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Childhood Physics



When I was a child, I never thought of physics. I knew that it existed because I had babysitters in high school, but I never thought anything of it. I simply stayed in my own world, not letting science into my head, because there was no room for it. As I look back now, physics didn't exist to me. Of course it actually did exist, obviously, but not to me.

I would jump off a swing at the playground, I would throw a ball to a friend, I would kick a soccer ball to a teammate, I would ride on the yo yo at Seabreeze. Not physics, just common sense of what happened. There was nothing in my head that said, "I was just part of a projectile," "I was an object affected by circular motion," "There is tension on the rope."

I would enjoy a world where everything is as simple as it was. I would enjoy not knowing everything. And that is the innocence of a child. As John Locke assumed, we are born with a blank slate. As we grow and become educated, we add things to our slate. My slate is full of information now, and physics is a part of it.

Its a wonder what children think of. Children reason in wildly illogical ways about problems whose solutions seem self evident to adults. I don't remember what I thought what might explain the physics I didn't know. I assume it went something like this:

Jumping off a swing: I don't know. Because the swing was swinging that way

Throwing a ball: Because I threw it.

Kicking a soccer ball: Because I pushed it with my foot

Yo Yo at Seabreeze: I don't know. Just Because.

Childhood innocence is the source of much amusement


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