Curiosity and its shadow

The generator function behind curiosity is a thirst to know and understand. There is a joy in making sense, putting the puzzle pieces together, mapping the world. It can provide a sense of grounded certainty. And it is fun.

I was trained to be a generalist. To see whole systems, to be a map maker, resisting at every turn the cultural imperative that said I had to be a specialist to be successful.

There is also a beauty in the mysterious and unknowable. The quest to have 100% of everything make sense squeezes out all of the adventure, the delight in the incomprehensible, the vastness of a Universe that humbles any human with its infinite capacity and wisdom.

Like all things, curiosity has its dark side, commonly known as gossip. This morning I was observing a conversation that I was curious about, yet knew it had crossed the threshold of information into gossip. It took a very stern conversation with myself to resist the urge to become a part of this gossip. And I saw the harm, how easy it is for gossip to hurt, slander and disintegrate into cruelty. I saw my own love of the power of knowing over another. Simply a more subtle form of exploitation.

I watched the inner battle to let it go. To not need to know. To not need to be in the ‘inner’ circle of knowing, as a ‘better than.’ 

Knowledge can be power. When we shut others out of access to knowledge we are the perpetrators of inequality.

This is my own battlefront. To unhook from the sinister love of gossip, and the superiority it feels like it brings me. 

July 24th 2019

Photo taken July 24th, 2019