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Curious spectacles

Posted By on June 24, 2009

A curious thing happened to me sitting on the train the other day (it tends to do that, being a curious type of person, wondering about the world we live in). I was thinking about what to write in my new blog, which is about how to be curious, in case you were wondering. I was supposed to be concentrating on the book I was reading, but my mind was wandering, as it does, daydreaming and lost in deep thought. And as I brought my focus back to my book, I found these words staring up at me from the page:

Or maybe it’s curiosity I mean. You don’t ever see or notice anything important that goes on. You never watch and think and try to figure anything out. Maybe that’s the biggest difference between you and me, after all.”

Carson McCullers wrote those words way back in 1940 in her book ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’. This got me thinking. What is it that makes each of us unique? Is it our Weltanschauung – the individual take we have on the world around us? Or is it down to the way some of us can easily accept the world we live in while others are on a continuous search for meaning and deeper understanding?

McCullers is right, the heart is a lonely hunter. But for curious beings like us, the mind, too, is a hungry hunter. Funny thing is though, the more you feed it, the hungrier it gets! I’m now left wondering whether a prodigious appetite for questions, reflection and understanding can lead to obesity of the mind? If we gorge ourselves on a diet of wonder[polldaddy poll=1733035] and inquiry can we retain an alert and agile mind? Or does the richness of all this food for thought make us sluggish, slowing down our cognitive function like a ball and chain? If we overdo it on reflection, do our decision-making abilities suffer?

I somehow doubt it. I tend to favour the maxim: use it or lose it. Taking in a daily dose of curiosity is a great way of exercising that hard-to-reach mind muscle. Think hard. Do ten repetitions of daily reflecting. Keep yourself motivated to question what you think is worth questioning. Your reward will come in the form of a sharper, leaner, fit-for-purpose mind always at the ready to help you work things out.

Speaking of working things out, today might be a good day try a different kind of workout. Take your mind to the gym for a change. Do some circuit training in thinking. See how invigorating you feel after you’ve wondered about something for 10 minutes. Notice how things seem different if you take a new, fresh approach to what you do. Look at the world from a child’s perspective.

What difference would it make to the way you see things if you were to try to see things differently?

Put on your curious spectacles and find out.

And don’t forget to let me know what happens and what you see – I’m curious to read about it!

8 Responses to “Curious spectacles”

  1. Phil says:

    Great post Kath. I’ve been blessed and cursed with curiousity for my whole life – I always had to know everything about everything! For me, it is a foundation of how I get my energy and drive. Sometimes though curiousity can kill the cat and leave me missing focus. Overall though for me, once I stop exploring I might as well give up completely.

  2. kath says:

    Thanks for great idea for next post: curiosity – curse or blessing? Stay tuned…

  3. Dr. Suzy Schulz says:

    Hi Kath! Though I have difficulties to even wonder about mind obesity, I like the thought of gearing up my mind by making it work hard — like in a gym. And guide it in doing so. I will let you know what happens.

  4. Nancy says:

    You had me at the subject of curiosity! And then to just even mention Carson McCullers! That book saved my teenage life. She said it is ok to feel for others, that being sensitive isn’t a bad thing, that noticing the elephant is not a curse. That ignoring people saying things like, “It’s a man’s world out there, Nancy, so you might as well get used to it,” was the best thing you could do. Thank you for rewarding my curiosity in reading this very well-written and interesting blog!
    And then there was Kerouac’s On the Road…”The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, …” and off to San Francisco I went, as soon as I could.
    Now, Kathleen, what should I do? You say 10 minutes, huh? I’ll shut down my laptop make myself a cup of tea and hold my very worn copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in my hand while I remember how it felt. Seriously, Kath, I am choked up right now just thinking about that book. That time I was first reading it. And how I am still me! All these years later. Later, I may just go down cellar and take my trombone out of its case…

  5. Iain says:

    Excellent first post, and v. interesting topic

  6. kath says:

    I think I heard some interesting notes last night coming from that trombone of yours. London may be far away from New Hampshire, but beautiful music emanates from the heart and can be heard by those who tune into, listen out for it, wherever they are. Play us a tune, Nancy!

  7. jane says:

    kathleen, love the blog you sure gave us a lot to think about. i liked the comment about seeing things the way other people see them im a curios person i guess thats why i have so many books to read. I’ll be curios to find out the comments you have about the magnesium i asked. the email probably didnt go through weird stuff has been happening to this computer so i will send it again. i also liked that you said you got involved in watching the people instead of reading your book. i love to watch people to.

  8. Laura T says:

    Great posting. And the site looks so lovely too. Curiouser and curiouser said Alice!

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