WHAT KILLED THE NEIGHBOR’S KITTY
Curiosity killed the cat, caught the catfish and fed Fred. Curiosity is the key to change, discovery and the next thing. Without curiosity there would be nothing new; there would be no joy, no one to read these words. Curiosity feeds fin, fowl and the hairy beast; it draws us to the stars and transforms chimps to champs as the pursuit of solutions straightens the back, calms the brow and finds more and more uses for finger dexterity.
Curiosity compels those who possess it to improve; it enhances desire and defines progress. Plato possessed it. You possess it. So do I and the rat in the Skinner cage. Curiosity gives way to discovery, change and an opportunity to gather knowledge. What will we learn? Can we depend on what we learn?
Knowledge often disappoints. Today’s data is soon replaced or enhanced by tomorrow’s startling revelation. We depend heavily on that which promises to fulfill our need for Truth. Failure to do so often results in supplanting knowledge with belief.
Knowledge depends on measurable, observable events. Belief can be supported by knowledge but more often relies simply upon habit or on faith. If the supply of observable events is low, the believer may seek information which seems to support a preferred theory. The most readily available tool for adding strength to these methods is the tool of Affirmation. Where Curiosity is a means of Discovering Reality, Affirmation supplies a method for Creating Reality.
Though gathering knowledge brings with it the joy of discovery and the alluring thrill of adventure, it is also very stressful; we are incapable of spending all our waking hours in pursuit of new and better answers to the questions which assail our brains even as we sleep. Life does not provide enough time for gathering a supply of information adequate to the task of bolstering the confidence of those who seek it.
There is only one immediate reward, the alluring promise of Truth. However, one who is experienced in the techniques of gathering information understands the temporary nature of that which appears to be a revealed Truth. The ardent researcher realizes that the quality of this objectively acquired “information” is dependent to some degree on additional “News” as yet undiscovered. Some of us can live with that; most of us cannot. We need something reliable, something Never-changing.
Some of us can satisfy this need with a philosophy of observable, behavioral principles of social behavior. Some need something more reliable, something which though difficult to prove is equally difficult to disprove, therefore somewhat defensible. In this category can be found the religious and the atheists of the world, both intent on securing the title of Most Knowledgeable on the Subject of God. The greatest of their differences seems to be whether to capitalize God’s name.
“Seek and ye shall find” says Scripture. “Wait long enough and you will be provided with plenty of support for whatever you choose to believe” taunts the Scholar. There are testimonials supporting every idea known to mankind.
The religious among us argue for the virtue of Faith. Yet a well founded religion built over time already has all the answers. Some might argue that a much greater degree of faith is needed on order to live the life of a Scholar.
Unlike those whose Rock is contained in their religion, The Scholar lacks the reassurance of The Group. This individual has already observed Change. The Scholar has very little to depend on, in the way of Timeless Information and must maintain an extremely high level of Integrity. The Scholar is motivated by adventure and knows the Joy of Discovery discarded by many of us as we leave our childhood behind.
In order to maintain the level of integrity required to live such a life, the Scholar must face the possibility of living out an existence filled with loneliness. It is much more difficult to build a society around a concept of Lack than of Abundance. Only the Religious have All the Answers. The Scholar is faced with the temporary nature of discovered information. The religious among us have for the most part, an explanation of life which supplies them with a hope of Life Everlasting. The Scholar must settle for knowing that though he will not be provided with enough answers to turn this lifetime or anything to follow into Nirvana, there is a well supported belief that Science and Sound Thinking can and must improve the lot of all mankind. The same can be said for those whose life is supported by their Religion.
If the reader was expecting to be persuaded to one or the other method of gathering information, I apologize. And to those who fit into neither category, I offer my condolences. To know only a desire to satisfy the most temporary needs of the moment must be the most desperate approach to life, though I doubt that such knowledge is disturbing to chimps.