“I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students” (Carl Sagan).
OH, THAT WE COULD KEEP THE CURIOSITY WE HAD WHEN WE WERE CHILDREN! It’s such a shame to lose that sense of wonder, that eagerness to open doors and peek into new worlds. Would that we could somehow hang on to that openness to new life.
Curiosity can be unwisely exercised, of course. Some things are none of our business and other things would be detrimental for us to know. But tempered with a little good judgment, curiosity is a good thing. Uncurious people may be safe, but they’re also ignorant.
Truly curious people are proactive when it comes to learning. The things we need to know, or could profit from knowing, don’t usually track us down and impose themselves on our thinking; we have to get up and go look for them in likely places. Curiosity requires a bit of energy. It’s not for the lazy or the indifferent. “Be curious always! For knowledge will not acquire you; you must acquire it” (Sudie Back).
When we lose our curiosity, we stagnate. We become stale, uninteresting, and uninviting to our loved ones. “Curiosity,” as William A. Ward said, “is the wick in the candle of learning.” So for the sake of those around us, if not for our own sake, we need to keep ourselves curious. Daily, we need to inquire into things that can make us grow.
The moment we quit growing, we begin to die. That’s as true in the mental, spiritual, and emotional realms as it is in the physical. The old adage warns us that “curiosity killed the cat,” and it’s certainly true that foolish curiosity can get us into trouble. But wisely inquisitive people tend to live longer and remain stronger. And it’s not hard to guess why that’s true: curious people tend to be active. They’re folks who are reaching forward — using their muscles, stretching their capabilities, and invigorating themselves with fresh information whenever they can. So while a cup of oatmeal each morning may be a good idea, a cup of new knowledge every day is probably even better.
“In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways” (Edith Wharton).