This article is inspired by the Christchurch Rotary Charity Quiz on 7th May at the Twynham school.
Let’s start with a confession – I do not like quizzes. My husband Adrian is quite the opposite – he loves them and he is good at them. However, I really enjoy going to quizzes (always with Adrian, otherwise I will significantly drag the team’s score down) when they are for charity, like the one we attended yesterday. Here is Adrian talking about it.
The charity quiz has been organised by Rotarian Paul Mills and his wife Jean for more than 40 years and the money raised donated to many local charities over the years. Yesterday, the organisation was impeccable, the atmosphere was great with 15 teams, good raffle prizes and quite difficult questions. All good and I will inform you about the amount of money raised. The only downfall was that our team came last, an honourable position as someone has to be last. We were good losers.
People go to quizzes for different reasons: to challenge their memory, to put their brain to work, to have fun and feel the camaraderie of a team, to experience the excitement of the competition and the desire to win. They do not know what else to do in their leisure time and it is an excuse to have a drink – all very valid reasons.
As a person with a not-so-good memory, I do not really understand the purpose of quizzes – the Internet and IPhones have made our lives very easy and comfortable – I just need to Google or to speak to Siri and I immediately know what I need to know, I do not need to remember it.
Philosophical questions about quizzes
And here we come to the philosophical and scientific questions – does evolution have direction and is the direction from more simple to more complex and skilled formats? It appears not. Darwin and the evolution theory are clear – evolution is about surviving. Only the most adapted to the environment organisms survive and that could mean losing skills or more compounded features. A great example is penguins. They are birds but they lost their ability to fly as they developed more fat in their body to survive the severe cold of their surroundings.
Turning to people and our ability/skill to read maps and being orientated. I listened to the TED talk “How your language shapes the way you think”. It is about people Kuuk Thaayorre who live at the very west edge of Cape York . They do not have a concept of “left”and “right”, instead they use the cardinal directions – north, south, east and west. So, they will say something like “You have an ant on your southwest leg”. However, they are the most orientated people in the world, in a way we did not think it possible. But we, we are forgetting how to read maps (on the other hand, many marriages are safe). We just use the Google map on our iPhones or the car’s SatNav.
Recently, even I as a strong digital supporter was shocked to discover that a young girl (generation Z) could not read the clock on the wall. She did not have an idea what is “quarter to 7”, the reason being she only was exposed to digital watches. Another lady in the company confirmed that her grandson (school age) also cannot read mechanical clocks.
So where are we heading to? Where is evolution taking human beings? Will people in the 22nd century be able to love and enjoy quizzes?