I’ve written before about the importance of imagination and creativity, but what about that founding principle of Brain Popcorn, the irresistability of curiosity, the need to know how things work and how they connect and how one thing could also be a half dozen others?
Fortunately for those of us who are, like Einstein once declared, ‘passionately curious,’ there have been a number of articles about curiosity in the news recently. (And not just about a certain eponymous Mars Rover, that continues to take awesome pictures even if it’s been slightly upstaged by a cousin landing on a comet this week.)
What’s over there, anyway? Let’s find out! Woman Looking Over a Fence by Leon Richet. (public domain, image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
As it turns out, curiosity is not just a measurable mental itch, but it apparently works like chocolate–if only chocolate could help your memory the same way! (I certainly eat enough of it…) I did particularly enjoy the following article, however, chocolate in hand or no: “Curiosity improves memory by tapping into the brain’s reward system”
And, of course, this article simply confirms something one of the wisest people I know says all the time, and she’s always right (because learning is ultimately better for you than chocolate):
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
Curiosity was also the driving force behind a smartphone app that involved 4 million players, searching for the answer to ‘what’s inside the cube?’ The need to know kept people tapping their phones (and drawing, and tracking stats, and ‘purchasing’ tools) for 150 days to uncover the video message at the end. The need to know outweighed the incredible tediousness of what would otherwise be mindless finger tapping.
How important is curiosity, really? Consider this: according to thesaurus.com, there are 21 synonyms for curiosity, and only 3 antonyms. If, in this very verbal, information-heavy world, things that are important get many names, this is a good sign for curiosity.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
― Albert Einstein
(Who’s going to argue with that? Certainly not I.)
Are you a curiosity addict? What kinds of things to you find yourself most curious about? Share them with us in the comments below.
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