Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Curious About Nature

Niko Tinbergen, Curious Naturalists (New York: Basic Books, 1958), chapter 16:
It seems to me that no man need be ashamed of being curious about nature. It could even be argued that this is what he got his brains for and that no greater insult to nature and to oneself is possible than to be indifferent to nature.


Scientific examination naturally requires concentration, a narrowing of interest, and the knowledge we gained through this has meant a great deal to us. But it has become increasingly clear to me how valuable have been the long periods of relaxed, unspecified, uncommitted interest.


The curious naturalist often feels sorry for those of his fellow-men who miss such an experience; and miss it unnecessarily, because it is there, to be seen, all the time. Nor is reading about it anything more than a poor substitute; direct, active observation is the only real thing.
Related post: The Investigation of Nature.

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