Sunday, August 21, 2016

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., Aug. 25th at 2:30p.m.)

32 comments:

Liam Cox said...

Perhaps it's not that we lose interest in this kind of thing. But we ask so many questions about this stuff as a kid because we don't know. And by this point we do know about gravity and atoms and the like, and while we may not fully understand them, we just accept it as we understand it and tend not to look too much deeper into it.

NatalieS said...

With the advance technology of our modern world, there seems to be so many other material things we care about. We don't acknowledge the air we breathe or the gravity that literally holds us down because they aren't important to our daily lives. The air and gravity themselves are some of the very essential reasons we even exist today yet we don't take time to wonder or appreciate them because humanity has become so busy and caught up in their own lives. To us, there are more important things in life like jobs and family that keep us occupied, leading us away from wondering about our vast universe and the core of our existence.

CMacFarland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CarissaM said...

Based this quote, I think Carl Sagan is on to something. We are so distracted on the latest news, pop culture and even ourselves that we don’t pay attention to what allows us to live every day. If it weren’t for sunlight then we would be cold and literally left in the dark. No gravity means we would just float away and we wouldn’t even be able to survive. Atoms make up our bodies so we can run around, talk to our friends and ultimately thrive. I feel that we take this all for granted. We don’t think “Wait, what if there was no gravity? What then?” Instead, we just brush off the fact that sunlight, gravity and atoms are normal everyday things and we don’t have to worry about them not being here because they are. However, we need to constantly think of what makes us, well us. Granted, I don’t always think of these things but the quote did make me think of the things I take too much for granted being my family, friends, education, and freedom. I realize that I should be thankful for these blessings every day because they are my life. Carl Sagan’s quote made me realize that taking things for granted could make me miss some of the little things in life that make me, me. My hope is that we all learn not to take everything for granted and be thankful for the things we do have that lets us survive.

Tina H. said...

I think this quote is very accurate in saying that for the majority of the people in this world, we don’t really pay that close attention to the world around us. I know that I go through my day in motions, and this quote made me realise that I never think about how gravity glues us to the Earth, and without it, I would be off in space somewhere. We tend to think that things like what we wear to school are more important than the air that we breathe, because we never think about breathing. We just do it naturally. I also really like the way this quote points out that in a way, kids are smarter than us because they ask the questions no one thinks to ask. What would normally pass by us without us noticing because they are so natural, kids want to know more about. This also made me question, what if there are limits to what a human can know. In the same way this quote made me realise that kids naturally ask more questions because they don’t just assume things, what if as we get older we actually get more blind and therefore can’t know the things kid questions us about?

emmaf407 said...

Every person on the planet depends on things that are completely out of our control. We depend on other animals and plants. We also depend on things like gravity and the sun. Even though without all of things we would die, most people don't spend any time thinking about all of these things. I encourage all of us to think like a child. Ask questions about who we are and where we came from.

Maxh said...

While I agree with Carl Sagan's point that humans don't spend much time considering the big questions, I would like to counter that we tend to focus on things that we have some power over. In terms of our day to day life, why nature is the way that it is doesn't affect us. An explanation of the physics of gravity doesn't change the fact that I have 15 math problems to do tonight. It's truly shocking, I know, that I prioritize those problems and by extension, my ability to get into college and have a career over "the important questions". In adolescence, humans develop the ability to think abstractly but in our day to day life the idea that you must work to have worth is drilled into us. It's strange to me that Sagan genuinely seems to not understand why we don't all spend time examining these astronomic open ended questions that, scientifically speaking, few people have the tools to find the answers to. Perhaps it's easy for someone like Sagan to be ignorant to such realities because he was employed at Cornell, and as an author, both of which were careers where he was paid to examine these questions. But few people have such liberties. While Sagan seems to think it shameful that we all don't place the utmost importance on things like the mechanics of the universe, he seemed to do little to consider the fact that his "important questions" hardly reflect that of the majority of the population. When someone is working a minimum wage job so that they can pay last month's rent, the "important question" isn't what organelles are involved in the production of glucose in food, it's whether or not they can afford to put that food on the table tonight. If someone like Einstein couldn't afford to attend college, we may not have the theory of relativity. It seems to me that if there are limits to what humans can know, it isn't because we don't spend time asking "the important questions" as Sagan seems to think, but because we aren't all given equal opportunity to discover the answers.

Griffin V said...

