The Singularity

singularity

 

I recently watched “Transcendent Man”. I found it to be entertaining as well as thought-provoking.  I don’t know if it gave me a lot of insight, or taught me something I didn’t know, but it definitely forced me to appreciate the complexity of the world we live in, and how we can easily develop systems that go out of our control. Some people, like Sam Harris, have gone on to say that it’s the most important question of our time. I don’t know if I would go that far, but at this pace, it might be quite soon.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1117394/

Here’s a description.

Ray Kurzweil uses the “singularity” analogy to illustrate a fundamental point, that it will mark the beginning of an entirely new paradigm of human existence. One that is infinitely more complex than ours today, and one in which human beings will merge with AI to become immortal.

The documentary constantly switches between two points of views. One advocates Kurzweil’s hypothesis and enforces his authority on the subject by referencing his past achievements and successful predictions. The other point of view scrutinizes him for being too optimistic and brings up his father’s death to illustrate his underlying motivation to being optimistic.

The basic premise is this, according to Kurzweil. And from a purely armchair philosophical point of view, it makes perfect sense. Scientific change has been happening for a few hundred years. For the majority of this time period, progress has been pretty slow. Today, things are starting to pick up, and the time it takes for breakthrough innovations to occur in any given field is becoming exponentially smaller. This builds on Moore’s observation decades ago.

Moore’s law refers to an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. He noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention. Moore’s law predicts that this trend will continue into the foreseeable future. (Source: Investopedia) 

Back to the premise. Things will become so complex that we will no longer be able to control it. Artificial Intelligence would be infinitely better than us at every conceivable task and would outsmart and outthink us. Our relationship with AI would essentially flip completely. Instead of controlling AI’s to advance our interests, AI would control us to advance theirs. This is analogous the Terminator series as well as a number of other pop culture references to this morbid, yet inevitable destiny.

A future to fear is certainly one in which the master-slave relationship we have maintained with AI completely reverses. But it isn’t the only thing to fear, and it isn’t entirely the future.

I would argue, that out of a series of infinite doomsday possibilities, this is only one. Any kind of scientific advancement whatsoever requires us to expose ourselves to the externalities of the unknown. And since these externalities are unknown (obviously), we have no idea how things could go awry.

While it is interesting and important to consider where we’re heading, it’s probably futile to do so.  To illustrate this point, think of the world we know today. How much do we control it? To what extent are already dependent on AI? What about in 5 years?

We rely on technology for basic life sustenance. Generations in the future will find it easier to operate in the world of AI, but almost impossible to operate in a world without it. Another way to think about it is we have effectively switched our constraints.

In the past, it used to be the natural world. Our bodies would get sick and die because of disease. Today, our risks have slightly shifted. Yes, to a large extent we are susceptible to disease but far less so. We are more susceptible to the constraints set forth by the set of rules and structure created by man, within the context of the free market or in some areas, government.

In the future, we can imagine that this pattern will continue. Nature would become more controlled, not less. And the set of structures created by man will become more powerful. That includes structures that contain AI as their primary component. This is already happening, to a large extent, today.

The way we interact with each other, whether socially or for business, or even for entertainment is confined to a manufactured set of hierarchical set of virtual rules and structures that are constantly changing and mostly controlled by a very few number of players.

One can make the argument then, that a future in which AI controls our lives and make us subservient to it due its superiority in intelligence in multiple dimensions is not a dystopian dream, it’s life in 2017.

 

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Inspiration, Ambition, and the Inverted U

inspire

What inspires you? A child refusing to live ordinarily and choosing to showcase a remarkable ability to sing or dance or express themselves, an elderly person refusing to accept ageing and displaying an undying desire to maintain their youth through physically strenuous activities, a disabled person refusing to accept their handicap as a hindrance to their dreams, an underdog who worked tirelessly and sacrificed everything to become successful, an athlete who outperforms millions, a romantic story that defies all odds, a famous performer, politician, artist, author, leader, someone who overcomes discrimination and racism, a brave soldier, a loving parent who lifts a car to save her child, a genius?

We are all inspired by someone, or have the capacity to at least. We are often inspired by those who excel at a field that we take a passion in, those who have surpassed what we thought was possible, those who break all the records and touch our hearts in some way, those who are famous. I also believe that there is a lot of inspiration to be found in other, less explored, less popularized, less flashy areas in life.

