Friday, June 27, 2008

IDLE Curiosity Killed the Cat

Do you take things for granted? Do you accept what someone says at face value? Or are you, like me, the kind of person who questions things, who wants to know things, who wonders how things work and why things are the way they are?

Curiosity is a blessing – and it can be a curse.

It is a blessing because being curious keeps your mind active instead of passive. It creates a sense of wonder among the more mundane aspects of our lives. Curiosity fosters growth, both personal and intellectual. The more curious you are, the more you strive to find answers, and the more you learn about yourself and explore the world around you.

For example, curiosity is a blessing when it encourages you to learn how something works, (a computer program, for example) or to develop alternatives to a problem (how to make a vehicle’s windshield unbreakable, for instance). Curiosity is good when it produces an invention that benefits humankind. Productive curiosity bolsters us to act on our genuine questions in ways that have positive outcomes. And even if we’re not solving all of life’s problems or inventing things ourselves, it produces a well-rounded individual who continues to learn, explore, grow, and discover.

It can also be a curse. Others can take your sense of curiosity as being too bold, not knowing your place, or being downright nosy. And sometimes, you will learn something you might have been better off not knowing.

For example, curiosity is a curse if you listen in on a private conversation, definitely not polite or discreet. You may learn something hurtful that you didn’t need to know. And in this case, you are curious for curiosity’s sake rather than out of a desire to learn from genuine questions. Idle curiosity does not create personal growth, just a desire to know the habits of your neighbors, for instance. Idle curiosity can occupy too much of your time with information that is of little or no consequence to your own intellectual development or the state of the world. (That's what happened to the cat.)

Genuine curiosity can bless our lives when we question the way things work, when we question how to improve a situation, or when we question to gain pure knowledge. Think of a child who is always asking, “How?” or “Why?” We have the ability to maintain that child-like, innocent curiosity to develop our minds and our lives. Pursuing a healthy level of curiosity in our lives is one key to living a productive, active, and fulfilling life.

Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”


  1. That was a wonderful post!

  2. There is a very thin line between being curious and just plain nosey! But yes,I endorse your thoughts on the value and otherwise of a curious and enquiring mind.

  3. my friend calls me nosey and i say im curious and concerned

  4. I endorse your views, here, totally. Indeed, I've renamed our species Homo Curious.

  5. I think you are right..there's a thin line which can make curiosity good or bad.

  6. Well said! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on curiousity (probably because they mirror mine? lol)

    Thanks for always taking the time to visit and comment. Hopefully things will slow down soon and I'll be around more often.

  7. I'm afraid I'm a little too curious. My husband will say, "I can't believe you had the nerve to ask them that!" Well, I wanted to know! Ha.

    My parents still tell the story of how they took me to a very wealthy family's home when I was about 6 years old, and I asked if they (the homeowners) would please give me the tour? They did and at the end I asked, "How much did this house cost?" (I still remember the answer: "It's been in the family for generations.")

    I guess it's no surprise that I went on to start a blog about houses, is it? I've always wanted to know more about them! -Julia :-)


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