I know the saying about the cat, but really I’m interested in who killed curiosity. I could probably blame standardized testing or the ability to know all instantly with the internet. Regardless of the suspect(s), I would like to advocate for regaining some respect for this concept.
For me, curiosity is a way of approaching the world. I believe it in our nature. We spend the first many years of life constantly wondering about the world, testing our theories, making careful observations. We drop food off of the high chair and observe the splatter. We figure out just the right ways to get our parents to react to us. Play is the primary way in which we find out about the world. Experimenting with everything and anything, we learn very quickly. Also noteworthy: play and curiosity are FUN.
I regained my appreciation for curiosity during my graduate school training. In my studies and field work, I could see the benefit of approaching my work with curiosity and not with a sense of authority. Every person who comes to my office has their own expertise, own resources and best solutions. I’m not the authority, I’m just the person to help guide them towards their own best vision. Yes, I provide information and observations, but my best tool is to help people see themselves and their situations in a new light.
When we come from a framework of curiosity, we remain open to all explanations, all potential outcomes. It is a highly creative way of interacting with the world and with others. It allows the courage to ask important questions when we don’t know the answers. Curiosity is knowing that you don’t know and being excited to find out all that you can.
I really love learning. It is so incredible all of the interesting things that people have studied, written about, and observed. A lot of satisfaction comes from being exposed to the findings of other disciplines and seeing how it relates to the topics I know about. Being curious about the world, about people, about the universe feels opening, freeing, and exciting to me. It helps to be able to begin to accept what cannot be known or controlled because that is antithesis of a curiosity-driven view. There is beauty in what we don’t yet know and in the process of trying to find out.
I wonder if curiosity may be the best tool in living a life of peace and satisfaction. But then again, I wonder a lot…