Post the Eleventh "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out"

I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding, they learn by some other way, by wrote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile! -R.P. Feynman

Yesterday I had made a quick nonchalant post on Facebook as I often do describing an action that I was going to take. More often than not the innocuous posting would be something I’m cooking, thinking about cooking, had cooked, or some other idea that I felt the need to blurt out on the unsuspecting masses of the Interwebs. And I habitually wonder how I got so fat…

Yesterday’s post was no different.

I had made a silly post (really just a throwaway affair) that ultimately made zero difference to anyone (other than a fellow and like minded tech).

The premise was very simple: I could throw a few dollars at a particular problem I had thereby solving it immediately, thoughtlessly, coldly or I could find other solution(s) that required me to think and act creatively within the criteria I had created for myself… Kinda like a thought experiment, but on a more tangible scale.

A few hours roll by and a friend makes a comment to the effect of “well, why didn’t you just do it this way” which of course was the easiest route of all and also cost nothing. He was entirely correct in pointing it out the procedure, but, missed the part that I cared about. The pleasure in finding things out.

To me most things are very straightforward affairs needing very little thought or effort. Do I want coffee? Yes. Goto coffee maker, insert K Cup, press button, out comes hot coffee. Zero thought, zero effort. Now, on the other hand; there could have been Do I want coffee? Yes.

Step one: learn how to select and purchase coffee from coffee suppliers

Step two: devise storage medium for correct humidity control and temperature control taking into effect overnight temp and humidity variance in my home for the coffee beans

Step three: design and construct coffee bean roaster

etc etc,

Now of course the easiest and frankly the cheapest method would be to continue purchasing the K-Cups and feeding the machine, but, what was learned? What knowledge was gained? Did you have any fun?

All of us have at some point had that HUZZAH! moment when we figured out all by ourselves that an item did something that we were not previously aware of. Something so easy and fundamental, yet clearly there? Doesn’t it feel grand when that happens? You know, ah, except when its the electric can opener and you’ve been trying valiantly to get it to open wine bottles…

As humans we’ve become accustomed to having things presented to us. I’m certainly no different in this respect than others. We have our news delivered, we have our food delivered, and now we even have our friendships delivered via social media. It has almost become passe in the course of our day to do something manually or to take the long road. There isn’t anything inherently wrong about that I can find except that it takes some of the wonder out of our lives. It deprives of exploration, of seeking out, of boldly going…where well, maybe not where no man has gone before, but you get the point!

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