Curiosity is one of the most necessary and vital aspects of our humanity. When we let it fall to the wayside, we do an injustice not only to the discoveries we might make but also to future generations. The cultivation of a desire to learn new things seems easy, but in reality, it takes real effort to put this into practice.
Stay fresh, challenge your mind and allow yourself to dive into the things you haven’t yet learned.
In Ian Leslie’s book, Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, he discusses the power of curiosity and how important it is to keep pursuing answers. He analyzes the difference between a puzzle and a mystery and argues that both are necessary, yet they are also very different. While a puzzle has a definite answer, a mystery is more ambiguous—and we, as humans, need to retain our interest in the mysterious aspects of our universe. Questions about religion and philosophy shouldn’t be discarded for more concrete facts. These queries are just as important to the fulfillment of human beings as the answers found in science and math.
Curiosity is ironic because it is peaked by accessing and gaining knowledge. In order to become curious about something, we must first learn about it. When we do, we realize we are lacking additional information. Leslie argues that when we know something, we can conclude that we don’t know everything. This makes us hungry for more.
In our digital age, it is easy to get any tidbit or detail we need in a matter of seconds. We don’t even have to type anymore and can simply speak to our handheld phone and ask it to look something up for us.
“Here’s what I found…” Siri cheerily announces. Sure, it still requires a millisecond—or two—of patience and often the results are completely off from what we were expecting, but it gives us a portion. We can stop there if we want, but we shouldn’t. We should use this one piece and use it to collect more.
When we open our eyes to our lack of knowledge and understand our weaknesses, we allow room to grow and see the world in new ways.
Leslie quotes Merlyn from The Once and Future King when discussing the importance of education to our well-being.
When we open our eyes to our lack of knowledge and understand our weaknesses, we allow room to grow and see the world in new ways
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails…Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.”
And it is for you, too. May you never stop.