Thursday, August 14, 2014

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. 

28 comments:

LexiC2017 said...


After reading an introduction to A Brief History of Time, By Stephen Hawking, I had a few thoughts. Hawking starts off his paragraph with an idea. He says “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.” I think why we “ go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world.” is because the world is not relevant to us. For example, gravity keeps us on this Earth, therefore, we do not need to care about it anymore. We are safe, we are comfortable, we are not “spinning off into space.” If gravity ever does decide to turn off, then it would become the peoples’ issue, but for now we do not pay attention to it because it does not need paying attention to. Hawking then goes on to discuss the importance of children. “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;” I disagree with the idea that children do not know enough to ask important questions. I believe that children know plenty, they are like sponges that soak up information, and it is the more mature person who is at fault. When a child reaches out and ask about an idea, it is common for the parent or teacher to not understand the kid’s question or not know the answer. Then, unwilling to press the child, only to recieve vague comments, will give the child an incorrect answer. This leads to a cycle that will most likely continue unless adults begin understanding the universe. One idea that came to mind while reading A Brief History of Time was the idea that I do not understand many things. I think this is because what I do try to understand, often times is too difficult or challenging, and I proceed to quit on learning the details. I just do not care enough to try and understand. This makes me disappointed in myself and my generation, because I’m sure that others feel the exact same about atoms, gravity, etc. I think that schools and teachers should have a more direct focus at teaching these kinds of fundamental ideas. They are what make up the Earth, and people should try and understand them. This way, we can appreciate the Earth more and be able to choose appropriate reactions to our concerns.

BethL2017 said...

After reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, I instantly agreed with it. Many of us, too many of us in my opinion, become afraid to ask questions the older we get. I think that the older we get we have more going on and more to think about, and thinking about how the world is the way it is just isn't as important in our minds. But when I read this quote, it reminds me how important asking questions like that can be, and how different the world would be today if people hadn't asked such questions. We would not even have the opportunity to go about our daily lives understanding nothing about the world, because there would be nothing to understand! I believe that young children have a clear vision of the world around them, allowing them to ask these questions. Older people today have to focus on work, school, bills, tests and many other things, which is all they start to see in the world. For a child however, their minds are free from stress and worries allowing them to think about why things happen. One part that really stuck out to me was the comment on if there are limits to what a human can know. Just thinking about this seems a little crazy, but not many people would even think to ask this question, much less put it to the test, but if you asked a child, they would instantly jump at the opportunity to see how much information they could learn in a day. I feel our generation is at a very big disadvantage because of all the technology we have today. Instead of asking questions ourselves and finding things out for ourselves we are able to look them up, and find the information within second, and this has disabled us to be able to ask these important questions. When I read this quote, it makes me reflect on myself, and how I should take every opportunity to ask questions and discover things on my own.

RenaeS807 said...
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RenaeS807 said...

After reading “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking I thought nearly every word stated was accurate. Stephen Hawking states, “We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world.” This opening sentence is correct regarding my daily life. Most days I do not think about the world and the people and objects in the world. Along with myself many people go along with life and accept things for the way they are. These things around us are common and there is nothing we can do about them, so we are aware of their being and then move on with our lives. I am sure there are many people in the world who are curious about these questions that most of us do not pay attention to. Stephen Hawking says children are the only people to ask these questions, which is both true and false. Children are not the only people to ask these types of questions. I disagree with Mr. Hawking when he states this. Many other people ask these same questions, and some people even study the answers to them. Perhaps the reason why children are more inclined to ask these questions is because they are curios, and don’t have many other things to focus on. They are not as busy as older people, so they have more time in the day to think about these things and ponder on these questions. I myself have wondered about certain things in this world, but most times it is too complicated for me to continue to research the answers. Another part of the text that stood out to me was the part when Stephen Hawking describes that humans can never have limits to what they know. This is bizarre for me to think about because there is so much information in the world and it seems like too much to comprehend. I believe we do not need to know everything in this world. That would be overwhelming with that amount of information. It is necessary to understand some things in this world, and most of it is common sense. Overall this passage makes me think hard about life and what life is really about, and how we came to be. This passage makes me want to stop for a moment and enjoy the world around me and appreciate the world and the way we live our lives each day.

AmbroseM16 said...

After reading an introduction to A Brief History of Time, By Stephen Hawking, I completely understand what they are trying to say about how we don't ask questions about what we don't understand. We have just learned to accept the facts we are told and to live by them. But when we were younger it was always, "What does that do?, How Does that work?, Why is it like that?" And we were always interested in it and wanted to know more.Then as we grew older we became less and less inclined to ask these questions, you could say we were being trained to just accept what we are told and to not question the facts.

