A privilege of our information consuming culture is how much creativity is used in today's educational material. Here are a few of my favorites examples of how I went from being a Beavis & Butthead obsessed "D" student, into a self-taught science-nerd.
I love inventing rituals on the fly. One of those is watching "Planet Earth" blu-rays on Christmas morning while opening gifts with my family. With the fire-place keeping us warm, a snow-leopard hunting in the mountain landscapes, opening presents with loved ones and staying cozy in warm pajamas, I can enjoy my own personal twist on this long-held tradition.
Episode one of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" reboot with Neil deGrasse Tyson is what inspired me to write this piece. When I was a child, learning was presented as an art-less boring chore that required WORK, meanwhile video games and movies engaged my imagination with creativity, personality and joy. But the scientists of today have become the entertainers, and many of our artists are incorporating science into their art. Astronomers are no longer seen as the anti-social nerd, trapped in a stuffy college lecture hall and monotonously reading from a 1950s text book, instead they are using every platform available to reach the public and pontificate on the wonders of the universe with the inspiration of their celestial muses. Art is the best gateway to knowledge.
I have to thank the greatest icon of my generation for wild-life enthusiasm, "The Crocodile Hunter", his animal planet tv-series aired everyday after school. If it wasn't for the access to his wonderful personality and love for the animal kingdom, I don't know how I would have defined my love and respect for our planets living-beings. It is to just "Otherize" the weird, scary and dangerous creatures of our planet. But in the 90s, when you turned on this channel, chances were good that Steve would be holding that thing you fear, wearing a huge smile and telling you something incredible about how that being thrives in their habitat. Knowledge became a new perspective to combat the fears of our ignorance.
In a world with the conveniences of high-speed internet and smart-phones, it is getting easier and easier to neglect the value of a long-from conversation. Podcasts keep me engaged in what feels like an open-source dialogue filled with compelling personalities discussing a variety of subjects. Running errands, yard-work, commuting to work, and exercising, our now an opportunity for me to learn, laugh and be inspired by unique conversations from around the globe.
I know the examples cited above can serve as a distraction from reality. I could find inspiration from people I actually know, I can explore the cosmos in my backyard with binoculars or engage pleasantly with a stranger in public because I'm not wearing ear-buds blasting the, "Welcome to Night Vale" podcast in my ears. To those valid concerns I argue that technology has inspired me to do more with my life, not less. Google taught me how to cook, cure back-pain, and remodel my a bathroom. Podcasts have inspired me to live healthier, care about politics and discover interesting films or books. Nature-series and documentaries have kept me connected to the experiences of fellow life-forms and the well-being of our habitat. So that when I do unplug from technology, I have a rich understanding of my surroundings, and new ideas to experience with them.
I don't want to over indulge on technology, but I don't want to take it for granted either; instead I just wish to appreciate everything and everyone that keeps me from being someone that isn't boring in a conversation.