Thursday, January 26, 2012

Curiosity Did NOT Kill the Cat (Contrary to Popular Belief)!!

We all know how curious children (and cats apparently, though I can say from experience that nobody beats puppies for crazy curiosity. "Oooo, that dog is 1000x bigger than me. I should really check him/her out!" "Oooo, something made a scary noise! I'll jump and be scared for a second, then go and see if it's an axe murderer or something even more interesting!" "SQUIRREL!!!!" Curiosity may have killed the dog rather than the cat. Cats tend to have a much higher sense of self preservation than my puppy. If cats have nine lives, dogs should have like 90. They'd go through them before they turn 1, I'm sure of it. Now where was I? Oh, yeah....) tend to be. That's because the world is such a mystery to them. Every second of every day is something new. Even if it's something that's been experienced before, it's never exactly the same twice. Now, imagine going through that same feeling of intense curiosity with all of your adult cognition and recognition abilities. Ahhhhh, welcome to my world, my friends!!  So lovely to see you again!

Curiosity is a good thing for someone with amnesia. We adult amnesia sufferers are far less likely to look at the red hot burner on the stove and think "Pretty! Must touch!", and therefore less likely to end up in the hospital with third degree burns. We are also not likely to wander out into the street in hopes of catching that frog that just hopped away, or fall asleep in our closets because we wanted to see what it was like in there after bedtime and giving our parents a heart attack in our beds when they can't find us in our beds at 2am. No, we take a much safer route to appeasing our curiosity. However, appeased it must be!!

Personally, what I found/find myself most curious about are things most people take for granted. The taste of peanut butter, the texture of a flower petal, and what a warm spring day smells like.  People think of amnesia sufferers and think "Wow, they've forgotten their life. That really sucks!" What they don't think is that, in losing their memories of their lives, they've forgotten a lot of the sensory stuff that goes with it.  I love tasting *new* foods (for the first time, again.) I love smelling flowers. I love picking up a leaf outside and rubbing it between my fingers.  All of this is new to me. I don't remember the first time I smelled a rose in my life, so when I got the chance I smelled a rose (and promptly sneezed, because apparently I'm allergic. Whatever, it was worth it!!) I don't remember the first time I ate sushi, so when it was offered to me I gladly tried it, and loved it!! I don't remember smelling a spring day, so yesterday I stepped outside and breathed deeply over and over again. The list goes on and on. 

Second on my curiousity hit list is history. Not just long ago, in galaxies far, far away, but current events. Whenever I hear a story on the news, I immediately (well, that's a subjective immediately, as in "as soon as I'm able to get to my computer."  It tends to be pretty immediate, since I'm still unemployed and all. HEY! I can feel you judging me. Stop it!!) look it up. I want to know everything there is to know about what is happening and what has happened around me. To that end, New Year's was a boon. Every news outlet felt the need to create these lists. Top News Stories 2011, Top Entertainment Stories 2011, Top Scientific Discoveries 2011, What Was Trending 2011, etc, etc. These were great for finding things I wanted to know the back story on, making my list, and going Google crazy!

Third, and nowhere near last, is visual. I don't remember most television shows and movies. The sheer number of things I want to see is so overwhelming that there are times I wish I could just lock myself in my room and watch TV all day, every day, for, like, a least. TV shows that I watched as a kid will sometimes come back to me as I watch them, at least the basic story line. Others that I watched as a teenager or adult (or never watched at all, of course, but that's kinda a no brainer once you read the rest of this sentence) won't come back to me, but I enjoy them so much I have trouble not obsessing over them and watching episode after episode after episode........

Fourth, and still nowhere near last (but the last one I'm going to mention on this post) is people. I love getting to know people. People I knew in my "past life" and people I've never met before. People are fascinating. Everyone is different. They react differently to different situations. If you watch people in similar circumstances, you'll notice very few similarities besides general/overall/big scale emotions. If there's joy, then there's joy. How people react to that joy is very telling of what they are like. Same for anger, fear, frustration, etc., etc. 

Curiosity has gotten me through months of dealing with not knowing much (but I know IIII love yooooouuu. No. Wait. That's a song. Not where I'm going with this.) Unfortunately, the more you know about life, the less you want to know more. I've noticed a definite difference in how curious I am about stuff now rather than how curious I was when this all began. In fact, having the perspective that I do, I'm trying not to do what it seems most other adults do....stop caring. Kids care about what is going on around them for a reason, we should all care, too. Learn something new every day. Learn a lot of new things every day!!! Don't stop caring about the world around you, and I will continue to do the same.
Basically, I have been compelled by curiosity. ~ Mary Leakey

“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
~ T.H. White, The Once and Future King


  1. I disagree with your assertion in this case. I don't think adults "stop caring." They just aren't as vocal about it as children are. I learn every day. I notice things every day. It may not be the first time I have noticed something or the first time I've sought out information about something but just because it's not the first time doesn't mean it's less precious. Also, just because "most" adults don't talk about what they've learned doesn't mean they aren't learning, every day. They're just more private about it.

    1. You're right, Mandy. I put that very poorly. There is still a desire to learn and a deep rooted curiosity in all of us. However, the desperate urge is very diminished in adults compared to toddlers and young children. It's something I've noticed in myself, that I'm losing the urgency to learn everything possible the more I know. However, that doesn't mean I don't have a desire to know or that I don't still learn something new every day. Thank you for pointing that out.


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