ThaiN said...

After reading an introduction to A Brief History of Time, by Stephan Hawking,I completely agree with his passage by Carl Sagan. The passage starts with "We go about our lives understanding almost nothing of the world". The average American doesn't regularly think about why we are here or what put us here and for what reason? We as Americans normally go on just thinking about what is going to happen next or even some of us hold on to the past. Carl also states, "Few of us wonder why nature is the way it is...or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know." What I take out of this phrase is that we could go our whole lives with no actual sense of wonder of why we are here. Just blatant acceptance of being. That only some of humanity actually cares of why or who we really are and where we fit in the universe. Some believe we are still the center of the universe while others, not many, believe we are just a spec of sand drifting through the vast cosmic ocean. I don't want to focus on the children part of the passage because he specifically explains they have yet learned what to think about all of this. The real thinkers are the educated. Even the partially educated. The parts of humanity that have a brief understanding of what questions have haunted us for millions of years. Whether it be present day humans or past humans who made myths to explain their understanding of the universe. They could have gone their lives not caring about why we walk on land or where the shiny dots in the sky came from. They didn't. They thought about existence. Created beliefs by thoughts on why and where things were. Not for many years later did we think about Earth.Our modern day Gaea. Until our understanding that we are just part of a celestial body drifting through space. Like Carl wondered we also wonder, "Where the Cosmos came from, or whether it is always here". We can keep advancing into the future but we all must accept that our modern day knowledge of why we are really here came from the questions and beliefs of those who thought before us.

AlissaB2016 said...

​A Brief History of Time, By Stephen Hawking suggested that humans spend little time questioning, wondering, and exploring the way the word functions around them. While this may be true, by knowing all the functions of the universe we lose a our desire to creatively think. When the mind becomes so consumed with a knowledgeable explanation of what makes life explainable, there is no room left for the mind to generate an explanation of life that is more creatively driven. The Greeks had a way of creating stories and using them to explain things in a way that they could completely relate to; these stories were so remarkable that humanity still has interest in studying them today. Science opens a new door to truth and educates us so vividly, but losing the freedom of free thought to science is ignorant, because everyone on earth is capable of creating their own exciting versions of reality, like the Greeks did.

Chloe Dechiro said...

After reading an introduction to A Brief History of Time, By Stephen Hawking, I had plenty of thoughts but I could not decipher what I wanted to write down. I guess I do understand that we do not ask as many questions as we should, as the saying,'there are no stupid questions', but in this case, it sometimes feel as if we are asking stupid questions.
But in the same, we always want to know more. We want to know what this means and what that is, but we're always afraid to ask, because we feel as if we are asking stupid questions. Why should we just accept the facts? Why can't we just wonder and not feel foolish every time we ask?

Sammy's Secrets said...

The Greeks, unlike today’s people, had not much knowledge of the world. The Greeks described supernatural phenomenons as they witnessed these events and used the best of their knowledge to describe what they thought were Gods and Creatures. Even though they had almost no knowledge of the world around them, they had limited words and a curiosity of what had been going on around them. Including nature and the universe.

Loreleis375 said...

While reading "A Brief History of Time" I did have some thoughts about the piece. First the idea of ignoring basic things in life. I do agree that we do that everyday. I think that our generation doesn't even see the Earth around us. We are so sucked into to our own little worlds and technology, that we are never grateful for small things. We always say "I need the new Iphone" or "I'm going to die without starbucks" or other somewhat ignorant things. Truth is we don't really need that stuff what we do need are the most important things like water, air, food. But the most crucial things are the ones we take for granted. The second idea I found was the question if humans have limits on learning. I believe that they do not. There is so much information about and in the entire world that no one could fully remember each and every fact about every topic. There is always more to know, and even if you think you have learned something you can dive deeper into it or learn it again. I do agree though that there are some things that no one will know about like Sagan said gravity, the cosmos, etc. but that is what I think life is about, the idea of living in a mystery.

Madi Strecker said...

After reading "A Brief History of Time" By Stephen Hawking I was wondering if there was anything that I could add to this quotation to help me understand it more clearly. The first thing that I think of after reading it is that the Greeks didn't have the most obvious understanding of the world they lived in. They seemed to describe what happened to them as if there were supernatural beings linked to them. They had no way of knowing that there was truly no such thing as a God or Goddess, so they decided to make tales out of what they did know. These tales represent what they were "seeing" and "encountering" when they were living their daily lives. They had no way of truly understanding where the human race came from; no one does. However, they used the materials and stories that they had heard to come up with a general idea on how we came to be. The Gods and Goddesses may be too extreme for us today, but when there was no such thing as science and experimenting when they were coming up with these explanations, this was their way of explaining it to themselves and others. Clearly, the Greek were not technically the smartest people, but they did find a way to describe how they came to be.

