Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is it true that curiosity killed the ...



Only recently have I begun to consider the possibility that curiosity is not ALWAYS a good thing. I am an intensely curious person, always brimming, frequently overflowing, with questions large and small. Some can be answered, some can't. In spite of the futility of pursuing some of the paths my curiosity lays out before me, I yearn to know All The Answers.

For instance: Am I vain because I'm impressed, on a daily basis, by how much better I look after I apply a little bit of make-up?

Is it rude of me, when people say, "Reya you look great! Have you lost weight?" to respond by saying, "Actually, I've gained weight." OK I know the answer to that one: RUDE. I haven't gained or lost weight; I am simply offended by the idea that losing weight is a precursor to looking good.

Is it weird that when people say, "You look much younger than 57!" I bristle at the idea of saying thank you? Why isn't it OK to look my age? And, they're trying to be nice. Why do I bristle? WHY??

All of the above describes the stupidest, most insignificant category of questions that cycle through my mind. I wonder, too, about the Great Truths. Many a blog post has been inspired by those kinds of questions. I include the stupid questions in an effort to describe exactly how curious I really am.

Lately I've been wondering if I'm too curious. What would it mean if I could simply set aside some of these questions? How about having an open mind instead of being so damn curious? The idea of an open mind/heart seems gentler, more mature, wiser. Instead of questing at all times, what would it be like to be open to new information but without all that grasping for answers?

I suppose this line of inquiry is also a part of my voracious curiosity, though I think not as stupid at the most banal questions I'm forever asking. What do you think?

27 comments:

Barry said...

I love your lively curious mind--and where it leads us on a daily basis.

jinksy said...

I think an open mind goes hand in hand with curiousity. It would be no use finding a new truth, without wanting to discover more about it...

Reya Mellicker said...

It's a question of balance, I think. Sometimes my curiosity feels grasping. Anyway, that's today's theory.

The Bug said...

I think of myself as curious, but when I remember my mother's questions to me after some event or other, not so much. She asked the most BIZARRE questions I wouldn't even think of. Now THAT was a curious mind.

Angella Lister said...

haha. I love your objection to backhanded compliments! But it is true that people are trying to be nice. And their minds aren't as circling and curious as yours, so they reach for the easy social comment without ever considering its deeper meaning. But thanks for this post for those of us who hate when people say, you look great! have you lost weight? and all the rest of it.

Linda Sue said...

curiosity can seem rude sometimes- like "wow, how much did THAT cost?" Or "where did you buy that, I need to know so that I can avoid it"... that seems to be my curious 'bad girl'.Like a tourhettes response, sometimes things of curiosity just fly out- that's how I roll. I am no good at proper parties ( like my husbands professional dos)too curious- I don't mean to be rude...I just want to know. I lift table skirts to see what's under- check out the kitchens of restaurants- look in medicine cabinets. if it is done spontaneously out of wonder - not judgement or snooping I think it's OK. Without curiosity and asking would we ever learn stuff?

janis said...

I too am too curious. Not only in the sense you are expressing but I also am downright nosy. I really don't mean to be, but my curiousity gets the best of me and I want to know more. I like to say I am not nosy but I am interested :)
Yesterday as I walked the backyard with my dogs, I found myself staring at this small rectangular cover in the yard. It is for the sprinkler system that the previous owners had installed. We have not activated it or done anything w/ it. My point? I have been so curious about it and what is under that cover in the center of the back yard. I stuck my finger in in! Very stupid. I could have gotten it bit or stuck, I just had to stick my finger in the little hole on top. Nothing happend. But to me, it's like a little pandora's box waiting for me to explore..

Reya Mellicker said...

This is great, all these comments, because y'all have touched on the topic of boundaries, something I have worked with quite a bit. With clients, for instance, how much information is necessary to make each session as helpful as possible, and when do I (or they, often) step over that line?

Very cool! Initially I wondered if I should post this blog. I'm so glad I did!

Kerry said...

I am distracted by the beauty of your pink blossoms this week..what was the question again. Oh, that curiosity of yours: I must agree with Barry. This keeps me coming back; your musings and questioning of everything--that's what makes you so great. Curious people are often the best listeners. And often when they find answers that they hadn't anticipated, they have the most open minds.

ewix said...

I think it is important to be curious and nosy!
It means you have a lively mind (now I see someone else said that!!! so it must be true.)
I love knowing all sorts of things about everyone but try not to be too overwhelming......
The best response to someone asking stuff you don't want to answer is to smile sweeting and ask if there is a particular reason they need to know?
and then smile some more.
Sadly, I do think old people are not so pretty as young ones, but is better not to fight too hard and be joyful in whatever body god/age/life has dumped one in.

