Quotation of the Day

November 02, 2005

Reposted: Curiosity and English -- by Bruce Lin

“Because it is there.”
-- George Mallory, 1924

This was George Mallory's reply when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest. Mallory was never to return from the expedition. However, the few words are so famous that they say so much about human nature. We humans are active cognitive organisms; we are supposed to feel, respond, know, search, and express – we are supposed to be curious about the world. You are like a living dead if you don't feel that way.

To me, education is to satisfy our curiosity. But it seems education now is more like counter-education – students seldom know what they like in school; (I often ask students what they like.) they only know to prepare for the endless tests that will judge their worth. They spend most of their waking time cramming their brains; do they find time to digest what they learn? Do they have the chance to know what they like to do? When I was in the US, those high school students are free in the afternoon. Does that mean they will be less successful compared with their Taiwan counterparts? Luckily, I have many students so curious to gain knowledge through English. There I see hope.

Mount Everest is there, so is planet Mars that takes unmanned spacecraft 6 months to reach, and so is Saturn's mysterious satellite Titan that takes 7 years to get to. There are so many “Because it is there” things that await you to explore. It is strange if you don't feel the urge to.

We live because we learn; because our senses are constantly stimulated by new knowledge; and because our brains can be in an active state.
English can make our living potential to the fullest.


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