https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dipfjn3bir8
In association with the release of a Young Readers Edition of Permanent Record, Edward Snowden speaks with Cory Doctorow. One of the points to stand out was the importance of curiosity.

I say wait and take your shot when it counts right. I worked for the government and for many years I didn’t question what I was doing, I didn’t see anything that was truly meaningfully wrong. Over time, I encountered more and more rough edges on the system, more things that made me raise my eyebrow. I began to look and the more I looked the more I found, the more I found the more it affected me and eventually ultimately it changed me. I think that openness to inquiry is the most essential part, because we’re taught myths everywhere – Edward Snowden

It was interesting thinking about this alongside Tim Harford’s discussion of being curious when it comes to data.

“Cory Doctorow” in Pluralistic: 19 Feb 2021 – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow ()

Bookmarked Youth Spies and Curious Elders – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

On holding onto your curiosity as you age.

I love the term ‘curious elder’:

John Waters is what I call a Curious Elder — someone who manages to retain their curiosity as they age and stays interested in what young people are up to. The curious elder isn’t interested in judging youth, they’re interested in learning from them.

As a parent and an educator, I think that there is a danger of understanding, rather than “revelling in the mystification”.

I remember when I taught music I would start each weekly lesson with a listening diary where we would reflect upon a different piece of music chosen by a student. It was a fascinating opportunity.

Bookmarked Learning for learning’s sake (austinkleon.com)

Setting aside the importance of hobbies and the amateur spirit, what worries me the most is this faulty idea that you should only spend time learning about things if they have a definite “ROI.” Creative people are curious people, and part of being a creative person is allowing yourself the freedom to let your curiosity lead you down strange, divergent paths. You just cannot predict how what you learn will end up “paying off” later.Who’s to say what is and what isn’t professional development? (An audited calligraphy class winds up changing the design of computers, etc.)

Austin Kleon responds to the challenge associated with ‘learning for learning’s sake’. He suggests that we need to invest in hobbies and curiosity, just as much as we focus on ‘return on investment’.

This is the trouble we often have with schools, of course: When education is seen as an investment, we decide what students should be spending time on based on what is shown (or believed, rather) to have a return on investment in the marketplace. (And not that we really have any idea.)

This reminds me of Amy Burvall’s point that “in order to connect dots, one must first have the dots”. Also, Janice Kaplan discusses the importance of engaging with curiosity.

Replied to Treading on Dreams: The Art of the #lookdown by Amy Burvall (AmusED)

Recently on a trip to Vancouver, Canada and Australia I decided to make a point of archiving some of the magnificent surfaces beneath my boots, and entitled the series #thesebootsaremadeforwalking.

It is fascinating to think about this idea Amy, having been in the middle of a conversation when you spotted your unicorn:

Amy's Canberra Unicorn

I had a similar experience with Alan Levine when I met up with him in Melbourne:


“Pick Your Lift” by cogdogblog is licensed under CC0

Having followed both of your work for some time, it was intriguing to see it all unfold serendipitously in real time.

In part I guess this falls under the wider notion of transparency, yet is somehow different. It is the context that often sits outside of the page (or post). Rather than worrying about which ‘tool’ the artist uses, it provides an insight into the life of the artist.

When I think about my own habits, I feel I am curious when it comes to the digital world, but could be more open to the physical world. For example, I recently discovered an initiative via Ian O’Byrne where trees in Melbourne are assigned an email address. To be fair, I love to go walking, but am often to busy in thought to notice the thriving world around me, let alone at my feet. This initiative at least helped call that out.

I found this the best thing about your sessions in Canberra. It is almost as if they provide ‘permission’ to somehow let go and be curious.

Maybe like Adrian Camm’s ‘permission to innovate’:

Permission to Innovate (Adrian Camm)


Permission to Innovate

Maybe you could give out literal permission to be curious cards?