Of all the human virtues, curiosity is one of the best. It stimulates the mind to explore, examine and to forage into the unknown. It is the liniment of life-long learning. It excites possibilities and provides satisfaction in discovery.
There can be downfalls. The child who plunges a fork into an electric socket; the adolescent who injects an illicit drug; the adult who embarks on an affair – all these excursions of curiosity might not end well.
Leaving these negative aspects aside, curiosity can invest a life with possibilities for expanding knowledge and extending horizons. Centuries ago, curiosity propelled seafarers to sail the oceans and find new lands. Admittedly, they were also motivated by greed, politics, and religion, but they still had a vestige of curiosity that overcame a sense of danger and perhaps ‘dropping off the edge’.
Medical advances have resulted from curiosity about what causes disease and how human illness can be controlled or eliminated. Endless hours of research, of testing, of experimenting, and even self-sacrifice, have gradually contributed to longer, healthier lives.
What about space exploration? The quest to find out the secrets of the solar system and beyond has raised the level of curiosity to new heights. The stuff of science-fiction has become the stuff of reality as a landing on the moon, and the probing of the planets has proved. Frontiers of the universe will continue to be challenged.
Personal curiosity has led to growth, understanding, and a desire to better human relationships. Students excel when they are curious. Teachers love it when students reach out from the teacher’s words and seek to build on what the teacher has said. Those learning a musical instrument fiddle around with notes and harmonies to sound out the capabilities of the instruments they choose to play.
The new-born baby is curious. Its eyes dart about, recognising and evaluating the environment that it has emerged into. The playpen and the playground encourage new opportunities. Later, relationships inform each person about the wonderful variety of humanity.
We should all treasure the gift of curiosity. Don’t accept what the various screens in our lives tell us. Go out and be ruled by your curiosity. The rewards will be without measure.