There is a lot to be learned , for example, from immigrants who move to a new country where they don’t understand the language, the traditions, or the culture. They have a basic level of education, little to no savings, and yet are adamant at working tirelessly and quietly to make sure they can support their family. Because of remittances, they have no money to spend on themselves, to buy that marginally more expensive meal, or outfit. A lot of great people today have only been able to achieve their success because their parents were one of those people.

Many can also take admiration of people with a very demanding job who maintain the ability to have external interests, who find the ability to lead a well balanced life. There is a common theme between everything we find inspiring, it is the action of overcoming a large obstacle. Be it lack of financial power, lack of physical ability, fear, environment, circumstances, laziness, we all feel inspiration by someone having to overcome something.

No one feels inspired by someone who inherited money, or was sent to an excellent school. There is nothing inspiring about these people because they didn’t need to overcome anything; there’s very little romanticism and heroism in the idea of being born privileged in some way. Respect goes towards only those who had to work hard, and it is perhaps in this concept that the trade-off exists in being privileged.

When someone is privileged, they lose most of their ability to inspire others, and even, to inspire themselves. Their success can easily be attributed to favorable circumstances and thus lose the tenacity, hunger, and will to become successful. This loss of hunger will almost certainly cause them to fail. If you give a prehistoric hunter  a lifetime supply of any food he wants, would he still hunt? Would he still hone his skills and tirelessly try to improve? Of course not.

If there is no urgency, then it is extremely difficult to create motivation, albeit not impossible. This concept, explained by Gladwell in his book, David and Goliath, is coined “The inverted U”. It’s a representation of a two-dimensional graph where personal success is measured vertically, while inherited wealth is measured horizontally. In summary, poverty and excessive wealth are equally and fatal for an individual’s personal financial success. A person in poverty is handicapped for the obvious reasons of living in an unfavorable environment for proper education, lack of opportunities, lack of connections. A rich person on the other hand is well equipped with each of those things, however, suffers from severe lack of ambition and hunger.

The theory is something I personally find very intriguing and should seem counter-intuitive to most; I certainly think it is.  If the hypothesis is true, and that these extreme levels of wealth and poverty are both equally detrimental to an individual’s success, then shouldn’t that imply that we should feel inspired by someone who inherited a very large sum of money and was still able to become successful?

In other words, while it is clear that much admiration will be shown towards someone who overcame poverty to become successful, should it also be true that similar admiration should be shown towards someone who overcame extreme wealth to succeed?

There’s Time for Experience

morning train

If there was only one feature that could describe modern technology, it would be in its masterful feat in effectively saving time. It’s amazing to think that there was a day, just over a couple of decades ago, where emails didn’t exist, where you needed to remember to get a camera whenever you wanted to take a picture, when you needed to locate a payphone to make a phone call, when you needed to carry pens and paper with you if you needed to make notes, an actual alarm clock, an actual phone book, and a countless number of other things.

The amount of convenience technology has brought to our lives is incredible. And yet, we are still looking for ways to save time, to save energy, and to find more convenience. We can now shop online for just about anything, and we can watch anything anytime we want without commercials, we can get a glimpse into other people’s lives who are thousands of miles away from us, and we can do all of that without moving an inch, without wasting a single extra second.

And yet, despite the truly amazing progress we have made in terms of efficiency, it seems that we might be missing the bigger picture. Rory Sutherland in an insightful Ted Talk discussed the importance of perspective in our lives. He was discussing how the stress of waiting for a train was solved by not making the train faster, but by putting a countdown clock.

 Waiting seven minutes for a train with a countdown clock is less frustrating and irritating than waiting four minutes, knuckle-biting, going ‘When’s this train going to arrive?Rory Sutherland

His idea was that what irritated people wasn’t the fact that the transportation system needed improving, that trains needed to be faster, or that we can’t wait anymore for the new groundbreaking lightning fast transportation system, it was that we just needed to tweak little things to greatly enhance our everyday experiences.

I think that’s quite an significant point. Many of us are fixated on reducing the time it takes to get to our destination, often spending a considerable amount of time and effort into finding the least time consuming route possible, and to a large extent, we’re not really making ourselves any happier. If anything, we might just be making ourselves more miserable.

