They say Curiosity killed the cat – knowing cats…….I Think Not.
Whatever the case – I do know this:
Curiosity raised humanity from striking two stones together to start fires,
To Einstein’s e=mc2………………….and beyond.
As for the proverb, “Curiosity killed the cat”, yes, cats by their nature are
enormously curious, but also by their nature, they are enormously cautious.
Anyone who has had – as I – the bountiful pleasures of living for most of their
adult years with members of this most beautiful of species – sometimes with
considerable numbers of them – knows full well how extremely cautious they
are. Open a door for a dog who wants out, and it bounds through without hesitation. Open a door for a cat who wants out, and it comes slowly to the threshold, pauses, sniffs towards the outside, walks halfway through the opening, looks around before moving completely outside, then proceeds
outside with caution and alertness.
Yes, I am addicted to cats. But even more, I ‘m addicted to Curiosity.
My objection to the proverb is not that it diminishes cats, it diminishes Curiosity. Curiosity is one of the most beautiful attributes of the human mind.
Curiosity leads to Creativity.
Curiosity leads to knowledge.
Curiosity leads to enlightenment.
Curiosity leads to unimaginable improvements in the human condition.
The only thing Curiosity killed is……. ignorance!
In the last 2500 years it was Curiosity which started all of the world’s great
thinkers, innovators, and creators on their paths to the historic accomplishments they attained. And in the process they changed the course of human history
Starting in Ancient Greece: Aristotle, Euclid, and Archimedes
Then to the Renaissance: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton.
Into the Industrial Revolution: Watt’s Steam Engine, Fulton’s Steamboat,
. Whitney’s Cotton Gin, Morse’s Telegraph,
. Bessemer’s Steel Process, Bell’s Phone, . Pasteur’s Germ theory and Vaccines,
. Edison’s Electric Light Bulb,
. Wrights’ Airplane, Ford’s Assembly Line.
(Just to name a few of the many who contributed to the Industrial Revolution.
But these, and many others, over almost two centuries, created millions of jobs
in new industries, and literally raised vast populations, from, what was the
equivalent of economic slavery, to a place in the economic Sun.)
And lastly, into the 20th Century and Einstein’s theories of Relativity, (Special
and General) and his famous equation e=mc2. What is there to say about Einstein? Quite a lot. But I will leave that to the physicists and mathematicians
who have been doing so for the past 100 years.
But since we are discussing Curiosity, there is a little story about Einstein as a child, which I think is appropriate to end our discussion on Curiosity. When he was about five years old, his father gave him a magnetic compass to play with. No matter how he turned it, the needle always pointed mysteriously North. As an elderly man, Einstein wrote about this mysterious compass, “that this experience made a deep and lasting impression on me. Something deeply hidden had to be behind things” (Italics mine)
Even as a child, Einstein had the stirrings of Curiosity in that last sentence.
My point being: Curiosity needs to be nurtured in those who show it, not negated.
There is some question if this story was anecdotal or reached mythic proportions over the years. It really matters not, but Einstein himself confirmed it many times in later life. What better way to leave you then with his own words explaining his talent: “I have no special gift,” he would say, “I am only passionately curious.”