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Are we designed to inquire?

  1. Aug 14, 2004 #1
    Nikola Tesla concluded in his theory of teleautomatics that our minds are based on a system of cause and effect sequences. How do we know that these cause and effect sequences do or do not give rise to our sense of inquiry? Why do we wonder? Why is it important to ask what the simplest manifold is? Some of the questions asked in science or mathematics seem to have no relavance in everyday life, I have to admit. That is not to say I abhor such persuits, I am merely wondering why we should be curious.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2004 #2
    By saying that we are "designed" by something or someone, you'd be implying some sort of intelligence behind our inception, but such inferance would make your question defunct as you'd be trying to guess the motives of a being that we could not comprehend or that science can not analyse or that simply does not exist.

    Also, I respect Tesla's work in the field of electricity, but I would question his statements as to the workings of the human brain as that was certainly not his field of study. Quotes are nice, but they are hardly noteworthy in serious inquiry unless backed by fact.

    And as for a direct responce to your question: Evolution theory dictates a strong urge of inquiry and curiosity as to gain a more complete understanding of one's environment and thus lead to a more complete understanding of mastering one's environment. This trait is not limited to humans, just watch a kitten(or any cat really) explore a new surrounding for the first time and tell me they are not curios.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2004
  4. Aug 14, 2004 #3
    Because we are ignorant we may learn, but only if we allow ourselves to ask questions. Questions implicitly connote the possibility that answers exist, not that everything can be answered. When we have no questions, when we have no preconceptions or expectations, then we know the answer or accept our ignorance.

    Genuine questions make no demands or statements, thus they are accepting and such acceptance is an emotive affect rather than merely a stream of logic. My computer can spout endless nonsense, but it cannot ask a sincere question. The lights are on, but nobody is home.
  5. Aug 14, 2004 #4
    We are not only designed to inquire but aslo to acquire and avoid. This in my opinion is the fundamental purpose of the human consciousness. That is, we naturally inquire and acquire to avoid! These three fundamental aspects of the human conscious are nothing but natural safety devices and they are crucial to our own form of life, or should I say the human form of life.

    The only thing that is puzzling about this configuration or composition is that two aspetcs of it (Inquire and avoid) are 'uncecssarily necessary'. That is, the Inquisitive and the Precautionary modes of consciousness serve only ephemeral sustaining purposes in their overall outward values. I habitually call them 'uncessary necessities' for this very reason. For why may you inquire or avoid if you knew all there is to be known to survivv from ouset? It seems therefore that the acquisitive mode of consciousness has always been necessary and my bet is on it as the most likely aspect of the human consciousness to survive destruction in the end. I also habitually call this 'necessary necessity' the obvious reason. This may not be to anyone's taste.....but that's what I think.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2004
  6. Aug 16, 2004 #5
    Ah, philocrat! "Natural" is the key word here. The naturally occuring aspects of consciousness are the very ones that can be attributed to subconscious aspects, right? Subconscious motives drive us to do many things such as be suspicious or something more simple: eat.

    And your line of thought is essentially the same one that drove me to start this thread.
    I totally agree with you.

    I apologize for my misuse of the word "design". Read Philocrat's post and you will understand my meaning.
  7. Aug 19, 2004 #6
    Obviously, we are designed to inquire, otherwise we'd know everything we want to know already. The question is is... why? =)
  8. Aug 28, 2004 #7
    Ah, good point. But how do we know that if we were not designed to inquire, then we would know everything?
    What if we just knew everything we needed to know and thus had no reason for inquiry?
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