Friday, November 06, 2009

Problems and Mysteries

We try to understand how things work by asking questions: Why does the moon circle around the earth? Why do men find younger women more attractive? Why does this politician get the most votes? Why does my neighbour have an affair? What is consciousness? Do we have freedom of mind?

Here is what Steven Pinker writes in How the Mind Works:

"The linguist Noam Chomsky once suggested that our ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries. When we face a problem, we may not know its solution, but we have insight, increasing knowledge, an an inkling of what we are looking for. When we face a mystery, however, we can only stare in wonder and bewilderment, not knowing what an explanation would even look like."

Write down 10 problems and 10 mysteries. Remember some questions might be mysteries for some, problems for others, or even answered.

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