They say that curiosity killed the cat.
I’d say it was far more likely that a lack of curiosity killed the cat!
Curiosity is the thing that increases our awareness of the world around us and of ourselves.
It keeps us safe.
It expands our horizons.
It allows us to explore, to pursue and to persevere.
It has been the precursor to every new idea and invention, to new thoughts and philosophies, to human growth and evolution.
I am quite often stunned by people’s lack of curiosity-the lack of interest in anything that is happening outside of themselves. People who have never wondered about the important stuff: why bellybutton fluff is always blue; why the old lady next door never has any visitors; how a Willie Wagtail builds a nest out of cobwebs or whether it’s technically possible to draw a fat stick man…
I reckon there’s a high percentage of people who could walk out and pick the daily paper up off the front lawn and not even notice the UFO parked there.
It seems that as people’s focus has become more internal (I E: it’s all about my wants and needs-it’s all about me-very different to self-awareness by the way) and as our connection to the physical world around us has diminished (because we spend most of our time indoors in front of a screen), the level of curiosity in our world has plummeted.
Curiosity empowers us. It gives us the power to question, to change and to grow.
Curiosity is the thing that saw me thrown out of many “Religious Instruction” sessions at school.
I had questions-lots of them- questions that no one, ever, was willing to answer.
“If God only made Adam and Eve and they had two sons, who did Cain and Abel have babies with? (Ewww, very bad pictures in my head…)
“If all of the animals went on an ark what did they eat and how come they didn’t eat each other? And, as for procreating… (More bad pictures -as above-any country kid knows what happens if you inbreed your stock-the world would be full of two-headed elephants and six-legged sheep… and worse. Ewww again.)
And… The one I used to lay awake at night pondering:
“Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?” (After all, God didn’t actually give birth to them, he just sort of zapped them into existence-sort of an “Abracadabra Alacazam” moment…)
The result of my enquiring mind?
Being told in no uncertain terms I was a smart*rse and to leave the room.
Sitting outside in the courtyard by myself was much more fun anyway and I would lay on a bench and watch the clouds and tan my legs (Yes- there was a world before “Slip.Slop.Slap” :)) and be quite glad that I lived in a family where I could choose to believe in whatever I wanted and at least I could ask questions and get an honest “I really don’t know…” without being yelled at.
For a couple of days a week at present, I get to hang out with young children, the minya mob. I get to re-experience the joy of living in a world of curiosity. A world full of questions that are okay to ask:
How big a hole can we dig in the sandpit before the world caves in? Why do sleepy lizards have blue tongues? How many “googly eyes” can Jane poke up her nose? Why does dog poo stink? Can a snake fart? How come old people get lines on their face?(“Lines like yours Telene… inney?”)
A world of imagination and wonder where bowls of sand become delicious meals, monkey bars become pirate ships and cardboard boxes take us to the moon and back.
A world where every moment brings a new possibility, an opportunity to ask how/why/what, a new opportunity to experience the world without the fear of looking stupid or silly, a world in which we actually get to live.
Curiosity reconnects you with your world, it sparks new growth and it makes life a hell of a lot more interesting and heaps more fun.
So, how about wearing your “curious hat” over the next few days…brush off the dust and the cobwebs and try it on.
You might find it still fits just fine…..