History Or Current Events?

Do you prefer to learn about things that happened in the past, or do you spend more time on current events?

Share why if you wish.

History Or Current Events?

Does Knowledge Have Inherent Value?

Knowing information can help in a variety of different ways. But does learning have value, even if you don’t use that knowledge in any way?

Kids attend school in their formative years, because learning is key to success. (Some kids don’t thrive in a formal learning situation, but that’s not important for this discussion.)

How is learning important?

For one, you have greater control over your situation. Knowledge helps you make better decisions, because you know more about how things work together, and how they fit into the world.

It also helps to not have to reinvent the wheel. There have been billions of people who have walked the earth before us, and in many cases, their knowledge is passed along to us. We can learn from their mistakes; no need to make them ourselves.

And learning can be fun. Experiencing an ‘Aha!’ moment when things click into place and you understand something for the first time feels good. Our brains evolved to solve problems, so using our big brains for their intended purpose feels right.

But what happens if you strip all that away?

A common complaint heard by teachers is “When am I going to use this?” And certainly, it is hard to accurately predict when something you learn might come in handy. You might very well be surprised at how often you call upon something seemingly unrelated in your life.

But what if it never comes? If you learn something that you cannot use in any way, is it still valuable? Or does knowledge only have meaning and utility in the way that it is applied?

Related questions: How do you learn? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned? Why are we fascinated with the unknown? How do we know what we don’t know?

How Can We Encourage Curiosity?

Curiosity is an important trait to have for any healthy human. How can we make sure that we are as curious as possible?

There are many ways that curiosity helps us, and there are also ways that a lack of it can hurt us.

For instance, being curious about our environment is how we learn as children. We wonder about about the things around us, and that helps us with motor skills, language, reasoning, and other developmental skills.

It also helps us continue our education, both formally and informally. Formally through school and from teachers, and informally as we read on our own and in the hobbies we pursue.

To see how a lack of curiosity can hurt us, look no further than today’s political climate. Most people are content in echo feedback chambers, listening to opinions that mirror their own. They seek out news outlets that confirm their own viewpoint, and may even choose friends the same way.

One way out of this problem is to be curious about people you disagree with. Do you dismiss them out of hand, or do you wonder why they have another opinion? Being curious about something different — different religion, political party, skin color, native language,  and so on — allows us to be more understanding.

Curiosity can also lead to better mental health. As we age, learning about things you don’t already know keeps our brains flexible. It can help our own health as well as helping society at large.

So those are some of the benefits. But what are the specific methods we can employ to achieve these positive outcomes? What can we do in our everyday lives to encourage curiosity?

Related questions: How do you learn? What does it mean to be healthy? How do you adopt new ideas? How can we maintain wonder?