Learning is about content, curiosity & relationships

How Socrates can stimulate your brain activity
Matthew Stoltzfus at TEDxOhioStateUniversity
May 13, 2014

13:00 Learning is about content, curiosity & relationships




Our curiosity is cultivated rather than innate

Contriving Characters From Celebrity Culture For ‘Lizzie Pepper’
July 18, 2015

Why are the lives of celebrities so fascinating to millions of people? I mean, people living on the margin of life can be fascinated by the Kardashians.

LIFTIN: I think there are two answers to that question. The first is why write or why cover these elite people and their story. And the answer to that is that I wanted to show them as regular people. They are regular people to whom this happened. You know, Lizzie Pepper wants to feel like a regular person. And inside, she’s always been a regular person. And when we read this book, it’s ultimately not a book about celebrities. It’s a book about marriage and what can come between two people. The second part of the question is why are we so fascinated with celebrity lives. Why do the Kardashians matter? And one of the answers that I’ve come up with is that maybe we just like stories, and these are the people that some good storytellers have chosen to put in front of us. So literally, you shoot a TV show with anyone, give it good lighting, egg people on, get some drama out of them, give them a few drinks, and then put their pictures in every stage of undress in tabloids. And our curiosity is cultivated rather than innate.

The conflicting needs of security and surprise

Are We Asking Too Much Of Our Spouses?
April 25, 2014

Psychotherapist Esther Perel argues that a good and committed relationship draws on the conflicting needs of security and surprise.

Can desire be sustained in the long haul?

Can we want what we already have?

Happiness: we made it first a possibility and today it’s a mandate

Adventure. Novelty. Mystery. Risk. Danger. The Unknown. The Unexpected. Surprise.

Reconciling our need for security and our need for adventure in one relationship, used to be a contradiction in terms.

6:47 So we come to one person and we are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide.

Give me belonging. Give me identity.
Give me continuity, but give me transcendance, and mistery, and all in one.
Give me comfort, give me edge.
Give me novelty, give me familiarity.
Give me predictability. Give me surprise.

This dilemma, between our need for security and our need for adventure, how we’re trying to bring them together under one roof, is maybe more a paradox that we can manage and less a problem we can solve.


It’s as if I were starting all over again

Hannibal Lecter: A Psycho with an Unlikely Soft Spot
by Laura Sydell
April 12, 2008

It may no longer be possible to eat fava beans without thinking of Hannibal Lecter.

He’s the creation of crime novelist Thomas Harris, but it was Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of him in the film The Silence of the Lambs that turned him into one of the most notorious fictional villains in American pop culture.

“In real life, he never would have become attached to her,” Morrison says. … I come back day after day after day — and every time I walk in to them, it’s as if I were starting all over again.”

Why We Must Continue to be Curious

Ian Leslie on Why We Must Continue to Learn and be Curious
Jun 18, 2014






Leo Burnett, founder of the global advertising company

collaboration across disciplines

The highest paying jobs in the future, like software development, are getting very cognitively complex.

We need to be T-shaped.

We need to be T-shaped.

he cites:

another RSA video (a review without original sources):
Can You Make Yourself Smarter?
Feb 19, 2014
Award-winning science journalist Dan Hurley investigates the new field of intelligence training, and asks: can we really boost our brain power?

more on Amit Singhal:

Hedonic treadmill

Salary Level May Not Indicate Contentment
December 16, 2005

Mr. CLEMENTS: the research says is that there’s this youth curve in happiness.
You know, people tend to be reasonably happy in their 20s, they get less and less happy through their 30s, they hit bottom in their 40s, and then they tend to rebound from there.

MONTAGNE: Here’s something that’s interesting, something called the `hedonic treadmill,’ having to do with hedonism, right?

Mr. CLEMENTS: Right. I mean, the notion is that, you know, we all think, `OK, you know, if only we were richer, we’d be happier.
If only we got that next pay raise, we’d be happier.’ But what happens is you tend to get used to it after a while and so, you know, the boost to your happiness tends to fade away and after a couple of months you may feel little or no better off.

MONTAGNE: If it isn’t a pay raise or something kind of specific in time that can get you back to feeling happy, if you will, or content, what are the things that economics researchers and sociologists say will return you to a state of feeling content?

Mr. CLEMENTS: … one of the things that seems to have the biggest negative impact on people’s sense of well-being is a long commute.
Another thing that seems to be important is having job flexibility...
The other key thing is friends are a huge boost to happiness. If you spend your time seeing friends on a regular basis, you have a close-knit group of friends, that can really, really help.

What Makes Us Happy At Work?
University of Kent

Hedonic treadmill

theme cited by:
University of Pennsylvania

What is it called the analogous phenomenon in:
– student motivation?
– epistemic curiosity?
– love?


What’s New? Exuberance for Novelty Has Benefits

What’s New? Exuberance for Novelty Has Benefits
February 13, 2012

novelty-seeking, a personality trait long associated with trouble … attention deficit disorder, compulsive spending and gambling, alcoholism, drug abuse and criminal behavior.

In the right combination with other traits, novelty-seeking is a crucial predictor of well-being.

“Novelty-seeking is one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age,” says C. Robert Cloninger, the psychiatrist who developed personality tests for measuring this trait.
The problems with novelty-seeking showed up in his early research in the 1990s

“It can lead to antisocial behavior,” he says, “but if you combine this adventurousness and curiosity with persistence and a sense that it’s not all about you, then you get the kind of creativity that benefits society as a whole.”

Fans of this trait are calling it “neophilia

Robert Moyzis, a biochemist at the University of California, Irvine.
The mutations are more prevalent in the most far-flung populations, like Indian tribes in South America descended from the neophiliacs who crossed the Bering Strait.

genes, as usual, are only part of the story.
Researchers have found that people’s tendency for novelty-seeking also depends on their upbringing, on the local culture and on their stage of life.
By some estimates, the urge for novelty drops by half between the ages of 20 and 60.

Dr. Cloninger, a professor of psychiatry and genetics at Washington University in St. Louis, tracked people using a personality test he developed two decades ago, the Temperament and Character Inventory.
By administering the test periodically and chronicling changes in people’s lives over more than a decade, he and colleagues looked for the crucial combination of traits in people who flourished over the years — the ones who reported the best health, most friends, fewest emotional problems and greatest satisfaction with life.

What was the secret to their happy temperament and character?
A trio of traits.
They scored high in novelty-seeking as well in persistence and “self-transcendence.”
Persistence, the stick-to-it virtue promoted by strong-willed Victorians, may sound like the opposite of novelty-seeking, but the two traits can coexist and balance each other.

“People with persistence tend to be achievers because they’ll keep working at something even when there’s no immediate reward,” Dr. Cloninger says. “They’ll think, ‘I didn’t win this time, but next time I will.’

The other trait in the trio, self-transcendence, gives people a larger perspective.
“It’s the capacity to get lost in the moment doing what you love to do, to feel a connection to nature and humanity and the universe,” Dr. Cloninger says. “It’s sometimes found in disorganized people who are immature and do a lot of wishful thinking and daydreaming, but when it’s combined with persistence and novelty-seeking, it leads to personal growth and enables you to balance your needs with those of the people around you.”

She and Dr. Cloninger both advise neophiles to be selective in their targets.
“Don’t go wide and shallow into useless trivia,” Ms. Gallagher says. “Use your neophilia to go deep into subjects that are important to you.”