Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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 class about the listed quotation, what new insight can you add to this quotation analysis? Please respond. (Blog Response Due By Thurs. 1-17-13 at 2:30p.m.)

26 comments:

Spencer E said...
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Spencer E said...

It is interesting that Sagan realizes the populations disinterest with amazing things purely because they happen upon them everyday. Without gravity, we would be dead after being hurled into space. Without these subjects being brought up in conversation, they would never be spoken of and therefore taken for granted. Sagan also illuminates the fact that children do not know enough to ask the important questions which leaves the task up to adults. Children marvel at the world while adults simply pass it by. If the curiosity of the children could be combined with the knowledge of the adults, the potential learning/appreciation ability would be unlimited.

EvanP said...

I think it’s interesting that, while Western Civilization idolizes those who search for knowledge (the ancient Greeks, renaissance philosophers, etc.), often we act like we have already discovered everything we need to know. Our society is so job-oriented that we no longer learn for the sake of learning, but instead as a means to an end. Children, on the other hand, ask questions for the sole purpose of finding the answers, and thus don’t worry about whether a question is important or not. Our modern definition of “importance” is completely flipped from what Sagan says-- we want to know only what is necessary to get through the day.

Kaela F. said...

Sagan is right when he states that the world has no interest in such important things as he mentioned. For the most, this is because the modern world is constantly running, and never stops in business and working so people think they don’t have the time to stop and consider these things, or they have become so specialized in their tasks that they don’t even think consider things that have nothing to do with these things. One of the excuses modern man uses for this is that all the scientists have already considered how the important thing works, and that dwelling on it won’t change anything for anyone.

Alex F. said...

96I think it's both interesting and sad that human don't think about basic things such as gravity and sunlight. We acknowledge their importance, but usually only in a classroom setting. There is no fascination with them, our appreciation of them seems almost sterilized in the way we don't attach emotion to them anymore. I think this makes it difficult to attach emotion to anything more or less advanced than sunlight and gravity.

ClaytonR said...

I think that we as people don't appreciate things like gravity or the sunlight anymore because I think as technology gets more advanceds we stop appreciating the little things in life such as sunlight or gravity. I think if all the technology was taken away from everybody we would appreciatle the little things like nature, the stars, family, or even gravity.

logang said...

I think in this day and age we are much more worried with personal problems and material items than we are with answers and questions to all those listed. Now these days we expect a lot of things to be handed to us, I even think this transfered into our thinking. We have so many other people do our thinking for us that we dont bother to ponder all these questions ourselves.

AlexanderB2013 said...

I agree with Sagan, as most people are so preoccupied with their view of the world that thinking about if (his example) what would happen if time suddenly flowed the opposite direction. They don't care to understand how the sun keeps burning, despite the fact that we use it to stay warm, grow food, power technology, ect. Some are fine not knowing how the world works, assuming that it will be the same when they get up as it was when they went to bed. Luckily with the advent of the internet, most of human knowledge is available on any smartphone with wi-fi.

DylanP said...

It is interesting how Sagan believes most people are not interested in learning about the things we encounter everyday. Even though many of the mechanics behind things like the sun and gravity are very complex and interesting. He touches on the fact that without the curiosity of children who don't know about these seemingly simple ideas, we wouldn't know how complex the universe really is.

Jens P said...

First off, Hawking states, “We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world.” I believe this is completely true. Even though we feel that we know a ton about the world, which we do, we do not know, let alone understand, nearly all of the secrets and lessons it hides. Greeks understood very little about the world, but they did their best to give themselves explanations and an understanding of it. Thus, their myths and our study thereof came to life. Next, Hawking talks about how we don’t question the fundamentals of our world like sunlight or gravity. Yet again, the Greeks did come up with their own explanation of sunlight. They had the god Helios, whose job it was to run his chariot across the sky and have the sunlight come and go. Thirdly, we mostly talked about children asking all of the important questions and wondering about, “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.” Children ask questions but we don’t know how to answer them whereas in ancient Greece, if a question was asked, there was always a story that the elder could tell the child as an explanation. As to the question about humans having a limit on what we can know, I believe that there is no limit. We just have to combine the intuition and the curiosity of the ancient people and the technology of their time, our time, and the future. Overall, Hawking makes many good points. All of which are almost judging the new ages. Is it ironic that all of the points he made could be countered with ancient Greek cultural norms?

LivvyW said...

After reading this quote, you realize that Carl Sagan is in fact right. The human race does not acknowledge the nature around us and how it operates. I think it's great that while none of us would have said such a thing, Sagan just lays it out for us. Children don't ask the important questions, so adults can't answer them, therefore all things important about the world around us is lost and unacknowledged. But, that is just human nature.

KarynH2014 said...

