an ethic of curiosity

I've been thinking about the writing style of analogia and how much it spoke to me. It triggered some memories of my mom peering behind a quarterpipe at the first indoor skatepark she took me to show me how it was assembled, her eyes alight as she pointed to the ribs of plywood.

"Brilliant! But not too complicated, right? We could build one."

My mom showed me that every square inch of this world is brimming with wonderful creation. I learned from a very young age that it's all rabbit holes. Look to your right, and a little down. Whatever you're looking at could be your whole thing. I could have picked any direction. Everything and everyone around you has so much to learn about it and them. Zoom in, zoom out, look anywhere, it's all so full of that stuff.

I believe that there is an ethic implied by this kind of curiosity. If everything is so dense and so interesting, then everything is valuable. Everything is worthy of some respect. Everyone is significant. It's all sacred.

Furthermore, I believe that generating this kind of effervescent curiosity in each other can actually generate that ethic of care. I think earnest curiosity can be a gateway to pro-social behavior. While I believe that People are good-ish, I believe that our constant desire to model the world into neatness and our educational tendency to start from simplicity are training us to be incurious, and by extension misanthropic.

Let me clear, I am not talking about any failures of curricula or teaching practice here. I am saying that the way we think about learning and teaching is on the wrong foundation.

The project of learning about the world is not to clear away the uncertainty, to simplify and tidy up the universe into known and understood furniture. That is as impossible as it is authoritarian. The project of learning is to carve out a clearing for yourself in the dense, ancient woods of reality. Sure, make things clear where we need clarity; make things certain where we need safety. But part of learning is seeing that everything is a universe, and marveling at the mystery as you peer behind the next tree.

Teach your kids everything you can, but more importantly show them that they could learn about every square inch of life forever.