Be Intellectually Curious, Orange County!

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

You come home from school mentally and physically exhausted. After throwing your NorthFace backpack to the floor, you’re eager to lie on the couch and watch some brainless television programs; homework is the farthest thing from your mind. Hey, we all need a moment to relax. But learning shouldn’t be seen as a chore. In fact, the most important thing you should develop in your grade-school years is an intellectual curiosity – we’re making it easy on you; you get to use the internet with this awesome educational website.

picjumbo.com_IMG_5540I can pinpoint the exact moment my intellectual curiosity really took off. It was my junior year in high school and I was taking a philosophy course – a rarity for most high schools. It wasn’t so much the day’s material, as the teacher was prone to drift off into obscure personal stories, but a particular quote on one of our handouts. The paper was a brief overview of notable philosophers, which included a picture, a short biography, and a quote. The quote that captivated me most  was by Friedrich Nietzche. It read,

“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

I wasn’t too sure what the quote meant . I figured it was about overcoming fear, but with a name like Nietzsche I knew I could be totally wrong. When I got home from class I passed on the chance to watch TV and went to the computer room instead – believe it or not, this was before I had a laptop. I searched Friedrich Nietzsche in Google and spent the better half of the evening reading all I could about the German philosopher. Did I become an expert on ‘Will to Power?’ Of course not. What I did learn was that I didn’t know a thing about philosophy. At first I was anxious. What else did I not know? Sorry to spoil the party, teenagers, but there comes a time in your life when you realize you actually don’t know everything.

The feeling that followed was a good one. I felt less overwhelmed when I realized I had the ability and means to learn everything I wanted to. Since that moment I’ve committed myself to learning as much as I can about the world. Curiosity is the true antidote to not wanting to learn. Once you overcome this hurdle, you’ll need resources such as teachers, private tutors, libraries, and the internet to satisfy your curiosity, which brings me to this week’s “Educational Website Wednesday.”

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Arts & Letters Daily is a doozy of a source, but once you spend time on the site you’ll better know how to utilize the mass amount of information it relays on a daily basis. My favorite areas of the website are the “Articles of Note” and “Essays and Opinions.” I always have this anxiety that great things are passing under my radar online, so it’s a relief to find Arts & Letters has already done the groundwork in finding the best educational things to read. In turn, you’ll find yourself reading more and searching less.

In addition to the articles, ALDaily works as a directory to other great sites. From top Weblogs to Columnists, every educational resource on the web is represented. To get you started, here’s a link to a great article I found on ALDaily about the necessity, and lack there of, of having a PHD.

Feel free to share the great things you find with us on Twitter and Facebook. What’s the fun in learning something if you can’t talk about it with a friend?

Stay curious, SoCal!

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