Einstein & Curiousity

COMMENT: I found your comment most interesting on curiosity as the driving force being Einstein and the key for everyone to follow no matter what the field. This is precisely what is ignored in school. They teach you to memorize, not to challenge the status quo.



REPLY: Yes, my professor friend who explained that to me really did open my eyes. It is incredibly important to encourage curiosity in your children. Curiosity is the required step to discovery. If you are not curious, you will never discover anything. Samuel Butler (1835–1902) defined genius as “a supreme capacity for getting its possessors into trouble of all kinds.” All the studies of genius reveal that teachers like children with high IQs. Yet, they view those with creative minds who are curious as trouble makers because they always ask “Why?” and challenge the teacher. As a result, intelligent but uncreative students will conform to the demands of society. That is why they say A students work for C students, and B students work for the government. Then there is the saying that those who are creative just do while those who lack that creativity teach, and those who cannot teach, teach gym (lol).

Victor Goertzel and Mildred George Goertzel in their 1962 book “Cradles of eminence,” found that the parents of gifted children were often curious, experimental, restless, and seeking answers in themselves. E. Paul Torrance of Minnesota found that 70% of pupils who rated high in creativity were rejected by teachers who picked a special class for the intellectually gifted. The Goertzels concluded in their Stanford study of genius that teachers selected bright children over creative and curious children. Those teachers would have excluded people such a Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Twain just to name a few.

There are what have become known as “genius grants,” which are handed out for original creativity. The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. These fellowships are awarded for exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate new work. You cannot be creative without CURIOSITY.

We wrongly call Einstein a genius, assuming he knew a lot like a dictionary. That was by no means his gift. It was curiosity.