Curiosity isn’t always seen in a positive light, in part due to its association with prying into other people’s business. In other words, nosiness. Perhaps that’s why English poet Lord Byron wrote, “I loathe that low vice — curiosity,” in his epic poem Don Juan. And, of course, we all know that curiosity killed the cat, although not so many people know that the original form of that common idiom was actually “care killed the cat” — “care” in this instance meaning worry or excessive caution.
Perhaps, after all, it is wise to be a little careful with our curiosity. As Albus Dumbledore explained to Harry Potter, “Curiosity is not a sin. But we should exercise caution with our curiosity…” But without our drive to learn, the human race wouldn’t have gotten very far. We wouldn’t have progressed in philosophy or science, would never have asked “Who are we?” or sent humans to the moon. Curiosity drives us forward and helps us learn, something that many famous figures have clearly stated, from Walt Disney to Albert Einstein.
Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last; and perhaps always predominates in proportion to the strength of the contemplative faculties.
― Samuel Johnson
We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity. In a different kind of environment, our curiosity might have been nipped long before it could have borne fruit.
— Orville Wright
I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.
― Albert Einstein
I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
There’s really no secret about our approach. We keep moving forward — opening up new doors and doing new things — because we’re curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. We’re always exploring and experimenting.
― Walt Disney
Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.
— William Arthur Ward
Perhaps one day men will no longer be interested in the unknown, no longer tantalized by mystery. This is possible, but when Man loses his curiosity, one feels he will have lost most of the other things that make him human.
— Arthur C. Clarke
Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the only one who asked why.
— Bernard Baruch
Children, be curious. Nothing is worse (I know it) than when curiosity stops. Nothing is more repressive than the repression of curiosity. Curiosity begets love. It weds us to the world. It’s part of our perverse, madcap love for this impossible planet we inhabit. People die when curiosity goes.
― Graham Swift
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
— Stephen Hawking
Curiosity is the essence of human existence. Who are we? Where are we? What do we come from? Where are we going? Was there life on Mars? Is Mars like Earth is going to look in a billion years? Are we what Mars looked like a billion years ago. I don’t know. I don’t have any answers to those questions. I don’t know what’s over there and around the corner. But I want to find out.
— Gene Cernan, American astronaut
Let’s just say I was testing the bounds of reality. I was curious to see what would happen. That’s all it was: just curiosity.
— Jim Morrison
The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.”
― Stephen Fry
Socrates told us, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I think he’s calling for curiosity, more than knowledge. In every human society at all times and at all levels, the curious are at the leading edge.
― Roger Ebert
The second principle that drives human life flourishing is curiosity. If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn without any further assistance, very often. Children are natural learners. It’s a real achievement to put that particular ability out, or to stifle it. Curiosity is the engine of achievement.
― Ken Robinson
Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
— James Stephens
I think I benefited from being equal parts ambitious and curious. And of the two, curiosity has served me best.
― Michael J. Fox
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