Thursday, September 12, 2013

Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat

I am a curious person. I walk by a building and wonder what sort of work goes on inside, what types of people work there, what are the politics of the place, what are the interpersonal dramas that go on? Essentially, what stories are happening within?

I think about everything. Everything I see and hear, I imagine details and situations, possibilities that stem from what I experienced. How things might be put into a story or used for a dilemma or conjuring up a tense situation. I hear people speaking and imagine their lives, where they might live, what they might do. This might sound sort of creepy but it's completely innocent. I enjoy thinking about possibilities, all kinds of possibilities. I enjoy using my imagination to create entire worlds from minute details. It's not only a sort of mind-imagination exercise, it generates numerous amounts of substance for stories, for writing, for crafting realistic fictional characters and situations.

Curiosity is a good thing.

Yet we are afraid of being curious or of having knowledge. We say things like "Ignorance is bliss" and "curiosity kill the cat" which is bullshit. The news stopped telling the truth because we didn't want to hear it. Now, we have a fictional news show that actually tells the truth, only about events that happened months ago so that it's "okay" and hey, it's just a tv show, not real life. We live in our own cocoons of personal knowledge and are afraid to admit that somebody else might be right, that we might be wrong about things, so we only listen to people who agree with us and insult those who disagree and that way we never have to face the idea we might be wrong.

I had no idea I would go off ranting like this on this blog post but here I am.

I am a curious person. When someone does something, I want to know WHY. Why did they do it, why did they feel the need to do it and why did they think it would be a good thing to do? Why is a very important question and most of us probably don't even understand WHY we do certain things, much less try to figure out why other people do things. We're all bundles of water bags filled with emotions and thoughts pressured by the experiences of our lives, driven to do things by our past.

It helps with writing characters. You always have to know the why, even if you don't reveal it to the reader. The character needs a past that influences them, the pressures that we all experience in our daily lives.

I get this curiosity from both of my parents. My father is always thinking about why things happen and how the world works. He constantly theorizes about situations, why this thing happened as opposed to this other thing, why this might have happened but not this. If he doesn't know something, he's not afraid to imagine the answer, to hypothesize using what he does know. It's actually a great skill in life, using what you know to figure out what you don't know, and even if you're wrong occasionally, it helps you deal with situations and think about new situations.

I think my mother is curious about people. She wonders about their feelings and their thoughts, and what drives them to do things. She wonders how she can help them. I, too, am curious about people. There are times I watch cars go by and just wonder about whose driving, whose riding, where are they going and why? Who are all these people driving down this road at this exact time? What do they do? What are their lives like?

The drive for knowledge is just basic human nature. We want to know, we need to know. The more we know, the more power we have over our own lives and choices in life. Perhaps we think of cats as curious because they are more independent than other pets. They do their own thing, they do what they want, when they want.

Maybe curiosity did kill the cat. Perhaps the cat ventured out into the night to see what was out there, and got eaten. But guess what? We're not fucking cats. Be curious. Learn things. There is information literally at our fingertips. Never has knowledge ever been easier to acquire. Get some. Learn something.