Bubbles are indeed an interesting thing to look at. I remember that in my early years, when I was yet a little kid, I loved playing with bubble blowers and just watching them dance around in the air, play their beautiful symphony of colours and then disappear, escorted with a quiet popping sound and sometimes leaving a small wet spot behind.
I still do this today. Even now, I have at least two bottles of bubble blowers right next to my hand. Because of my childhood fascination, bubbles have become sort of a symbol to me. A symbol of natural curiosity.
I was born an extremely curious person, as I am constantly being reminded by all of my family during any nostalgy-heavy session when I visit my homeland. But there is possibly a price one needs to pay for being curious.
So many things are fascinating to a child’s mind! But, either by its natural deterioration while growing up, or as a consequence of becoming more knowledgeable, we seem to loose the ability to see the beauty, to feel the joy of being utterly fascinated. Is it really knowledge that is behind it?
I have come to notice – and to my delight I am not the only one – that certain ways of thinking indeed may (but don’t necessarily have to) lead to somewhat negativistic view of the world around. It is not so long ago since we were sitting on a nice green lawn on one of the first sunny days of this year’s spring with my fellows from the faculty and one of them randomly noted: “Don’t you guys feel this kinda leads to scepticism?” (Note: We all study Mathematics). And while it does not have to concern everyone, he certainly has some point.
My impression tells me that people who embrace the intellectual part of their lives more than others are indeed somehow more vulnerable to negativism. They submit to depression more often, and they tend to struggle with existential crises. Although, I wouldn’t call many of them pessimists. I like to think of it as a sort of “natural realism”.
After all, it does make sense. In a way, knowing less would make you more like a child. Easier to impress. More prone to all the simple joys. Knowing less would mean you wouldn’t be aware of some of the problems that bother the minds of those who know more. (The character of such problems obviously depends on each individual’s personality!). It would make your world a smaller place, easier to manage. Perhaps, ignorance indeed is bliss. But do we really have to make that choice? Either submit to knowledge and learn or be happy?
I don’t think so. While it may be necessary to “pay a little price”, it can be very well worth it! There’s so much pleasure, even if somewhat different, in following your curiosity and learning! Don’t you know the warm feeling of satisfaction you get when you figure something out on your own? When you crack a problem – when you gain an understanding? I hope you do!
All that needs to be done (or rather – not to be done) is this: Don’t kill your inner child. Keep it alive, hidden or not, and learn to communicate with it. For a child’s joy is the most intensive one. The purest one. If you ever hit a sceptic moment, get in touch with it while blowing bubbles, observing rainbows or raindrops sliding on a window, popping bubble foil – whatever you loved to do as a kid or you still do! Have yourself not overthinking and overanalysing certain things. I believe there lies the way to finding harmony with yourself.
What about you? Have you ever been thinking intellectual life leads to negativism? Are you okay with it and what do you do about it? Let me know in the comments section below!
Edit: After finishing this post I’ve discovered a similar topic discussed on The Harvard Crimson. Wyatt N. Troia calls it The Sad Socrates Effect – and while he talks mostly about Harvard students, the idea is certainly applicable to wider circles. Be sure to check him out!
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