The Cost of Curiosity, with Seeta Sistla

“The more you understand a system, or a set of interlocking systems, the more curious you are about how they respond and behave to change.” ~ Seeta Sistla

When I read environmental sciences professor Seeta Sistla’s confrontation to the systemic costs of curiosity – a list that is as thought-provoking as it is long – I sent myself on a journey through challenged assumptions and weighted values.

This was, I imagine, exactly the effect she was hoping for.

What I Learned: A new word! Or, perhaps more likely, a word that finally penetrated and embedded itself in a profound way: anthropogenic: of, relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature  /ˌanTHrəpōˈjenik/ A word that is at the heart of Seeta’s thinking — and ought to be for the rest of us.

What I Loved: She rattled my cage, shook up my complacent self, and got me questioning my own “experiments” and their unintended costs and consequences.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #87: The Cost of Curiosity, with Seeta Sistla. 

Seeta is the third in my series of interviews with the contributing authors to the forthcoming anthology Curiosity Studies: A New Ecology of Knowledge (University of Minnesota Press, 2020).  Stay tuned for future episodes! Originally aired on WERA August 2019; refreshed for March 2023.

Photo by Chris Linder, used with permission

More about Seeta Sistla’s fascinating work here.

Check out the Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Washington DC.

Theme music by Sean Balick.  Check out Sean’s new album “From the Pines” .

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“My own curiosity to understand the mechanisms that drive the natural world has been inevitably shaped by the anthropogenic forces that ripple through every aspect of the Earth system.”

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