Define “curious”

For some reason, my alarm clock is set to this religious station.  Every morning I am awakened by a booming, enthusiastic sermon about one topic or another.  Despite the subject matter, I always find the voice comforting.  But this morning was a doozy.

The preacher/pastor/rabbi whatever he is was talking about infidelity, and he walked through an interesting progression.  He started out by saying that many people have beautiful bodies, different shapes, different curves, different attributes, and that finding these attributes attractive is not a sin.  Appreciating them is not a sin.  Offering an awed, almost involuntary compliment in manifestation of this appreciation is not a sin.  Thinking about these attributes is not a sin.  Even dreaming about these attributes is not a sin.  But it is close.  According to this preacher/pastor/rabbi, somewhere between dreaming and fantasizing, a line is crossed, a sin is committed, and the culprit, it seems, is curiosity.

The dictionary defines, and the religious figure cited this definition, “curious” as “marked by desire to investigate and learn.”  So apparently, appreciating what is there and readily apparent is fine, but desiring to investigate and learn more is not.  I found this to be an interesting distinction.

I thought this was an interesting meaning of “curious,” a curious meaning, even.  We don’t usually associate curiosity with something bad, do we?  Curious George is both bad and curious, but not, I don’t think, bad because he is curious (perhaps the man in the yellow hat would disagree).  Does being curious make us bad?  Is there such a thing as good and healthy curiosity?  Or does it depend on what we are curious about?  Can we help what piques our curiosity?  What is your common definition of curious?

And what about in the context of the radio show?

Enquiring minds want to know (you silly little monkeys).

5 thoughts on “Define “curious”

  1. For me, curiosity is about asking questions and finding answers. In terms of propriety–back to appreciation and infidelity–I suppose that it becomes an issue of whether you allow yourself to ask certain questions.

  2. Okay, so curiosity as an exercise, fine, provided that the object of the curiosity is not salacious? I can get with that. But isn’t some subject matter more readily curiosity-inducing than others? Would it be better to never be curious than to be occasionally and compellingly curious with regard to things about which one should not be curious? I guess curiosity has long been viewed as sort of pernicious; it did kill the cat, after all. I like my curiosity, and am not about to give it up. Wouldn’t give it up, even if I knew it would make me a “better” person. I wonder if anyone else would reach a different conclusion.

    • “But isn’t some subject matter more readily curiosity-inducing than others?”

      Of course, it’s just different for every person, and I think that curiosity is a use-it-or-lose-it asset. If everyone was curious about the things that I can’t help but be intrigued by, I wouldn’t seem weird to anyone, and that’s certainly not the case.

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