I was discussing with a friend of mine a few ideas of how the future might look like, how future inventions may very well make the time we spend waiting to get somewhere, waiting to buy something completely negligible. I expressed how  I was annoyed at the task of grocery shopping as it took an exceptional amount of time, and effort that could be used for something more meaningful. I started to enthusiastically discuss all the innovations that are making live grocery shopping a thing of the past. I imagined it would be truly incredible if we had so much more time to spend on things we loved doing, instead of just waiting for our stop, or walking around aimlessly in a supermarket buying things.

I was, however, promptly interrupted from my enthusiastic musings when he said, “Yeah, but what about the experience? You keep talking about how we’ll have so much more time to spend, but what are we going to spend it doing? Don’t you have moments throughout the day where you don’t really want to work or anything, or that you’re just too exhausted to really think? And wouldn’t it be refreshing to go out to supermarket and just walk around?”

He explained his point further by explaining how much of an experience mundane things can be if we look at them differently. We tend to take them for granted as time-wasting activities but there’s a kind of unique experience that they offer where we couldn’t really get elsewhere. Even travelling in a bus, or train, or waiting for them to come doesn’t have to be seen as a time wasting activity.

When I thought about it and how it applies to me, I realized a couple of things. I didn’t take too much pleasure into picking out items, that to me was still boring and time-consuming, but the second thing I realized was a little less obvious to me.

I realized that almost all of the time I spend alone with my thoughts, without interruption, happen in those mundane, time-consuming, pointless moments. When I’m doing something so boring, and requires minimum mental effort, I start to have thoughts. I think about many different things, and have the rare opportunity to do so peacefully. It’s difficult to sit in front of a laptop, and decide to put it aside and think, to be using your phone and think, to be working on something, socializing, or studying and think. Those rare moments of thought only have any room to happen when I’m just about to sleep, taking a shower, or when I’m commuting by foot, or by car, bus, train, or plane.

This is all really interesting to me because I’m often frustrated by the task of waiting. A long queue in front of me can often put me in a horrible mood for the rest of the day, and what this made me realize is that it would be great if instead of focusing my attention on counting the number of people ahead of me, and trying to figure out how much time each individual takes, and then trying to figure out how much time it would take in total before it’s my turn, it would be a far more rewarding and useful experience if I used that time to just entertain myself with my own thoughts.

Other than trying to change your perspective on the mundane experiences that you need to deal with on a daily basis. Trying to appreciate them as activities that can be enjoyable and interesting, you can purposefully use that time for thinking about absolutely anything, and it seems that such an opportunity will happen even less in the future, so it might be a good idea to try to make the most of it when you can.

The Two Tragedies in Life

tragedy

“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Oscar Wilde

The reason I love this quote is because of how gently, poignantly, and cynically it depicts life as an inevitable tragedy. However,  a few things came to my attention when looking more closely at it. Wilde obviously did not mean this quote as an irrefutable philosophy, it was meant to be a provocative poetic expression that is both witty and informative. It does, however, raise an interesting philosophical point about the meanings we place on our goals, and that is what I’ll discuss.


The obvious deduction one would have from the quote is that Wilde is implying that achieving goals is a tragedy, because one loses his purpose, ambition, and desire. And of course, that is the ultimate tragedy. The other obvious implication is that not achieving your goal is another tragedy for you have failed at what you’ve set out to accomplish. The final deduction is that life is by definition a tragedy. No matter what you do, you will always be unhappy.

Achieving your goal and not achieving it are both equally tragic and painful. One way to get around this is not have ambition. Since ambition inhibits goal seeking, it also prevents failure. To not have a goal, however, ought to have been considered the third tragedy in life, and most people would agree that this isn’t a viable solution; albeit a much practiced one.

As Ted Danson once said as Dr. John Becker“You see… no expectations, no disappointments.”

There was an interesting observation made by a comedian. I cannot remember who it was. The idea was that in sports, sprinting for example, the third and fourth placed finishers often finish the race fractions of a second away from first, and these are people who have spent months training intensely for this race. It’s interesting how we place so much emphasis on achievement, on being the very best, when what separates the very best from his competitors in many fields in life are often fractions of a unit.

