I came across this address while reading, “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman,” and I thought it too good to not pass along. It was given back in 1966 and I found it as relevant today as it was back then.
…a man cannot live beyond the grave. Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the [human] race–now that it is aware of the disease to which it is liable–does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but it does pass on the accumulated wisdom, plus the wisdom that it may not be wisdom.
It is necessary to teach both to accept and to reject the past with a kind of balance that takes considerable skill. Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.
What is Science?
What is science? It is common sense! Or is it? In April 1966 the master teacher delivered an address to the Nation Science Teachers’ Association in which he gave his fellow teachers lessons on how to teach their students to think like a scientist and how to view the world with curiosity, open-mindedness, and, above all, doubt. This talk is also a tribute to the enormous influence Feynman’s father – a uniforms salesman – had on Feynman’s way of looking at the world.