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Do worms sleep at night?

 

I had to think really hard on this question from a six-year old but attempts to make up a farfetched explanation was met with a sceptical look. I capitulated and said, hold on – I will “Google” it. I found they do not sleep like you and I. Rather they have inactive and active periods depending on the amount of stimuli around them. ’Poor worms, they must be tired’ was the comment that followed my do worms_sleep_at_nightresearch. Yes, maybe so. I had to admit I had never thought about it before. Then came another thought. I started to think about whether or rather how age makes us wonder less, ask fewer questions and become less critical and whether aging mean becoming set in our own ways?

You cannot teach new tricks to an old dog, they say. Does that mean that at some stage we get too old to learn? I really do not hope so. In fact, I dare say it is a bad excuse and pure laziness to say ’I am too old for this (meaning to change)’. Think about it. The world changes fast. If we get stuck in traditional ways of thinking, stop asking questions, stop wondering – we in fact stop welcoming new innovations in our lives. I seldom hear anyone saying; ‘I wonder if I wonder too much’, rather we often say ‘I have not thought about it’. That would mean we have not even come to the point of wondering. When we are against something or someone, it is sometimes based on lack of knowledge. We simply did not ask, did not wonder.

Children are a blessing. They ask many why’s and how’s and make us (re-)think everything from worms, to where the colours come from, to what the moon and stars are made of. Once upon a time, we asked the same questions. One should take it serious and encourage this curiosity. Curiosity and the many ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ are a key in any learning process. We should never stop learning. Not many years back in time garlic was an ill-smelling vegetable only used by similarly smelly immigrants as many incorrectly expressed it. At least so it was perceived in large parts of Europe. Where are we on the garlic-barometer today? We have all embraced the garlic and we all smell bad. It took a while though.

It also took a long time before women’s voting rights were fully accepted. It was not even up for discussion. Why would it be? It was clear – at that time – that women did not have the necessary capacity for thinking and far less voting (unfortunately certain parts of the world still suffer from such misconceptions). Indeed we have progressed, but still issues challenging our perceptions or standards keep coming. Keep asking questions, it is healthy. Rather ask ‘why’ than assuming you know the answer. Many mistakes and conclusion are made based on misperceptions and because we never bothered to wonder and ask ‘why’.

 


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