The Corruption of Curiosity

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That’s why children never stop consuming information and learning, because they’re not afraid to ask WHY? They’re not afraid to be curious and ask someone about something they don’t understand.

When we grow up, asking questions turns into Tabu: “If I ask a question people will think I’m mentally retarded” or “If I ask about this it will sound like I want to snoop around other people’s lives” or even “If I ask this he/she will think I’m questioning his/her judgment or abilities“. Just admit it, before asking something, these sneaky little doubts run fast through your mind! And that is completely understandable, abhorrent, but understandable…

Since our teenage years,  our education has led us to believe that we are committing some kind of atrocity when we politely address someone to ask him/her a question. Teachers, parents, bosses, colleagues and sometimes friends, most of them get offended if we ask certain questions. Of course, I am assuming (I know I must never assume, but let’s just say for argument sake) that you have enough sensibility and intelligence to understand when questions are just stupid, yes there are stupid questions and don’t even try the “there-are-no-stupid-questions” argument, we all know they’re out there. When I talk about questions, I am talking about honest doubts, pure learning hunger, healthy curiosity and not the petty desire to humiliate or stand out. The sad thing is that most of the times the honest doubt is mistaken for a petty desire of the ego and most prefer to just dismiss it before listening and thinking rationally about it.

Picture this: Mom is screaming at you because, once again, you were playing at old McGee’s abandoned garage. Honestly curious, you ask her why aren’t you allowed to play there and she responds with that mythical “Because I said so“! I am sure this has happened to you before. What I’m not sure is what you did after she counterstriked with that infamous declaration. Where I’m concerned, and since my early years as a stubborn child, I’ve always found this argument completely ridiculous and I’ve always stood up to it even though I knew that punishment would inevitably follow. For some reason, my doubts were always greater than my fears and my curiosity greater than my self preservation or maybe I was just plain stubborn. I have asked questions to teachers that would inevitably put them in the hot spot and in most cases I got punished for that. I had no problem in taking those punishments,  I knew I wasn’t questioning my teachers’ intelligence or abilities, I was simply wondering why were things performed that way, since in my inexperienced head I was having a hard time understanding why! The thing that helped me endure these unfair punishments was knowing that I got my colleagues to think about that too… they too were wondering…

Thankfully I had amazing parents and a spectacular handful of teachers that taught me to question things, to never take things for granted and to WONDER (I guess it isn’t a coincidence that wondering comes from wonder=fascination, amazement) and that somehow reassured me that curiosity and questioning instruments of knowledge and development.

I’m not trying to give you advice or anything of the sort, I am just sharing my disappointment. Curiosity is undervalued and underestimated, people dismiss curiosity just as easily as they dismiss irrelevant information, even worse, people dislike it. After almost 20 years, it still pains me to listen to harsh and instinctive responses to my questions, it still pains me to see that people attack in order to defend themselves from your unwelcome questions, it still pains me to see how people always expect the worst from an innocent question and it still pains me to see how easily people dismiss your “wonderings”… It pains me to realize that arrogance has conquered curiosity.

Curiosity is passion, is willingness to become more that what you are, is humility to learn what you don’t know, is the spark of innovation and evolution.

Einstein on curiosity

I will remain curious, I will always wonder for possibilities and I will always use common sense, respect and sensibility, but I will never stop questioning for the sake of arrogance and hypocrisy.

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Challenging Conventions

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Original post from The Molempire from the same author.

In 1863, for the first time in centuries, a guy named Edouard Manet challenged what it was then known as “Art”. An anti-academist who rattled a cage that was left to rest in peace for too many centuries. Manet would make way for the biggest artistic revolution ever seen: Impressionism, Dadaism, Cubism, Surrealism, Pop Art, and Futurism were the cubs of this first step towards freedom in art.

Manet_Dejeuner_sur_lherbe

With his painting Le Déjeneur sur L’Herbe – also known as The Luncheon on the Grass – he caused one of the biggest scandals ever seen in the art world: he represented two characters dressed as bourgeois eating calmly on a meadow close to a naked young lady, the society saw itself represented on the painting with all its flaws and vices, and that, of course, was considered totally inappropriate.

Not only did the painting introduce a whole new thematic, but it also came up with a completely new technique: the painting was compact, without wasted strokes, without flourishes, clean compared to the baroque works that were reproduced to the minimal detail. This single painting opened ground for Impressionism.

With the Impressionism era, artists began to paint according to their feelings and their “impressions” of reality: they weren’t looking for realism, but for emotion and hidden meanings within the strokes. This revolution, freed the next generation of artists, they had found a totally new playground to explore: new perspectives, new meanings, new interpretations, new techniques.

A single painting managed to bore an endless number of art movements; a single man managed to create new horizons for art. Evolution as we know it, is made by Manets: people who rattle cages, people who break through conventions and defy standards, common men and women that dared to be different.

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The Creation of Adam by Michaelangelo

“Man was created in the image of God”

Believe it or not, you all have the ability to create: your free-will, your creativity, your personality, your mind are powerful tools. You just need to have the guts to put them to work.