricate makes me feel tiny and insignificant, yet blessed and built for greatness. the human mind is a beautiful mistake yet it has given us the ability to think for ourselves. like the saying "I think therefore i am" ust the fact that i can grasp the idea of how large and interconnected the wworld and the universe is, makes me excited to be alive.