Thursday, December 22, 2011

Discovering discovery

Clearly, I have babies on my mind these days.

They are fascinating to watch. Their behavior is not yet shaped by too many experiences, learning, or influences. They are exhibiting pure human nature.

And so it is that watching Amal trying to sit up is a wonderful lesson in why we do many of the things we do as grownups.

Till a few weeks ago she was quite content to simply lie down and look at things. Then she discovered that she can sit up (with a little help), and now all she wants to do is sit. Lying down she gets restless. It's not as if she has anything urgent to do which requires sitting up, it is not like she won't be fed if she does not sit. There is no real material incentive for her to make the effort of sitting - and it is quite an effort at this point.

It seems to be a simple mix of boredom with the status quo, a spirit of adventure, curiosity, and the excitement of discovering something new.

Sounds familiar does't it ? I know I'm stretching it too far, but I think one could say that most human development comes from a mix of these factors. This is why continents were discovered, and computers were invented, and mountains were climbed, and space explored.

We as humans appear to be hard wired to explore.

Economists like to think of the "rational" consumer, who makes all choices based on maximizing utility. Maybe. But we also do things for the joy of doing things. Perhaps as we grow older, we are forced to make more and more 'rational' choices when we are faced with responsibilities and constraints.

But deep down, all we want to do is to move one step ahead to see what else we can find.

No comments:

Post a Comment