EthanB said...

Reading through Stephen Hawking's, "A Brief History of Time", it got me thinking that our generation does not really think about how the things we use everyday work, and I think that that is due to the people before us figuring it out. Back in the days of Greece, no one knew how anything worked, so they said that the Gods were responsible for it all. But then people explained it with science, and we no longer needed the Gods as an explanation. But because previous generations of humanity had already figured out how the things around us worked, we have no need to. It's just like saying that because someone else figured it out and knows how to do it, we do not need to. Children, however, don't know that there are already people who have figured it out, so they ask questions about how it all works because that is human nature.

JessiS2017 said...

I believe that when Stephen Hawking says that the eyes of children can see the little things in the world he means that since children have not seen most of the world before, they can appreciate the little things like how tall the grass is or why the sky is blue. They tend to ask a lot of questions. I believe that when the Greeks came up with their gods the world was still new and the Greeks still had that amazement about the world. The Greeks tried to answer the questions that they had about the universe by making their gods somewhat realistic in a way. So when Stephen Hawking talks about the children noticing more things than adults do, I think that same thing applies to how the Greeks felt in the beginning.

MeaganB204 said...

I find Steven Hawking to be absolutely correct after reading his quote from A Brief History of Time. He says “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;...” and he has a point. As young kids we constantly have the question of why? Why is the sky blue? Why did you do that? Why is that man wearing that hat? Their curiosity strives on and on through the day. However, as they get older, they lose that sense of wonder and curiosity and they stop asking questions, and lose sight as to what’s around them. Hawking says that after a while “we give little thought to the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible,” which sounds like something that we should know. I believe that once society starts taking its toll on an individual, we start to become careless as to the foundation of who we are as an individual. Our society today is nothing but go go go, everything is so timed out that we don’t have the room to ask questions as to how the sunlight makes life possible, or why the man is wearing that hat. It seems as if questions are being addressed with more annoyance and frustration because the class can’t progress into the new topic like planned; and I believe in that, our minds can’t slow down and see what’s around us let alone to form a question about how it works.

damond960 said...
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damond960 said...

After reading this, I mean we all say and think we need a certain something when we really don't. The newest technology, a certain food, etc. The teachings and incredible, the possibilities are endless. I feel like that the things in today's society are terrible, if the gravity does someday turn off than okay, with the way that we are advancing at a rapid rate, we would be ready. If time does one day flow backward that just means that the gods have had enough of what we are doing and would try and reverse it? I'm not really sure what to say. Without gravity we would float away into space, we wouldn't really do anything since we can't, we would just go with our lives and try and ignore the fact that we weren't on the ground would freak the human mind out. Humans do go along our lives not knowing anything about the world and they're clueless about most things.

AaronZ said...

After reading A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking I agree with everything he said. When he says "we give little thought to the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible..." I believe that why we give little thought to it, is because we've been around it for so long that we just take it for granted. When we're able to walk around, we think nothing of it, but there are so many things at work keeping us from just floating away. We don't freeze to death because of the sun, and we have a supply of water that can keep us alive. Hawking also talks about how "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." He is right and wrong. He is right when he says that children don't know enough not to ask the important questions. They see something and they question it. Adults think they know all of this already, and therefore don't question it. The question, "why is the sky blue?" is almost always on small children's minds. Adults just don't have enough time to try and deal with it, and they're busy thinking of more relevant things than how the world actually works. No one goes on Google to read up on how the world works because it is so irrelevant in this day in age.

CoryG2016 said...

After reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, I agreed with almost every thing he said. I agree that the older we get we don't ask questions any more because we either think it is dumb or some what childish. Also another reason why i think that would be a lot of people in this world are very shy and they don't like to talk. WE also have a lot going on and we feel like we have very little time. Think about it if we never asked questions in this world we would be a disaster never knowing what to do and our world would be a whole lot different. The difference from a kid and an adult asking questions would be that a kid needs to ask questions in there daily life to understand the world and whats going on and they have less things going on. An adult can usually solve there own question by thinking a little bit harder also they are always busy and don't have time to do a lot of things. Adults are usually full of stress to since they have to take care of there family and provide for them so the family can be stable. Another reason why we don't ask as much questions today would be all the technology that we have in this world. Technology can pretty much answer almost any question since we can just look it up on Google. I feel like technology is is separating us from the real word since we just reline on it so much in our daily lives. If technology wasn't invited we would be a lot more engaged in asking questions and we wouldn't have something that could distract us from the world. I feel like we should limit technology to some people because we us it way to much and we never find things on our own any more and that whats takes the fun of trying it yourself to see if you got it right. After I read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking I realize that we should only use technology if we really need to because some times its nice to figure things out own your own.

