El dilema de la curiosidad y su uso

Albert Einstein alguna vez dijo: “No tengo ningún don especial, sólo soy apasionadamente curioso”. Es cierto que, con este comentario, Einstein estaba siendo profundamente modesto. Pero igualmente cierto es que la curiosidad es una poderosa fuerza motriz en el descubrimiento científico. De hecho, junto con el talento y el interés, así como la habilidad matemática u otro tipo de habilidades cuantitativas, la curiosidad es una característica necesaria de cualquier científico exitoso.

La curiosidad traiciona la pasión emocional. Es un estado en el que uno está involuntariamente atrapado por algo que es difícil de evitar y de lo cual, por no poder actuar de otra manera, uno sólo es responsable en un sentido limitado. Todos somos curiosos cuando llegamos al mundo y venimos equipados con el impulso psicológico de explorar el mundo y expandir el terreno que creemos dominar. No es accidental que un libro muy conocido sobre psicología del desarrollo lleve el título “El científico en la cuna”, un trabajo que traza los paralelos entre el comportamiento de los chicos pequeños y los procesos y estrategias de investigación que son habituales en la ciencia.

Sin embargo, la avidez de conocimiento que lleva a la curiosidad innata a trascender determinados horizontes alguna vez deja de ser desenfrenada. Los padres pueden contar más de una historia sobre cómo, al empezar el colegio, la actitud inquieta de sus hijos cambia rápidamente, ya que ahora deben concentrarse en objetos dictados por el programa escolar. De la misma manera, por más deseable que sea su capacidad para producir lo inesperado y lo imprevisible, la ciencia hoy no puede decir que no es responsable ante la sociedad.

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