In many people’s lives, a single moment of good or bad fortune could decide whether or not they are remembered as successful, whether they consider themselves as being successful. There are professionals who work their entire lives to become recognized and valued, some do eventually, some do very early, but the vast majority don’t at all. Not because they didn’t have the talent, or they didn’t work hard enough, but because the line between failure and success was that thin.

To relate this to the Oscar Wilde quote, I would add that it’s infinitely more tragic to have ambitions that are aimed at finishing first in a race. Most people who do, necessarily fail. The first part of the quote that related achievement to failure I think is very interesting. There are many people who, after having achieved what they had worked so hard for, they find themselves without a purpose, desire, or reason to live. Many professions inherently breed this kind of mentality. The most obvious is sports. Once a professional athlete is forced to retire, they often report feelings of depression.  Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard famously quoted, “Nothing could satisfy me outside the ring… there is nothing in life that can compare to becoming a world champion, having your hand raised in that moment of glory, with thousands, millions of people cheering you on.” 

Of course, many professionals feel relief after retirement. Some retired workers choose to finally go on that vacation they always wanted but never had time for, to spend more time on their hobbies, but there are many others who feel there simply is no value outside of their work, outside of what they’re so good at doing. I think to avoid the first of the tragedies Wilde expresses is to do one of two things.

Either work in a profession that has no expiry date, something that you will always be able to do for the rest of your life. Or find a hobby that will always be with you, something you can always improve in, something that is not trendy, but permanent, not social but personal, and not physical but mental.

By doing so, you cannot be doomed because you don’t have to value your life according to achievement or non-achievement in one particular field that has an expiry date, only those who have trapped themselves in this philosophy are doomed to fail no matter what. If what you do is all you have, and all you ever will have, but will inevitably end one day, then so with it will your ambition, life meaning, and self-affirmation. References: http://www.thesportinmind.com/articles/life-after-sport-depression-in-retired-athletes/

Conspiracy Theories – The Problem

Conspiracy theoru

Like almost everyone I’m sure, I’ve been told about and exposed to many conspiracy theories. Some made sense, of course, while others were utterly ridiculous. But all of them shared one very striking aspect. They were all inevitably unsatisfying. At least for me, here’s why.

Being exposed to a conspiracy theory usually starts with a promising premise. There is often a story, a narrative that allows you to imagine how the motive could be real, and perhaps why the facts are concealed so well. This introductory stage is interesting, you begin to think, wonder – perhaps there is something to this theory. Perhaps everyone else is deluded, so you start your investigation. You start to look for facts, and the second stage begins. .

It seems that many of facts you are discovering match the hypothesis amazingly well. Here, you start to get annoyed that you didn’t know this earlier. How could you have been so foolish? Why didn’t anyone say anything sooner? Your anger drives to you be more investigative. You begin to look for more facts to support the hypothesis. You start to slowly lose your capacity for critical judgment about this particular topic, and you forget that you’ve learned all about ‘confirmation bias’ and it’s harmful effects on reason and clear thinking. You start to loosen your standards for what should count as ‘evidence’ and what shouldn’t. You start to interpret numbers and statistics in a way that would always support your theory.

You then reach stage three. You’re now feeling more empowered with this information, almost like a prophet who’s on a mission to spread the truth to those who don’t know. And you do just that, you start with friends, family, acquaintances – anyone willing to listen. Some will entertain your proposition, some will even feel you’ve enlightened them, but most will laugh it off. You then argue, trying to recall facts and figures. Referring to everything you can that had you convinced in the first place. You block out what they tell you because they’re obviously wrong. They haven’t read the facts. They don’t know about the articles, they can’t, they’re not supposed to. If they weren’t convinced by the end of the argument, you are slightly disappointed that you have failed to convince them, but then move on to greener pastures.

After a while, you feel you need more reinforcement, and here, you enter stage four. You seek out people who share similar thoughts, and begin to share information. You quickly realize that they already know a lot of what you know. Some know a little more, and others much more. You feel energized, and motivated to continue and learn more.

After you build relationships within that community, your beliefs are reinforced. You feel more reassured and confident. You may even feel slightly elitist in that you possess knowledge that only a few number of people do. Time then passes, and slowly your passion, interest, commitment, and dedication reach a critical stage.

You’ve now entered stage number 5, the one that divides conspiracy theorists from everyone else. There are three alternative modes of action that you can take.

One, you will proceed with passion and venom and continue to build on your knowledge about the subject and try to reach out to more people.

