A Different Perspective

Well let’s just start off with something bizarre, and unrelated. What do you think is common between video games; or any game in general and our rendition of outer space?

Before you scroll down contemplating to yourself as to why you have to continue, I insist you take a second, and think about this. If you’d have taken that second, you’d see that both of them are not only just related, but are a very fabric of the way our thought flows. Both of them are indeed the products of our curiosity and imagination. “What lies beyond our realm?”, “How capable are we?” and even “Are we alone?” are funnily a common theme that basically describes them both. And if you see, our understanding of both, video games and space, and anything in general is heuristic –  connecting the dots to find a pattern or an image, that we can render possible. There, you just saw how your brain figures out stuff for you.

Orange-man-questions-clipart

Human psychology, as ‘psychic’ as it sounds, is not a very convoluted area of science. It is, in fact a branch of science which deals with the very basic of our thought and behavior, trying to figure out an algorithm, or a base from which we all have that flow of thought, which can connect a mountain on Mars and a human face, and even give some people the drive to do something.

Let’s just focus on one thing we all have in common between the thoughts itself. Why do we have thoughts? The thought of having such a thought in mind itself is a base of this insane psychological behavior we all share – curiosity. Can you even think of a moment wherein you haven’t been curious? It’ hard to find, because it basically gives us the drive to do anything and everything, be it just talking to a guy about the next football game or sending a roadster to Mars with a Starman on board. Talk about starmen, Elon Musk is someone so determined in the present world, that he is a role model to many; and how does he fuel his determination you ask? Well, I’m pretty sure you have your answer now.

As a matter of fact, anything and even everything we see is a product of curiosity. The fact that I’m able to communicate to you through this medium is because of combined efforts of many scientists including Michael Faraday, who taught and showed the world how to use the billions of tiny particles around us to our command; using the same fuel. Even with something this common, it may be surprising to know that it is something we haven’t figured out totally. How does it come about? Nobody knows perfectly. Well, being the people we are, and how we are curious about our own curiosity, it has led to many theories, including the drive theory and the incongruity theory.

Drive theory, as obvious as it sounds says that curiosity is just another naturally occurring urge that must be satisfied in a very similar manner to how we satisfy our other needs, like hunger by eating. When we are curious we look up into new or old interests that would satisfy that urge, instantaneously, or for a long time. The drive theory helps explain curiosity-seeking behavior. It shows us why we actively look for and engage in crossword puzzles or take up a musical instrument. Not only are these activities inherently superfluous, they also contain the risk of failure. Viewed as food for our curiosity, however, they make much more sense.

What drive theory doesn’t explain is how object-specific curiosity may be. This is where incongruity theory comes in. This theory is based on the idea that our curiosity is motivated when we’re presented with something that doesn’t fit into our understanding of the world. We tend to view the universe as predictable and orderly; under incongruity theory, when this order is challenged, our curiosity is aroused. Imagine that while you’re reading this article, a pencil on your desk spontaneously moves two inches to the left. This doesn’t really fit into our worldview — pencils aren’t supposed to move on their own. Can you imagine not looking around the desk in an attempt to explain why the pencil moved? In this case, our curiosity was aroused by an external event and we were moved to understand it, which supports incongruity theory.

That said, neither drive theory nor incongruity theory can fully explain curiosity. Each one has trouble fully accounting for one aspect or another, which means that curiosity remains a mystery to us. This doesn’t mean we haven’t arrived at some real conclusions about it, though. The debate over whether curiosity originates inside us or is a reaction to things we encounter in life has little to do with how we classify the concept.

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Well, all the theories aside, we do know that it is curiosity that makes one think in different perceptions or even dimensions if I may. The same curiosity that makes us look up and wonder what would be up there also asks us what about our own home and people at the same time. It drives us into exploration of the unknown, and also reminds us about the needs we need to fulfill. In anyway, it is quite clear that life without curiosity is not imaginable. We live, because of our curiosity about the things around us. So, be curious, and don’t let that mind stay still!

Shyam Santosh
Electronics and Communications Engineering, Batch of 2020

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