I definitely agree with this quote by Carl Sagan. As we grow up, we tend not to look at the "how" of life. We become too focused with the realities of our everyday lives to be interested in deep questions. This is justifiable because these questions do not play a pivotal role in most aspects of our lives. However I think that questioning the fabric of our existence can give deeper meaning to ourselves and help us find our place in the universe.

Griffin V said...

@Maxh I agree with your point that the "important questions" Sagan talks about are usually not the questions most people are concerned about. I would argue, however, that Sagan is just trying to tell us that it is okay to ponder questions that are not always answerable; I don't think he is trying to shame people for having less intellectual concerns. He is encouraging us to retain some of our childhood curiosity and to still question things we don't understand. We don't need to devote our lives to theoretical physics like he has, but we can still ponder how everything is the way it is.

Griffin V said...

@Liam Cox That is definitely true. Many things we didn't understand as a kid are common knowledge to us now. I think we can still go further than the facts that we are just told however, and question the most basic things in life.

SeanS said...

This comment says a lot of metacognition and how we take lots of things for granted, and don't take a second to realize everything thats happening in the world, or what isn't happening. When you lie down, and you put everything into perspective, you're just a thing, a singular human being. When i crouch down and look at ants or little bugs on the ground, sometimes I imagine that being us. What if something bigger is always, constantly watching over us? Its both creepy, but it also brings a sense of security sometimes. It all just depends on how you see it.

David Tschumper said...

I have to completely agree, “we go around not really knowing all there is to know about our world.” We often take the universe for granted, we should stop every now and then and take in the beauty of what the world has to offer. Often times in our busy lives we forget just how beautiful nature and life really are. There is a whole lot more that we should explore as humans, because there is so much more that our race can be exposed to. For example our space program should continue to do what it does, in order to expand our horizons. With the space program we can learn so many things about other planets. If we truly stopped, thought things through and looked around there is so much more to learn.

Bailey B said...

I think that it’s part of our human nature to accept the way the world is, and to accept how the day presents itself. Which is part of the reason that we don’t tend to think about those details on a daily basis. At the same time, we all have this underlying curiosity about the world. I think a lot of us just take it for granted that the sun rises each day, and we have air to breathe. I also think, for the most part that the older we get the more we tend to take for granted, because as kids we didn’t have a wide knowledge about how the world works, therefore we didn’t know what to take for granted.

TaylorJ902 said...

I think people question the world a lot but they never make people aware of what they are thinking because no one thinks they can make a big change in the world. We go through life thinking out schools will teach us all we need to know about the world when in reality they barely dive into what the world is really about. As most of us should know, NASA stopped getting funds by the government. So how is anything supposed to learn about whats out there besides us?

Caleb Wilson said...

I feel that the reason why humans don't ask these questions anymore is because we may not want to know the truth because the truth scares us. We just have to accept that we can't learn everything there is to know about the universe and if we did try to learn everything about the universe we may uncover some things that could completely change the way we think and what we believe in and that is what scares us.

Shockgamespvp said...

Interesting way of thinking about it.

GeorgiaS said...

I think that people wonder how the world works, but they have their own reasoning behind it. Like religion or beliefs. Or maybe they are content to not think about it or leave it to science. All in all I agree with the quote.

Hunter G said...

People are not really aware of there surroundings any more and are staring to stop asking important questions or just don't care enough to the hear answers to some of lifes biggest questions because they are to preoccupied with other things like work or technology.

JamesA said...

I agree with the quote some what but I think it's because some people are dialed in on their own lives. I think most people do know where it comes and the ideas but they just have things going on in their own lives that it doesn't really come to mind. School, work, family, friends, and hobbies. Some people don't even have the time to think about it and some people might not even care that much. And in the future I don't really think that there is going to be a day when humans have "ultimate limits" to what they can know and what they don't know. I really don't think that's going to change anytime soon. In fact I don't think there will ever be a limit on what humans can learn know and or what they don't know. The human mind is endless, there will never be a day where the brain runs out of memories.

Ben Timmons said...

The more I think about it the more I realize that humans have no true power over nature, and that is a scary thought. I think that's why we as humans don't think about it too much. Even though I don't think there is a limit to what humans can know, where should we stop trying to learn and understand more? Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Eli V. said...