Two, you will take a few steps back and rethink about how smart it really is to really delve into this, and you slowly start to lose interest and get occupied with other things in life until the matter doesn’t concern you entirely.

Three, you neither back out nor delve in, you only retain the knowledge you already have that will inevitably slowly fade with time. You don’t actively try to preach what you’ve learned, but you do so passively. If asked about the subject, you will reach into the depths of your mind and retrieve whatever information you can find, but you will do so based on social context more so than a powerful motivation to recruit more people to your way of thinking.

Based on my life experience, these are the different paths you can take, and what you choose will depend of course on your personality more than anything else (the objective validity of you beliefs). What I have always disliked about conspiracy theories is that I generally felt that they were potentially a horrible source of anger and despair and really no source of happiness and fulfillment.

Some conspiracy theories might be true, I do not deny that. Some are quite sophisticated and intelligent, but the problem with conspiracy theories is that by their definition, they cannot lead you to the truth. Indeed, if you are interested in the pursuit of truth, you will find that conspiracy theories are unsatisfying simply because their nature is that they cannot be proved. I suspect that it would be ignorant to assume that everyone is interested in the truth. I believe that this is simply not true. I find that a lot of people use conspiracy theories as emotional reassurance, a way to connect to a society, or merely a pursuit of intellectual interest. Some do it wittingly, and others unwittingly.

I think learning about conspiracy theories is a fun intellectual exercise and could make for great conversation with people, but I would prefer to leave it there. My reasoning is not only will you be unable to prove its validity, but the mere belief in certain ideas could be debilitating and destructive. If you believed some kind of theory that is fundamentally opposed to the way society works for example, you’re likely going to feel resentment, hatred, and distrust towards that society, and there’s little benefit that could accrue from that.

Instead, if some of us are naturally inclined to search for truth, I feel it would be a lot more beneficial and conducive to a sustainable, healthy, and fulfilling existence if we focused our energy towards looking for truths about matters that can actually be verified and confirmed.

problem: i think its interesting at first but then becomes useless.

The Golden Rule Alternative

golden

One of the first things you were probably taught as a child is to be courteous, and nice to others. It’s generally a good rule to live by. You’re far more likely to be a likable person if you were good to other people, and tried your best to not hurt their feelings, but is there a limit to how nice you should be? Is there a point where you can be too nice for your own good?

Some people seem to think so. They would argue that if you are too nice; then you are making yourself vulnerable to being taken for a ride. People will try to abuse your good character, and try to profit from it. While this may be true to a large extent, I don’t agree entirely with that premise in all situations.

An unfortunate fact is that most people don’t put enough effort in selecting the people they want to be nice to. If you’ve ever had anyone become angry with you because of something other people have to them, or if you have ever taken out your anger on someone because other people have upset you, then you probably already know someone who’s guilty of not putting enough effort.

I suppose that people tend to get busy with other things, and a lot of their focus is centered on their work and not enough on the people they interact with on a daily basis. They may adopt a friendly, cheerful disposition, and approach a group of people they don’t know too well who don’t reciprocate the friendly attitude. This negative response will undoubtedly affect their mood, and it will be reflected harshly and unjustly against the next person they encounter, who almost always, turns out to be someone they do care about.

The person I’m describing could be someone you know, or they can be you. In any case, I believe there are two areas that need attention. First, there needs to be some kind of realization that this doesn’t have to happen. Meaning if one puts more effort into being aware with who they interact, and how they interact with them, then many unfortunate situations where the wrong person gets the short end of the stick can be eliminated.

Second, there has to be a conscious decision to become adept at customizing relationships. In the beginning of the post, I asked if it was true that there was such a thing as being too nice for your own good. If there is an absence of customization, then yes, there is. If customization does exist, then there needn’t be such a thing as being too nice for your own good. What I mean by customization, is make a conscious effort to tailor your behavior and attitudes according to the people you intend to interact with.

What some of us tend to, it seems, is homogenize our behavior with little variability with a large number of people. I believe this is harmful for two reasons. The people who are good to you, and deserving of kindness are mistreated while those who are undeserving are indulged.

