ART & ORGANISM
NEED TO KNOW
“All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves…”–Aristotle (Metaphysics, Book 1)[i] (note that these are distinct kinds of things: Aristotle distinguishes “things that are good in themselves” from “useful things,” the sensual, the aesthetic… (Nicomachean Ethics 1:6) (art used to be called autotelic—self-reinforcing.)
“Knowledge is Power.” “All of us have felt the pleasure of acquiring information—a view of a dramatic landscape, a conversation with a friend, or even a good magazine article, can all be profoundly gratifying. But why is this so? What makes these experiences so pleasurable? // We believe that the enjoyment of such experiences is deeply connected to an innate hunger for information: Human beings are designed to be “infovores.” It’s a craving that begins with a simple preference for certain types of stimuli, then proceeds to more sophisticated levels of perception and cognition that draw on associations the brain makes with previous experiences. When the hunger becomes even moderately starved, boredom sets in.” (Biederman, Irving & Vessel, Edward A. 2006). The neuroscience of this hunger for knowledge is becoming known: see more on infovory
MEETING NEEDS can be satisfying, even intensely pleasurable How NEEDS and STRESS are related [A real-or-perceived challenge to meeting a real-or-perceived NEED evokes more-or-less of stress response (which “energizes” organism’s resources (motivational systems) to cope with challenge and restore homeostasis]
HOW does the NEED to KNOW fit in with our biological interpretation of Maslow’s NEED HIERARCHY?
[i] Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book I, 980a.21. 350 BC http://www.classicallibrary.org/aristotle/metaphysics/index.htm
[ii] Infovory. Biederman, Irving & Vessel, Edward A. (2006) Perceptual Pleasure and the Brain. American Scientist. 94(3), 247-253. [PDF] http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/num2/2006/3/perceptual-pleasure-and-the-brain/1 A neurobehavioral elaboration of Aristotle: “All men by nature desire to know.” (Metaphysics, Book 1)