“I am afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than understanding.
We grasp at everything, but catch nothing except wind.”
Michel de Montaigne
One of Life’s biggest truths is that Curiosity comes with a price … and a reward.
Far too often we place curiosity in some unequivocal good or bad space … “curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning” or “curiosity killed the cat”
But, truthfully, curiosity embodies both good and bad. And I say that as one who is unequivocally in the camp of “knowing more of anything is good.”
Curiosity is often a journey of which you have no map, no compass nor any guidebook. Because of that you see things you didn’t expect to see, some you may wish you hadn’t seen, as well as you see things so beautiful you wonder why you hadn’t take the journey before. In addition, curiosity is a journey n which you find new things that make you throw some of the stuff you are carrying away <sometimes even in disgust> … and sometimes you accumulate things that burden you making the journey a weightier one.
But, simplistically, curiosity opens a box in which we know what is not within.
Which leads me to the story <parable/allegory?> of Pandora’s box. It may be one of the most misused or selectively used stories of all time. it is kind of how the media selects specific things to highlight without showcasing the entire framing.
More often than not the way the story is told reflects the price of curiosity.
More often than not you hear how Pandora’s curiosity brought only trouble to the world.
However, the reality is that Pandora represents the contradictions in Life. Maybe it is even representative of a paradox. The paradox of curiosity and intended consequences and unintended consequences and … well … exploration come with risks and rewards. And the risks can be catastrophically bad just as they can equally be exponentially good.
And Pandora, oddly enough, is an allegory for the balancing out of curiosity. The fact that curiosity, most often, despite how horrible the path it takes you on … brings you to a better place.
But that is the part of the story often untold.
Pandora’s story comes from Ancient Greece.
Pandora, given a box <it was actually a jar> by Zeus, was told to never open the box. And, yet, her curiosity got the best of her and she opened it.
Zeus had packed the box full of terrible evils in the form of tiny buzzing moths.
Out of the box poured disease and poverty.
Out came misery, out came death … and out came sadness.
The creatures stung Pandora over and over again and then flew out into the world before she could close the box. The world, and she, wept at all the evil and the pain even as the now closed box sat there.
Her husband ran into the room to see why she was crying in pain.
All of a sudden they noticed a voice calling her from the box … pleading to be let out.
They agreed nothing worse than what had been released could remain so they opened the box again.
All that remained in the box was Hope. It fluttered from the box as a beautiful dragonfly. It first healed Pandora’s wounds, created by the evil creatures, before flying out into the world to seek out the evil as it traveled through Life.
Even though Pandora had released the evils of the world we have today … she had also allowed Hope to follow them.
<everyone seems to forget the last part>
The Pandora’s Box reminds us that no matter how desperate Life may seem to be … hope exists.
It reminds us that curiosity often comes at a cost and, yet, offers benefit.
In a world in which we far too often assess cost versus benefit in almost everything we do, curiosity cannot be so easily assessed. The pursuit of curiosity is not simple. It can be as often a rocky road as it can be a smooth one.
As a ‘lover of curiosity’ it almost pains me to type that curiosity embodies both pain and pleasure … sometimes not equally.
Curiosity, similar to Hope, is one of those essential intangible less-than-definable things we face in Life.
“Curiosity has its own reason for existence.”
I tend to believe we should think about this more often rather than simply state “being curious is good.”
To be clear.
I am a 100% curious guy and curiosity fuels me day in and day out. I would rather learn new things than eat or sleep. In general … I think curiosity is good <an essential good>.
I say that to suggest to my fellow curious companions that we have to assume a responsibility.
A responsibility to understand that while we see the reward as worth the cost of the punishment curiosity sometimes hands out … that many people just see the punishment.
We need to accept the fact that, just as with the Pandora’s Box story, many people just hear of the pain & suffering that curiosity releases.
To many, curiosity embodies risk and uncertain return.
The responsibility I bear as a curiosity lover is to understand the uncertainty many feel and not treat it with disdain but rather with … well … hope.
Hope I can show the reward.
For, ultimately, if you believe the Pandora’s Box story … if there had been no curiosity there would be no Hope.
Given that choice I would release the worst of the worst to insure Hope lived on.
But it is my responsibility to not assume everyone sees curiosity as I do and understand that curiosity is sometimes a gift that needs explanation.
I will tell Pandora’s story again and again <and again>.
I will do so because far too many people do not know the end. And until they hear the end they may tend to lean toward believing too much curiosity only begets pain & suffering.
While I, when I see curiosity, see only Hope.