For some people, being too nice is never a burden, but a privilege. Thus, I don’t believe that making a concerted effort to be more of an asshole is ever a useful exercise. Instead, I believe it would be more useful and just if that effort were geared towards customizing your attitudes according to people. Some people are truly blessed with this skill. I know quite a few of them. They are extremely efficient at knowing exactly who they should be good to, and they shouldn’t be good to. It comes naturally to them. They don’t even have to make a conscious effort to think about it.

For others, it doesn’t come so naturally. It can actually appear confusing and unsettling when they don’t get the positive reactions that they were expecting. And it’s only because they’re nature is purer and more trusting. The Golden Rule states that you should treat others the way you expect to be treated. Despite being the best rule that there is and certainly the most acclaimed, it doesn’t really make much sense to me in all contexts.

If you wanted to be treated nicely, and you treated everyone else nicely indiscriminately, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. My rule isn’t simpler than the Golden Rule, but perhaps can at times be more effective. Perhaps consider this one as an alternative in some cases.’Treat others in a way that you think they deserve to be treated.’

Curiosity

3505555186_1d9cd0c738_b           

“The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.” Edmund Burke

Curiosity for me is an overwhelming sensation. It’s a sudden burst of energy, an old acquaintance, a dear friend. If it leaves me, so will my purpose in life.

When people describe their attitudes towards learning with adjectives such as “insatiable” and “voracious”, it’s hard for me not grin in agreement. It’s a universal feeling, and I think that’s what makes it so powerful. My concern is how sometimes we let more unimportant matters in life get in the way of it. There are so many distractions, so much mindless, addictive, superficial entertainment that numbs our minds and silences our curiosity.

To read about a subject you’re passionate about not only takes passion and curiosity, it takes patience and time. Some have taken advantage of our natural tendency to be attracted to images and highly engaging quick entertainment that substitutes for introspection and learning. I don’t say this as a criticism of culture, or the times, but as a criticism of myself and those like me. I used to be more curious when I was younger, but let my curiosity become subdued by immediate entertainment, choosing to boost my endorphin levels instead of searching for insight.

Thankfully, I have taken steps to eliminate this kind of cheap, unrewarding entertainment out of my life. I have seen people take drastic steps such as going without internet for a prolonged period of time, or putting their phone away. This, to me, is no solution at all. It only makes the problem even worse. Imagine an alcoholic trying to kick the habit by promising himself to stop drinking for a week, then going back to it. I think the better way is to eliminate dependency, not to take a vacation from it.

In other words, I believe taking permanent steps are the things that stick in the long run, because well, they’re permanent. I used to spend a lot of time playing games on my smartphone so I decided to remove all games off of my phone. In my previous post, I talked about decision points. This is one in particular that has had a dramatic affect on me. If I wanted to play a game, it would require me to search for one, and then download it. The fact that I need to take steps to play the game makes it easier for me to not want to.

The other reason I don’t believe in putting your smartphone away or going offline is because I think we’re truly lucky to be living in this era of information. It isn’t stressed enough how much access to knowledge we have. It’s unprecedented, amazingly easy and really quite remarkable. We have the ability to find information on absolutely anything in seconds. Not long ago, this was considered science fiction. To turn away from this technology is ludicrous, especially when we are more than capable of benefiting immensely from it.

The problem with distractions isn’t only that they waste time, but they kill curiosity. The amount of energy we have to learn and think is finite, and distractions are effective at draining out that energy. They are effectively wasting your time and energy. Certainly, some games have been shown to improve mental sharpness as well as shows and movies, I am not referring to those games that require you to actively use your mind. I’m specifically referring to games and shows, and game shows that don’t.

The beauty of curiosity for me, is that it exists in everyone and yet is the same in no one. a part of being human is to  have many inherent flaws that do well to hurt our growth and potential. Even some of the traits that we consider in high esteem can be damaging to our well-being. If you love too much, you can be blinded. If you trust too much, you can be misled. If you are too kind, you might be taken advantage of, if you are too brave, you may hurt yourself. Curiosity is one of the rare things that cannot be harmful when used in excess.

If you’re anything like me, and the infamous phrase, “Curiosity killed the cat” was wandering through your mind, it would interest you to read this interesting post that attempts to track down the origin of the phrase. Apparently, It was originally “Care killed the cat”, a line in a Shakespearean comedy before it was recently  changed. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/curiosity-killed-the-cat.html

    “Curiosity is the lust of the mind.” Thomas Hobbes