I am a great admirer of Sir Isaac Newton. Whether one is a scholar or not, it is at least prudent to admire the person who invented calculus. A documentary on him showed Newton to be a driven man consumed to know how things work. In science classes, it’s common to refer to Newton’s laws—for example the law of gravity that Newton set forth.
Would he have really said, however, that he discovered a law? I would like to have coffee with him and ask. The reason is this: The concept of law can sound like a thing works a certain way because it is decreed that it work that way. However, to come upon a phenomenon in the universe and describe it as a law is perhaps not as accurate as saying that law is a description of how something works.
This is different from a king or a government issuing a social decree concerning taxes, wars, public works, etc. Most such things are relative though people sense when their freedom is encroached upon and civil disobedience is indicated. I suppose you could say that freedom leaves a lot of open territory for laws as long as the laws don’t undermine freedom itself.
But let’s get back to nature and laws. Wanting to know how things work is a matter of curiosity, and then curiosity is also the substance of wanting to take that insight and spin off into countless applications.
Without curiosity, one is dead. Curiosity may have killed the cat as the saying goes, but it makes for good living for humans; and it’s good for us all to have a little cat in us.
This is especially true when it comes to education. There you stand, the instructor, and 20-30 seats in front of you with students, not to mention those heavy books on their desks. Confined to this room for a designated hour or two, the students experience knowledge coming at them from you and the books.
Bam, bam, bam—information is everywhere. Students may smile out of duty, or be real and manifest expressions ranging from boredom to mild interest to sleep-related symptoms.
Then there are those who have drunk the potion of curiosity. It’s a secret formula. No one knows how to manufacture it; one just leaps into it lets it start to take over.
Love is even related to curiosity. Who wants to be supposedly loved by someone not curious about what is going on? When I got married, I was shocked at questions from my wife like, “What was your favorite color when you were little?” or “How did you carve your pumpkin at Halloween at your house?”
So here we are—in rooms with teachers, students, and knowledge. Where did it all come from? There’s a law somewhere that says, but if you can’t find it, write a law yourself and enjoy it. Who knows, it may make it into a book someday.