Yes, you do come up with thought-provoking posts EVERY day.
How do you do it?

Expat From Hell said...

I think the two most curious people (besides yourself) of our generation are Dr. Timothy Leary and Ram Dass. And look where it got them! Not that I could exactly follow in their footsteps, but being a spectator of their journey was certainly a compelling experience. As is following yours.....EFH

lacochran said...

You are perfect. Don't change.

Reya Mellicker said...

Elizabeth, thank you. As for who is prettier, young or old, it depends entirely on the individual. Think of Einstein's face, for instance. He didn't get to be really cool looking until late in life.

Sean Connery was too beautiful when young. He came into his prime in late middle age, at least I think so.

The peaches and cream face of Miley Cyrus is completely uninteresting to me. I would rather look at Meryl Streep's 60-something face any day. So here's another rant.

Laura, thank you!

Expat, did you see that psychdelic drugs are "in" again in the science world? I love that.

Reya Mellicker said...

Elizabeth, should also have said, about writing posts every day - I CAN'T HELP IT! But thank you really.

Ronda Laveen said...

I think curiosity keeps us sharp. It keeps those synapses firing and making new neural networks which leads to more thinking, curiosity and theories/inventions/solutions.

There's a difference between curiosity and being nosy, as far as I'm concerned.

Delwyn said...

Hi Reya

to me being curious means being in life, becoming immersed in it, taking note, feeling awe and surprise and wonder...savouring it, not just letting life eddy around me...
I think the opposite of curiosity is apathy

thank you for your curiosity..it yields great fruits...

Happy days

steven said...

reya there was a long long time when i was bothered by what i didn't know and really let the world know about what i did know. it gave me presence and substance. it was fueled by curiousity and then in turn fueled my curiousity. it was like what i thought was meant by being alive. somewhere at some point for some reason i wanted to know about why i cared about so much and yet had so little to show for it. which led me to this place of being in steven. now i wait to be told. the world has stories it needs us to know. so sitting back and listening and letting the stories get told - well it's really really good stuff! it makes me feel alive. in fact it lets me know i am alive and valued and real. well as real as real is in this place!! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Steven you are so smart. Thanks for this.

Dan Gurney said...

Great post, Reya. One worth pondering.

My teacher's teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, wrote a book of collected teaching letters, called "Only Don't Know." He signed off on those letter with the following phrases:

"Only go straight--don't know. Then your don't know mind will become clear."

I've discovered that the world is more interesting, more wonderful, and amazing when I abide in "Don't Know Mind."

No one really cares what I know; they do want to know I care.

The Pollinatrix said...

This is a thought-provoking post for me. After chewing on it a bit, an analogy has come to me - that being curious is like being sexually attracted to someone. You can pursue it and follow its every whim (the curiosity or lust), which in some cases might be exactly what you should do, but in others it might be more fruitful to simply be with the desire, to enjoy it for itself and not what it might get you.

Cyndy said...

I try to balance my curiousity with an equal dose of being content to not know and not taking any steps to find out. That is usually a deliberate act since it goes against my basically curious nature. Sometimes it is much more interesting to just sort of feel what all of the different possibilities might be, or to even not think about it at all. It feels like a secret reward when an answer is allowed to present itself in its own way. Sheesh, that sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. I guess I'm talking about active vs. passive curiousity and the different kinds of benefits you can can get from each.

Pauline said...

Better to be curious than complacent. Ask away. It's your reaction to the questions, not questions or even the answers themselves, that need attention. And that's what you're doing, paying attention to the reactions. I'd say it's all good.

Mrsupole said...

Sometimes asking questions is the only way to learn. So I think curiosity is a great asset to have. It is better to ask and know, then to keep quiet and not know or learn anything.

And it makes for great posts, makes us think and makes us give answers. Keep it up. I love your curiosity.

God bless.

Reya Mellicker said...

Cyndy it doesn't sound like mumbo-jumbo to me, and Polly, wow! Yes yes yes yes yes. Very helpful.

Y'all are SO smart!!

willow said...

Curiosity doesn't kill the cat, it keeps the mind alive and well.

C.M. Jackson said...

reya--my favorite is when you are doing your best to feel upbeat,together and optimistic in spite of the reality and some one says 'you look tired'--in the words of my grandmother who told me as a youg girl little circles above 'i's' were an affectation...'if one has nothing good to say then don't say it'...so you are not wrong to question or perhaps respond to those comments--your curiousity and absolute quest for answers or more questions is your charm and why you are so special--you say what so many of us wish we thought or said--keep it coming...

Merle Sneed said...

Keep on being curious. The world has enough non-inquiring types already.