Let Curiosity Off the Leash

Though generally serving as a waste of time and not-so-clever procrastination device, there are a few occasions when lists step in to keep me sane.  I’ve recently begun a list of things – random things – I’d like to know more about.

For example:

  • how to make pad thai
  • weather prediction
  • barbeque
  • the workings of nuclear power
  • how plumbing works
  • the art of the symphony
  • early modes of transportation
  • venture capital
  • transatlantic ocean currents
  • national parks of the us
  • carrier-pidgeons

Often when I’m biking home from work, or falling asleep, or making dinner, etc. I think of things that would be worth knowing.  Sadly most of these thoughts are discarded and lost in the depths of my terrible terrible memory.

Try keeping a list – a leftover envelope, a notepad file, whatever – and take note of these things to look up later.  There’s the kind of knowledge we learn in classes where we memorize the names of elements in the periodic table, physics equations, dates of important events or classic novels.  Then there’s the kind of knowledge that really enriches the mind.

To fully digest something, it needs to be interesting enough to drive you to dig in and do move beyond memorization.  This list is my way of setting aside some time to set aside the stresses of life and immerse myself in things, random things, that enrich my view of the world.

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