The quote talks about how humans are truly insignificant in this expanse known as the universe. Even it we managed to destroy our entire solar system it would overall have no effect on the vastness of the universe. So much space that is incomprehensible and the brightest minds are still just beginning to uncover its secrets. Space is a frontier that humans will likely never be able to fully comprehend or conquer. Our brains have limits and I believe there is no way we can ever fully comprehend the vastness of space but the mysteries it holds. Things such as black holes are mysteries that we will likely not come close to unlocking for decades to come. Space is vast and people have different ways of looking at it. To the ancient Greeks the only way something like this could have been created was by a higher power. Gods and Goddesses were the explanation to something so vast that left them in wonder and disbelief.

BenB-O said...


We as humans don't focus on things such as gravity or the sun because they don't affect us in our everyday life, things such as sports and friends which compared to the universe is trivial but they directly affect us. Which perhaps is why the greeks attributed trivial things tot gods to make issues seem more important.

Gage G said...

This quote means that people need to put their life on pause and check out and question the world around them. We get so wrapped up in our personal lives and don't appreciate what beauty and calm world around us. No one questions anything anymore and it leaves us stuck with only knowing what we know. If we don't wonder and think beyond then we have no growth.

Anthony B said...

I think that this quote means that when we get in to a routine in our daily lives that sometimes its very hard to break and we don't stop and appreciate whats gong on around us. I think that the quote is basically yelling us to stop and smell the roses because we dont know how long those roses are gonna be there. We as people tend not to focus on the normal things that happen every day that we take advantage of and we lose appreciation for these things.

ArianaC2019 said...

I think this quote shows how ignorance is bliss to some people. Sometimes to some people thinking about gravity and matter can be perplexing and scary. We kind of go around day by day not really thinking about what we're doing. We just accept gravity as gravity, we accept the sky as blue and the trees as green. We don't really ask many questions about daily life. This quote is kind of saying how we accept what is told to us with out question.

Roberto2017 said...

"We give little thought to the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible," This quote stuck with me because I believe we all take too much stuff for granted but it also depends on your perspective. For some people, they take gravity and sunlight for granted, others take having running water for granted. Some people have more than others so they have a different perspective.

SergioO891 said...

I believe that the things and words that people surround themselves with tells a lot about them. To hear and to listen and to observe the responses of my peers, much was available to learn from them as well as about them. This is one such thing that seems to be unnoticed in today's world. People are all around us and to take them them for granted is to make a foolish choice. Though they are an everyday part of life, the value of interaction with others never fades. To never question people and the impact they make is an even graver mistake. We generate most of the world, and to act in the fashion described above would remove some of the potential we posses.

Justinb377 said...

Our minds have prioritized other things above thinking about the simple physics and mechanics of the world and redirect our thought toward things like what we are doing this weekend. As children we wonder about these things and when we ask the question, the answer we get is normally "just because that's how it is". Unfortunately as we age we lose this sense of wonder. Whether it be from school or growing up we lose these thoughts until we know enough to think about it on our own.

DiegoR. said...

It's interesting to see how we have been raised to be people who question, yet we reach a point in our lives where we are told to stop. They comes a point where they tell us that we simply have to accepted what there is and that, that is the only way it can be. Why? Have we become these people who are now told to no longer curious to no longer question. Can we ever recover from this,can we one day find ourselves to be people who are allowed to think and wonder and explore. Or are we going to become these people of no emotion and no sense of feeling?

London Kolman said...

We ask questions to understand, but when you talk to a 3 year old, they ask questions to converse. Their conversation isn't exactly mindful, they aren't really apprehending that information, they just don't want to be alone. I have found that as we grow older, we grow into this state of asking questions, not to understand, but to bond with someone, and I think that is a problem. Nowadays, our "machines" are barely working because we aren't being challenged, we just want to pass time. I think that also correlates to why there are so many gods and stories for each one, it's all a bonding experience, not necessarily a thinking/ learning process.

EmilyNicole said...

Our generation doesn't stop and take time to ask questions. We focus more on material things. If you talk to a 3 year old they ask so many questions because they are trying to understand the world around them. As we grow older we stop questioning the world around us and we just except that things happen. We lose our curiosity.

micah m said...

the world is a big place and can even seem like it is getting bigger because the technology we are developing. we have cars for travel, phones for communication, internet for study and research purposes. But there is always so much going on at once and so much we can know, sometimes it is to much to pay attention to and grab a hold of. so many countries, cities, and states. many people with many ideas, all good and bad ones. everyone may think that we think alike but ones mind can be greater than another. you could even be the smartest person in the world and there would always be something new to learn.

micah m.