When asking questions, it is important not only to settle with the answers given to us, but to constantly expand our understanding by posing the simple but critical follow-up questions: “Who?“, “What?“, “When?“, “Where?“, “How?” And perhaps most importantly, “Why?” The answers to these questions mean that we do not miss contexts that may not be obvious at first glance. The answers will also open up doors for new questions that give us an even deeper understanding. This understanding, stemming from our curiosity, gives us the ability to see patterns and contexts much earlier than others.
The question “Who am I?” has followed reflecting humans over millennia, and preoccupied the minds of numerous philosophers. The most common answer is to frame it in our relations to the outer world. I’m a son in relation to my parents, I’m a father in relation to my children, I’m a partner in relation to my loved one, I’m a professional in relation to my employer and colleagues, and so on. But this is not the true “me”. These are only my relational positions. So, who am I?
Play is a vital part of our lives. As young children, it is through play that we gradually learn to master a complex world. In play, the child can mimic the adults, test boundaries and learn how to act and behave in their own environment and react in different situations. But play is not only for children; it also has a number of benefits for adults. In play and playful activities, we can be absorbed and end up in the state of total presence and the feeling of being one with an activity we sometimes call “flow”.
Of all our various creative abilities, curiosity is perhaps the most important. It’s hard to imagine any creativity or human development without curiosity; This amazing ability makes us not only interested in our environment but also in ourselves. Curiosity makes us read books. Curiosity makes us ask the question “Why?“. Curiosity is the fuel that drives us forward. It is also through our curiosity that we find the inspiration to change the world. And it is curiosity, not money, which is the biggest driver in research.
A farmer was out working in his field, when a traveller walked by. The traveller, grumpy-looking and obviously in a bad mood, stopped and asked the farmer “What are the people living in the next village like?”
“How did you find the people in the last village?” asked the farmer. The traveller answered: “They were all rude and ill-tempered, all selfish and no one to be trusted.”
“Is that so?” said the farmer. “Unfortunately, you will find the people in the next village just the same.”
If you sit still doing nothing for just a few moments, your mind will start to wander in all different directions, and this happens also after a while when you otherwise try to concentrate on a task. A beloved child has many names, and this also goes for this well-known phenomenon. The Buddha called it the “monkey mind”, likening it to the monkey constantly jumping from one tree branch to another. A western everyday name is of course “day-dreaming”, and the neuroscientists are talking about “mind-wandering”.