Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just blend it

When I was part of the opus dei, I once learned about two activities which are part of the learning process. "Studiositas" and "Curiositas".  In the medieval time it was believed that curiosity was a vice, causing distraction and lack of focus, and corruption of the spiritual being. While Tommaso might have been right on some points, he was definitely bound to a framwork which did not leave much space to imagination. While I am aware of the risk of curiosity, I do also believe that imagination and mental flexibility are a necessary condition for further in-depth study and that without curiosity there is no exploration beyond the boundary of the defined study field. Hence, the ability to investigate is just as important as the ability to space within a given matter. Blending knowledge and different skills is the base of modern engineering, and I will never stop to awe the magnificent work and example given by Leonardo da Vinci. It's not surprising that curiosity was reduced to a vice and a sin in an historical period dominated by a very strict and gloomy church. Still Tommaso provides us a good lesson: select carefully what you feed to your intellect, since knowledge gluttony and soul corruption are indeed serious and very real threats.