4 Characteristics of a Scholar # 1– Am I curious? 學者的四個特質之一:我好奇嗎?

At some point, an academic writer should ask a fundamental question: Am I a scholar? Pursuit of an academic career will be in vain if a person is ill-suited for academia. Even students who are just passing through the realm are wise to examine if they are a good fit for academic scholarship. If not, the academic writing will forever be fitful and the writer frustrated. Hereafter are ways to examine thyself.

Characteristic # 1: Am I curious?

An old maxim is, curiosity killed the cat. It is a warning against being too inquisitive, about a person not poking his nose into affairs that don't concern him. It is decidedly the wrong counsel for a scholar and writer of scholarly material. Being curious is where scholarship begins, as a mind considers an unknown and methodically begins to explore it. There would be no scholarly discovery without curiosity, and there would be no scholarly curiosity without the intellectual satisfaction that comes from discovery.

Curiosity is as much a habit as a genetic gift. It is true that some people are born with an innate need to master a subject, to parse a topic till it gives up all its secrets. Yet life can instill in a person a sense of wonder that is as durable as anything rooted in instinct or genetic constitution. Being curious is a mental trait, after all, and good minds can be trained to function according to a person's will. If a person resolves to not stopping asking questions till all possibilities are exhausted, he becomes pragmatically curious.

The curious state of mind is easier to develop when a person is interested in a subject. Disinterest in a field of study might lead a young academic to conclude that he suffers from lack of curiosity. In fact, only Renaissance thinkers are truly interested in many areas of study. The rest of us are better off focusing on an area of inquiry that vitally interests us, for that is where the habit of curiosity can most easily be cultivated. Finding our intellectual niche lets us proceed unfettered in our quest for knowledge.


Posted at 2014-07-07 17:17:28

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