How would our lives be if every day everything lined up to predictable plans -ours or divine :)? Isn’t curiosity a necessary element in our lives to help us grow or improve ourselves ? Would parenting or education or playing sports or dating or aging be valuable and nurturing experiences without the necessary exploration-curiosity “spice” 🙂 ?
Curiosity is an ageless inclination that every day propels all of us human beings to interpret the world around us, to dig deep in our feelings and to explore artistic creation. In world history curiosity has been the nurturing womb of change, creativity, intentional growth and epocal inventions. Curiosity can be a choice, an intention to learn more about or interpret the world we live in, a longing for new knowledge or a reaction to life events. Anybody can decide to learn a new language online or happen to fall in love with somebody from another culture and learn the “new language” by moving to his/her country :).
Sometimes ease and access to too much information can make us become less curious. Sometimes our comfort zone and cultural biases can become walls that we consolidate every day and that can keep us from questioning the reality beyond them and within ourselves. Can our ”free and responsible search for truth and meaning” (UU 4th principle) even start, if we don’t cultivate the questioning and curiosity necessary to tear down these walls? Curiosity, motivation and sense of purpose can help us all feel closer and empathize more easily with people different from us and honor their belonging to the interdependent web of all existence (UU 7th principle).
When curiosity makes us face uncertainty, the hope of a reward can keep us motivated. As we look for new knowledge or new relationships or new inventions or completed artwork, we need that something or someone that makes us feel that the persistent effort, the quest, the intellectual or spiritual pilgrimage is worthwhile. Curious people can sometimes find strategies to manage anxiety and negative emotions originated by the exploration of new paths and find openness, genuine interest, spiritual awakening and enlightenment along the way.
Curiosity can definitely be a start point also for engagement, participation and an indispensable foundation for learning. Any decision making in education, politics or everyday life can have the best possible outcomes after a purposeful exploration of the most diverse options available. Any team work can be based on the exchange and the sharing of different levels of knowledge, when team members are curious to get to know each other and dig deep in all the possible angles their collaborations can take. In her My Own Words, for example, Ruth Bader Ginsburg affirms the value of dissent as a way to enrich the discussions in the supreme Court sessions and to dig deeper in each other’s convictions.
In one of my favorite UU hymns “We Laugh, We Cry” (STLT#354), its author Shelley Jackson Denham affirms the incredible power of questioning as a continuous effort to find sense and an answer in the quest for a meaning to our lives:
“We seek elusive answers to the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to all the waste of human strife.
We search for truth, equality, and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here, to make sense of what we find.
And we believe in life, and in the strength of love,
and we have found a joy being together.
And in our search for peace, maybe we’ll finally see:
even to question, truly is an answer.”