How Can We Implement a Curiosity Curriculum?
If curiosity is your curriculum the best way in which that curriculum can be undertaken is for all of your students to cut school and that’s a great idea, but it really won’t work at an institutional level in most universities.
Jonathon Keats is a San Francisco-based experimental philosopher who has, over the years, sold real estate in the extra dimensions of space-time proposed by string theory (he sold a hundred and seventy-two extra-dimensional lots in the Bay Area in a single day); made an attempt to genetically engineer God (God turns out to be related to the cyanobacterium); and copyrighted his own mind (in order to get a seventy-year post-life extension.
Keats's bold experiments raise serious questions and put into practice his conviction that the world needs more "curious amateurs," willing to explore publicly whatever intrigues them, in defiance of a culture that increasingly forecloses on wonder and siloes knowledge into narrowly defined areas of expertise.
If curiosity is your curriculum the best way in which that curriculum can be undertaken is for all of your students to cut school and that’s a great idea, but it really won’t work at an institutional level in most universities. Perhaps Black Mountain College was the last place where this was attempted and the school shut down pretty quickly.
So I think that what is needed are amateurs in the true and old sense of the word, people who are in it simply out of their own interest pursuing their own curiosity. That doesn’t scale up in the way that our society is built to scale things up because it doesn’t professionalize and we have this idea that you go from amateur to professional in terms of both authority and also in terms of the degree to which resources are allocated.
It doesn’t have to be that way, but in order for it not to be that way it requires that individuals simply decide to ask their own questions and that we be mad enough to go out and often for as little as ten dollars—I think that I've actually done projects on less than that—go out and try it, inflict it on the world and allow the world to engage.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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