November 16, 2015
Whenever I feel confused or uncertain, I will usually construct a list of life goals as guidance to decide about what to do next. The list almost at all times contains those things: love, happiness and health. It also contains programming. And at the same time, I find one thing appears frequently in the list – making stuff, or making things happen. However, the reason I put “making things happen” in the list is less obvious than “programming” or “happiness”. The latter are either my personal hobbies / my professionals, or basic human needs. The former, which includes making drawings, music, other forms of arts, or even making new knowledge and new technology, including making computer programs, is often categorized into “curiosity”.
In my life, two types of “curiosity”s have appeared. The first one involves learning new knowledge, how things works and other people’s thoughts. The second one, which is what is being discussed here, involved making new things.
Learning involves unknown, which makes the first type of curiosity involves something new. When you learn something, when you know other people’s thoughts, there’s always at least something new in it. However, it is not always the case for the second type of curiosity.
I can still remember the first computer programs I wrote. It was in my 5th grade when I wrote a calculator using a programming language called BASIC. Everything was simple – no magic was ever involved. You inputted two numbers, and it outputted one. Nothing was new, but I wrote the program again and again, just for fun. Is that the curiosity type of “making things”?
That question didn’t bother me a lot when I was a child. However, when I grew older and older, I started to question the functionality of what curiosity is built on – logic and rationality. What are the purpose of them?
And as soon as I realized that the purpose of rationality is not just for the pure seek of rationality, but being used as a tool, so as to help us to predict the future, I started to apply it to my daily life. I started trying to predict other people’s behaviors, predict the influence of my own actions, predict what might happen in the history before knowing the truth. I found the joy of making predictions, of anticipations.
And at the same time, I realized that this might be the answer for the curiosity type of “making things” – for sure, it does not necessarily involve anything new, but it is built as something predictable. When being creative, you predict yourself, or other people, could understand the feelings and emotions behind the works. When making new technology, you predict the future. And when making computer programs, you predict that some certain things will happen when interacted – although sometimes it fails.