Escalate the barriers to questioning

April 30, 2024by Editorial Team
Dig it out with a curious eye

Howsoever fundamental it may seem, questioning, or expressing curiosity is not easy. It does not come naturally to most. But as they say, the end justifies the means. Once we know what breaking this glass wall can lead us to, we may experience a different realm of joy and fulfilment.

Curiosity and evolution

Things sighted in childhood arouse our curiosity. A dark spot on the tree of a tree is identified as the peppered moth. This was an adaptation during the Industrial Revolution in England when it helped it to protect itself against birds. Through time, the human brain also grows and evolves. The part of the brain that deals with the reasoning,observing,understanding and learning is called the prefrontal cortex. Its size has increased from 500cc to 1000cc from the age of homo habilis to homo sapiens. This accompanied a major modifications of corticocortical connectivity and gene expression leading to the enchancement of the granular PFC neurons which encoded associations between acoustic stimuli and questioning strategies and problem solving strategies. Due to random mutations and selection, organism have developed specific traits suitable for the environment and other traits that are its byproducts, known as spandrel. So the traits and sprandels have played a major role in the development of the neural machinery in human PFC thereby supporting higher-level cognitive functions.

Curiosity and luck


Luck or accident have often led to extraordinary outcomes but it was curiosity which created the situation. There is the famed instance when Curtis had boiled chicle in one of his experiments out of curiosity, when it surprisingly transformed into a pliable stretchy eatable now known as chewing gum. The famed Kellogg’s Corn Flakes is said to have been formed when wheat dough had been forgotten overnight, which resulted in thin flakes the following morning.

When Bjarni Herjólfsson had set sail from Norway to Greenland, storms blew him far off course resulting him to land on a new territory which was later discovered to be Canada. Though his Leif Erikson is credited for having discovered Canada since he retraced the route, though it was the initial curiosity of Bjarni that led to the eventual discovery.
Alexander Graham Bell discovered the telephone because he was curious to know if sound could be transmitted through wires.It was the curiosity to know the reason behind the fall of an apple from a tree that led Sir Isaac Newton to invent the laws of motion. George De Mestral was intrigued by the burr that stuck to his dog’s fur which led to the invention of Velcro.


Growth and curiosity

Curiosity helps us get out of our comfort zones, challenge our beliefs and embrace new experiences. It fosters empathy and understanding which helps us connect with people belonging to other backgrounds and cultures.It helps us discover about our own selves, our family history, our motivations, emotional triggers, health, body, metabolism and so much more. Curiosity about oneself leads to personal growth and development.

Sir Ken Robinson had said “Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” So let us follow the words of the other great master Albert Einstein, “Never stop questioning.”


About the authors

The article has been contributed by Yusra Ghani and Sara Jamil from Our Lady Queen of the Missions School, Park Circus, Kolkata.


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