In a world where curiosity is highly esteemed, we can find it quite hard to picture a time when this particular trait was condemned and declared sinful. But hard as it may be, it was! For curiosity is the thirst for knowledge, the pursuit of the forbidden fruit. It is what drove Pandora to open a box she was not supposed to open, thus releasing evil on Earth.
But how could anyone tame the human thirst for knowledge?
The world as we know it would not have been possible were it not for the brave and curious scientists, men and women alike, who defied all kinds of higher powers in order to observe and understand every aspect of life. Even more so today, inquisitive minds from all over the world are working hand in hand to bring further explanations to the inner mechanisms of the universe and the laws that govern it. The human body, one of the biggest mysteries known to man, is probably the most researched subject in the world!
While it has been observed amongst apes, cats and rodents, I do not think curiosity will ever be as thorough and introspective for any other species as it is for us humans.
If you think about it, it is quite the feat to exist, to be aware of our own existence, to reflect upon it and question it.
Could it be that curiosity, which lead us to our own demise according to the Genesis, is what defines us as a species? Could it be that our quest to know all, heralded as a virtue today, shall lead us to our own demise tomorrow? Aren’t these questions a certain form of curiosity, about us as entities, about our origin(s), about the future?
We suddenly find ourselves at the roundabout of philosophy, evidential existentiality, into which I shall not dare to venture! I shall only add the following: is curiosity the impetus to philosophy? In a broader sense, is curiosity the impetus to reflection? Or… is it the other way around?
Last but not least, if cogito ergo sum, where is the harm in being curious?
As Einstein said, “the important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
- “The Flight of Curiosity”, by Justin E. H. Smith – Opinionator
- “Does Curiosity Kill More Than the Cat?”, by Stanley Fish – Opinionator
- “Curiosity at the Castle Museum” – Celebrating Norwich, Norfolk
- “Curiosity: How Science Became Interested In Everything”, by Philip Ball (Book)