Lou Sugo said...

I really enjoyed this quote. I found it very interesting and it made me think about how much we could be missing. To me it seems like we are skipping the simple things, and these simple things could be the answer. We are trying to get complicated before we know the basics. Sure we can give little kids empty answers but we should be able to truly answer their pondering

Bob Mitchell said...

Peter M
After reading about thi. It makes a lot of sense. Nobody except for the wanderers and the open minded ev Dr question the forces of nature. And I myself am one of those people who just live life without questioning what makes our world. And like others have said. We don't question the things that don't impact our live positively. We only question the things that harm us, or emotionally harm us. Our generation now just accepts everything and doesn't think it's "cool" to question society.

Braedan morgan said...

After reading a brief history of time by Stephen Hawking, I completely agree with everything he said. The very first Line he states, "We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world." Those words I believe might be the entire point of the excerpt. People most days don't question the why of things. More the what. Only a select group of people have actually been able to see through the transparency of this delicate blue ball we call a planet. Each one of them forming their own questions. Albert Einstein,asked why there was gravity. Created the string theory. the why of things though is nothing without the what if. Thomas Edison, "what if we could create artificial light without the use of fire." Da'vinci, "what if there were machines that could make our lives easier." In today's consumer world the only questions people really ask are "can I afford that?" In a short summary instead of the persuit for knowledge a lot of people had a bad case of the 'F it's. Or in lack of a better term said "good enough"

Alexm2015 said...

After reading an introduction to A Brief History of Time, By Stephen Hawking, all i could think about was my childhood. Always asking questions of how things work, how things are made and what things do. As i have grown older those questions have slowed down because now i have to accept the i don't know or not being able to find an answer. Slowly but surely my mind has become less and less curious. Even if i ask these questions now a days its always, "We don't have the tools to understand this yet.

Alexm2015 said...
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MadelineK said...

After reading this quote by Carl Sagan, I realized I take advantage of so much that is around me. I don't appreciate it. I give no thought to the gravity that is holding me down. I do occationally catch myself thinking about nature and where the world came from but I don't really pay attention to the simple things. Mostly because it isn't something I need to think or worry about. Children tend to be the only ones asking questions because they have so much to learn and discover about the world. At the end of the quote, Sagan says "or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know" I really enjoy this quote because I believe there is a point where humans stop retaining information given to them. We can't know everything.

Olivia N said...

After reading A Brief History of Time I agree with what the author is saying and he does bring up good points about our society. The first sentence he says "We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world." Its true we don't know whats happening in the world the only things we know are what we are involved in. We don't know what the government is doing or whats happening at war, nothing. I think its scary to think about all the things that could be happening right this minute and we don't even know it. I feel like humans don't really care what is going on as long as they aren't negatively affected by it. Sometimes people question why certain things are happening and may not agree with something but will never do anything to change it. I think that's a big problem. If people were to ask more questions, actually put some thought into things, and not just think about themselves but everyone our world would be very different, probably more advanced and just a better place overall.

Macon said...

I like the part that states "except for children who don't know enough not to ask those questions." It reminds me of The Truman Show. One part in the movie, the director came on and said "we learn to accept the world we are given." Children always ask "why?" All the time, because they haven't learned to accept the world how it is yet. They want to know from where we came from, to where the dinosaurs came from. As we grow older, we don't really ever get a good answer so we ignore it, and replace it with beliefs or scientific conclusions.

vLohmann said...

After reading an introduction to” A Brief History of Time”, by Stephen Hawking, I believe that what Carl Sagan is saying is true, that no one ever stops and think why things the way there are. There is too few people who actually stop and think of the structure and the fundamentals of the universe. One person that really dared to test the minds of man at the time was the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates who questioned everything. Including religion and basic things like mathematics, this idea of thinking eventually caused Socrates’ downfall. That example shows that people aren’t ready to really dare and try to think beyond their normal lives. People are too busy to stop and think about the issues and questions about the world and the universe itself.

Duncan.M said...

After reading an introduction to A Brief History of Time, by Steven Hawking, I agreed with him. We don't ask very many questions as we get older. I think it is because we have asked a lot of questions as kids, and we feel that we have asked enough, or that we are to focused on the task at hand we don't have time to stop. Now people's intelligence is bases on how they do in school and how good their job is. Now that we are judged on our jobs and such, we don't take time to ask questions on what we are curious about because we fear that we might fall behind on our work.