The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

Richard Feynman’s popular book has an evocative title. The pleasure of finding things our is universal but different people have very different horizons as to where they are comfortable finding out something new. A brilliant mind such as Feynman’s stretches to the far reaches of what is knowable to find out what is going on and to see what surprises might be in store. A more ordinary mind will like to find out something which is related strongly to their interests and is more tightly connected to what they already know (their schema). These two descriptions are superficially different but of course they refer to the same thing, just described differently; the only real difference is the size of their schema and their capacity, and hence their interest, in expanding it along the very edges of their maps rather than finding out small differences deep within their maps.

A curious corollary to the pleasure of finding things out (with the implication of finding things out on our own) is the displeasure of being told something.

The psychology of the distance between being pleased to being told to being very displeased is divided into segments based on the roles other people play in our lives. To learn something from someone close to us (at any point after our ‘assimilation’ period ends) can quickly and easily feel like we are being patronised (controlled and not respected), with a curious middle area of friends suggesting music and TV shows which we will have an immediate suspicion of, to the other end of the spectrum of those whose roles are to teach us, either as a respected teacher or though wider media, where the displeasure of being told can turn into the pleasure of learning.

The relevance of this as to liquid views is that liquid views aims to support the process of finding things out on your own, by providing a highly interactive thinking space where your working memory is augmented visually and your own knowledge can be mapped out so that you can see what might be missing and new connections can become apparent.