Quotation Saturday: Curiosity

Mamacita says:  Children are naturally curious.  With each passing day, an infant is more and more curious about what’s going on in the world around him/her.  When is this happening?  When is that happening?  And, later, WHY is this happening, or not?  Add to this everything in between, and it’s little wonder that it’s so easy to help a little child learn new things.  Their brains are wired for curiosity.  So were ours, once.  It’s the fortunate adult who never lost the desire to go on and on, beyond the known horizons, learning more and more, because he/she is never satisfied with what he/she already knows.

I’m not.  There will never be an end to my constant climbing and searching for new things to “know.”  How else would I blow my siblings out of the water during trivia contests?  They’re all smart, and they know tons of awesome stuff.  Even so, I couldn’t stop seeking answers if I tried.  I don’t WANT to stop.  There’s always something else around the bend and I HAVE to find out what it is.

However, I know people who wouldn’t care if they never learned another new thing.  I pity them, because when learning stops, stagnation begins.  Those stinky little ponds all over southern Indiana, covered with scum and mosquitoes?  They stopped moving, and now they are dead and dead things stink.  When people stop learning, they might as well be buried and get it over with, for they are as good as dead. I consider a person who is content to allow his/her head to be stuffed full of other people’s opinions as good as dead, also.

Thinking can be hard. Some people just aren’t willing to put forth the effort. Besides, thinking sometimes makes us question our choices, values, and beliefs. Horrors.

Harsh?  Sure.  But it’s how I roll.  One of the many things I despise about most of our public schools is the fact that they pretty much beat the curiosity out of our children.  Often, children are punished for wanting to know MORE and refusing to stop once ONE answer or solution is reached.  Of course, as Professor Umbridge says, the important thing about school is taking tests, and tests are concerned only with predetermined answers, not curiosity.  “Next year, Billy,” a teacher might promise.  But when next year comes, Billy soon learns that the new year is just like the old year: day after day of sitting and waiting for other kids to catch up, with never anything for the kids who already know, and detention or worse for the child who dared experiment with his lunch or the ink in his pen or the clay or a poem or story or the paints in the art room.  Sigh.

Curiosity:  Let’s encourage it in our children, for the curious thinkers and scientists and writers and dreamers are the hope of the universe.

As for unimaginative and uncurious adults. . . .  I should be a lot sorrier for them than I am, but it’s their own fault.  Life is full of choices, and there’s more than one kind of Easy Street.

There will be a lot of Einstein.

1. Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death. — Einstein

2. Sometimes questions are more important than answers. — Nancy Willard

3. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. — Einstein

4. Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly. — Arnold Edinborough

5. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. — Einstein

6. The greatest virtue of man is perhaps curiosity. — Anatole France

7. When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. — Walt Disney

8. Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

9. A good scientist is a person in whom the childhood quality of perennial curiosity lingers on. Once he gets an answer, he has other questions. — Frederick Seitz

10. 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 should be curiosity. — Eleanor Roosevelt

11. I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way. — Franklin P. Adams

12. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why. — Bernard Baruch

13. The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. — Dorothy Parker

14. It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry. — Einstein

15. I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life. — Eleanor Roosevelt

16. Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not. — Isaiah Berlin

17. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. — Einstein

18. The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education. — Einstein

19. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. — Einstein

20. Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient. — Eugene S. Wilson

21. Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision. — Aldous Huxley

22. Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people. — Leo Burnett

23. Curiosity killed the cat, but where human beings are concerned, the only thing a healthy curiosity can kill is ignorance. — Harry Lorayne

24. For infants and toddlers learning and living are the same thing. If they feel secure, treasured, loved, their own energy and curiosity will bring them new understanding and new skills. — Amy Laura Dombro

25. Joy in the universe, and keen curiosity about it all – that has been my religion. — John Burroughs

26. One of the secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute. — William Lyon Phelps

27. Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.
— Linus Pauling

28. I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. –Albert Einstein

29. Be curious always, for knowledge will not acquire you; you must acquire it. –Sudie Back

30. Fear paralyzes; curiosity empowers. Be more interested than afraid. – Patricia Alexander

31. If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. — Rachel Carson

32. Every man ought to be inquisitive through every hour of his great adventure down to the day when he shall no longer cast a shadow in the sun. For if he dies without a question in his heart, what excuse is there for his continuance? — Frank Moore Colby

33. I suppose the one quality in an astronaut more powerful than any other is curiosity. They have to get some place nobody’s ever been. — John Glenn

34. The alchemists in their search for gold discovered many other things of greater value. — Arthur Schopenhauer

35. You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. — Unknown

36. Mere curiosity adds wings to every step. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

37. I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. — Einstein

38. While we are born with curiosity and wonder and our early years full of the adventure they bring, I know such inherent joys are often lost. I also know that, being deep within us, their latent glow can be fanned to flame again by awareness and an open mind. — Sigurd Olson

39. So as I thought about it, the most important “tool” you can have today in business is insatiable curiosity. The minute you lose it, you’re dead. — Steve Rubel

40. This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. — John Steinbeck

41. Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death. — Einstein

42. Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient. — Abdel Aziz Rantissi

43. Seize the moment of excited curiosity on any subject to solve your doubts; for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance. — Agung Laksono

44. We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate what ever aroused curiosity. — Orville Wright

45. Effective questioning brings insight, which fuels curiosity, which cultivates wisdom. — Chip Bell

46. One should never count the years — one should instead count one’s interests. I have kept young trying never to lose my childhood sense of wonderment. I’m glad I still have a vivid curiosity about the world I live in. — Helen Keller

47. Youth is not measured by the age of a person, but by the curiosity a person keeps. — Salvador Pániker

48. All my life through, the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a child. — Marie Curie

49. Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science. — Edwin Powell Hubble

50. The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny…” — Isaac Asimov

51. The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. –William Lawrence Bragg

52. Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

53. What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what’s going on. — Jacques Cousteau

54. Be curious, not judgmental. — Walt Whitman

55. Education would be so much more effective if its purpose were to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they don’t know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it. — Sir William Haley

Bonus points if you know who the little boy in both pictures is.


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