After reading this quote by Sagan it makes me realize that we are all born with the capability to ask important questions. However, it seems as everyone grows up instead of thinking about the marvelous world we live in we tend to take it for granted. It shows that as we get older our egos grow to think we don't have to question the world around us. Young children don't have this problem because they can truly see the world around us and want it to be explained to them. This could also connect to mythology because mythology was meant to explain what was happening in the world around them. This just shows that the Greeks and children want to make sense of what is around them and stories/science help explain most of our world. However modern day adults feel like they know everything already and don't need to have their world explained to them.

mwood said...

I think its interesting how Sagan talked about how little we understand or question the things that make it possible for us to exist.Like the ancient Greeks, certain intellectuals have sought to find an explanation for the world around us.

EPeavler said...

I think that it's true. We don't think about the reason for our being or the reason for why we stay on the Earth. We just know we exist, and we that gravity is what keeps us grounded. As humans we don't question what we know. We don't challenge it or investigate why. We limit ourselves to the knowledge our brains can hold by not questioning and not know exactly why things happen.

E.Smith said...

I feel that as adults, we don't ask as many questions due to the fact that as we grow older and learn new things from asking questions, questions about gravity or why the sky is blue dont seem important to us anymore, we dont ask questions becasue we accept the fact that things are the way there are just because, and we loose intrest, with things such as school and everyday life, as adults we have other things that are occuping our minds, like are the bills payed? Did i finish that english paper? Where am i going to college. we dont feel the need to comprehend the things that now, seem so unimportant.
-EmilyDS

coltonn13 said...

Sagan's statement was very interesting and correct. We as adults pass by everyday not wandering where the sky,the moons, the solar system came from; we just accept is and move on. When Sagan stated that children are too young to ask the questions it made me comsider the world as seen through a child. Children are amazed and stunned by this marveloius universe that we live in. they constantly ask and wonder where all this came from. i agree with Spencer E's statement at the end of his analysis when he states, "If the curiosity of the children could be combined with the knowledge of the adults, the potential learning/appreciation ability would be unlimited". i believe this statement would be the answer and ultimate goal for every person to reach.

coltonn13 said...
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coltonn13 said...
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coltonn13 said...
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coltonn13 said...
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coltonn13 said...
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Clinton Morgan said...

Some might say that reasons for our generation not being observant and thoughtful about our surroundings is due to our increase in technology but to me I think if we look at how we got to where we are now, there is no way we weren't observing the world around us because our amazing technology wouldn't have been created unless we asked hard questions concerning the way we live. By questioning the way we live some of us might wonder what life would be like if our lives were different. I connect this quote and mythology actual to Science fiction. Some of the motifs of Science fiction are equal to myths. Out of these myths and stories, much wonderment of new worlds and new possibilities come to mind. So, the quote listed, to me, seems outdated because most of us could say its easy to understand our own world but what about the universe and life abroad.

Clinton Morgan said...

Some might say that reasons for our generation not being observant and thoughtful about our surroundings is due to our increase in technology but to me I think if we look at how we got to where we are now, there is no way we weren't observing the world around us because our amazing technology wouldn't have been created unless we asked hard questions concerning the way we live. By questioning the way we live some of us might wonder what life would be like if our lives were different. I connect this quote and mythology actual to Science fiction. Some of the motifs of Science fiction are equal to myths. Out of these myths and stories, much wonderment of new worlds and new possibilities come to mind. So, the quote listed, to me, seems outdated because most of us could say its easy to understand our own world but what about the universe and life abroad.

clintonm said...

Some might say that reasons for our generation not being observant and thoughtful about our surroundings is due to our increase in technology but to me I think if we look at how we got to where we are now, there is no way we weren't observing the world around us because our amazing technology wouldn't have been created unless we asked hard questions concerning the way we live. By questioning the way we live some of us might wonder what life would be like if our lives were different. I connect this quote and mythology actual to Science fiction. Some of the motifs of Science fiction are equal to myths. Out of these myths and stories, much wonderment of new worlds and new possibilities come to mind. So, the quote listed, to me, seems outdated because most of us could say its easy to understand our own world but what about the universe and life abroad.

Lauren D said...

Most people do not question everything around them because they are to involved with the technology around us.We have created things so that we are never "bored" or have nothing to do. When if we didn't have all of these things maybe we would wounder more about things that matter instead of stuff like Facebook. I don't believe we shouldn't use technology but that we should be productive in making advances instead.

Lauren D said...

Most people do not question everything around them because they are to involved with the technology around us.We have created things so that we are never "bored" or have nothing to do. When if we didn't have all of these things maybe we would wounder more about things that matter instead of stuff like Facebook. I don't believe we shouldn't use technology but that we should be productive in making advances instead.