on my mind . . . mana’o stew

thinking . . . and reading . . . and igniting brain sparkles . . .

My teaching duties these days have me reading voraciously outside of Hawaiian studies, and listening closely outside of Hawaiian music. The fruits born of such mental exercises are . . . ideas. Add this into the stew of tidbits and factoids and conversations and impressions accummulated over 20 years of teaching (gasp!) and 35 years of research (gasp!!) and . . . let’s just say that my view of the world is quite rich.

Recently I discovered the blog BRAIN PICKINGS for folks who traffic in thinking and ideas (like me). It describes itself as “is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.” Its author, Maria Popova, bills herself as “an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large.” There are some serious academic creds there, including serving as a Futures of Entertainment Fellow at MIT.

This week’s “interestingness digest” highlights a post on David Byrne, and includes this trenchant quote:

If you can draw a relationship, it can exist. The world keeps opening up, unfolding, and just when we expect it to be closed — to be a sealed sensible box — it shows us something completely surprising. In fact, the result and possibly unacknowledged aim of science may be to know how much it is that we don’t know, rather than what we do think we know. What we think we know we probably aren’t really sure of anyway. At least if can get a sense of what we don’t know, we don’t be guilty of the hubris of thinking we know any of it. Science’s job is to map our ignorance.

food for thought.

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