On Curiosity

Have you ever asked yourself about the nature of curiosity? What is this peculiar word actually trying to describe? What does it mean for us as humans and how has it shaped our path in this world? It is an expression of curiosity to even raise those questions. So, you could say this is about curiosity exploring itself through the lens of my reality.

Curiosity is a curious phenomenon. It is our intrinsic drive to know more, to learn, to challenge ourselves, to question the known and embrace the unknown. It is an attitude, a state of mind defined by radical openness and not-knowing. No preoccupation, no mind-wandering, but pure and honest attention given to an object or situation. Where does it arise from? What is its purpose? Why does it seem like some people radiate it while others comfortably rest in what they think they know? Some of those questions we may never be able to answer. But one thing we know for certain: Curiosity is deeply entrenched within the human consciousness and it has led us to where and who we are today. Without it we wouldn’t have wondered about the nature of stars, wouldn’t have invented complex languages and cultures. We wouldn’t have learned about the nature of the universe as we observe it. The list of achievements and knowledge we would have missed out on is virtually infinite. What would we know if we never thrived to know more? Evolution and therefore learning would still be solely genetic. Curiosity lies at the basis of what makes us humans unique. A pillar of our being and self-understanding. Its implications are so wide, their imagination carries with it an inescapable feeling of awe.

Curiosity can be a sharp sword, cutting through ignorance and bias. It is naturally given to us when our life starts and our pages are blank. You can see it in children, equally in every culture and heritage. With wide-open, shining eyes they look into the world, eager to experience and learn whatever comes their way. It is perhaps the purest and most innocent expression of curiosity we can witness. In the process of aging though most of us seem to lose touch with this characteristic. Our perspectives and actions tend to gradually become dull, saturated and repetitive. We lose interest in learning, in challenging ourselves. Exhausted from the weight of constraint, duty and seemingly infinite opportunities, we cling to the known and avoid the unknown. The opposite of curiosity sets in.

I like to believe this is for a big part due to the conditioning we experience through our cultural and societal framework of thinking. Why I like to believe that? Because it implies that there is still a curious child sleeping somewhere inside of us. I also like to believe we have the capability to wake it up again. Not in one day, probably not even in a month or two. But by taking small steps, slowly but surely reversing the process of going to sleep into a different direction, one of intuition, naivety and a healthy portion of randomness. Go for a walk without destination, read a weird book, play your favourite track and make your room a dancefloor, start today, start now. It’s the little things that count. They will guide your way towards a colourful and exciting life, ever-changing and always curious.

Author: Malte

Master of curiosity.


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