Curiosity is one of the reasons why humans managed to advance so much compared to any other species on this planet. It is inbuilt in our minds, if our surroundings don't curb it, we can remain curious throughout our lives, but in reality rarely this happens. Many things contribute to diminish our curious nature as we grow older. Children are way more curious compared to adults, and many times curios nature is attributed to being childish. Maybe adults think that they know it all and there is no need to be curious anymore. I am fortunate enough to not to fall in that group, I am gifted with a permanent curiosity gene, my curiosity remained fairly constant since my childhood, and this has payed a great dividends to me. I remember my kids used to watch a TV show "Curious George," a story of curious monkey who used to land in various troubles due to his hyper curios nature, I also loved that show as I am also a curios person. My curiosity might have landed me in trouble on few occasions, but by far it has benefited me way more than it put me in any trouble.
Curiosity helps me to remain active, I get interested in different things, some interest remain forever, and some wane with time and new interests replace them. This continuous flow of curiosity keeps me away from chronic boredom, it helps me to find something to read, watch, or do where I can learn something new, helps me to explore ideas or things which I never did before, it helps me to study various issues including the opinions which I don't support or agree. I can do all this because I am curios about many things including: why people believe in certain ideology, why they need religion, how science can help to solve our problems, what is the role of the law in our society, and many more things. My curiosity led me to read many different books, listen to many seminars, and research many topics. In this process I got to know many amazing personalities, either through the books, seminars, or via personal interactions. I would not have known these people without my curiosity, many of them taught me things which I value a lot, and I credit my curiosity for all this.
I encourage my kids to remain curios about various things and try to find answers on their own, I encourage them to take efforts to know as much as they can before forming any opinion about any issue. We should not follow any path blindly, don't be a Hindu just because your patents were Hindu, don't be a Republican (in the USA) or Congress supporter (in India) just because your parents used to support that party. Do your own research, analyze things on your own and then decide for yourself. This is a time consuming process, and a difficult route, but this is what I did, and this process has taught me many valuable lessons. The rewards of this process outweigh the difficulties associated with it. Remember, there is no substitute for hard work, ready-made answers are easy to get, but they are not the product of your own mind. If you want to churn out something from your own mind, then you need to go through the repetitive process of collecting and processing vast amount of information on your own, and without being curious one cannot perform this task enthusiastically. One of the lessons which I learned was that, there can be many right answers for some social and political issues, and there is no single ideology which can provide solution for all the problems. This also taught me the importance of diversity of opinion, importance of appreciating disagreement and encouraging debate. One cannot appreciate or understand diverse opinions without being curios about them, one can allow them to exist by being tolerant, but to really get benefited by diversity of opinions and ideas one needs to be curios about the views and ideas which are not our own.
My curiosity has taken to me new areas, exposed me to ideas and views to which I may not have been exposed if I would have remained complacent. It prompted me to take risks, challenge my traditional surroundings and my own beliefs, it encouraged me to charter different path than what most people chose to follow. I am not claiming that everyone's curiosity will produce the same result, but if it makes you to remain active and enthusiastic about life, why not to give it a try?
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
[Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]