speech: carl sagan – on education (1996)
footage: “Doc” McNally butler county historical society, Nebraska, 1929
music&edit: erinç durlanık (2022)
“Every now and then, I’m lucky enough to teach a kindergarten or first-grade class. Many of these children are natural-born scientists – although heavy on the wonder side and light on scepticism. They’re curious, intellectually vigorous. Provocative and insightful questions bubble out of them. They exhibit enormous enthusiasm. I’m asked follow-up questions. They’ve never heard of the notion of a ‘dumb question’.
But when I talk to high school seniors, I find something different. They memorize ‘facts’. By and large, though, the joy of discovery, the life behind those facts, has gone out of them. They’ve lost much of the wonder, and gained very little scepticism. They’re worried about asking ‘dumb’ questions; they’re willing to accept inadequate answers; they don’t pose follow-up questions; the room is awash with sidelong glances to judge, second-by-second, the approval of their peers.”