Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. ~Voltaire
Levels of allowable curiosity are dictated to us throughout our lives, and ultimately we become the dictators to curiosity seekers. As infants we are encouraged to explore our worlds. By the time we are toddlers, we are somewhat restrained. As teenagers we are forbidden. As adults, we are selective and set limitations.
I remember as a child being told to stop doing certain things because I might possibly get hurt or break something. I was instructed not to ask certain questions because it wasn’t acceptable or that people might think me odd. I remember feeling embarrassed and also stifled. Then, I turned around and did the very same things to my own children. I can not begin to tell you the stunts my kids pulled or the experiments they conducted all in the name of science. Often, I was game as long as I knew what it involved, no destruction to property, and no injury to them. However, if I walked in on one I wasn’t told about, it was usually trouble. I think they may have gotten shocked a time or two or had some foul mixture smoking in the house. We had telephones and computers taken apart and put back together. Most of the time quite successfully with only a screw or two left over! Then of course, there were many broken objects. I remember once my youngest breaking an umbrella as he was attempting to “parasail” down the street on his skateboard. Then there was the time Oldest pulled Youngest in the snow on a skateboard with his bike…that one made the local news with the reporter trying it and busting his rear!
What is it that shifts in our brains to cause this change, this lack of wonderment? Is it a time-released air of responsibility? Is it how we were raised? Is it the fear of the opinions of those around us? Why do we stop questioning? Why do we automatically accept the theories of others? Why do we assume they know more than we are capable of learning?
Curiosity is the root of the most wonderful and universal discoveries. Curiosity is the inventor of many great things. Curiosity has found cures for diseases. Curiosity is a cure for boredom. Curiosity goes where the level headed party pooper dares not to dive.
I suppose without some sort of restrictions, curiosity can be dangerous. Certain situations must be explored with proper precautions as there can be consequences such as chemical reactions or physical harm.
When does curiosity become nosiness? I think it is when the object of our curiosity turns from ideas to people. When we are more entertained by learning about our neighbors than learning how to do something new, we’ve traded in curiosity for nosiness. I think when we are more interested in the personal lives of celebrities than the wonders of the universe, we have crossed that line.
May the great minds of scientists, researchers, and others never stop wondering. May they continue to ask questions and seek answers. As long as we remain inquisitive, we are open to growth. May we each live with a healthy dose of curiosity inside. May we never stop reaching and learning.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. ~Albert Einstein
Sunday Scribblings prompt is “Curious”.