Is human curiosity benefiting society?

Is human curiosity benefiting society?

The idiom, curiosity kills the cat, has been an underlying pun of modernity. Typically, this phrase is used to describe someone who has gotten into trouble or even harmed himself while being curious to try something out. We apply this phrase to situations when a person gets into trouble for being too inquisitive. In a broader context, humans are always overly curious to try out new things. In the book, Frankenstein, it depicts a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. The consequences of such an intervention was death, as the creature had killed the scientist’s brother. Does human curiosity always result in negative consequences? There is evidence that curiosity helps us survive. The urge to explore and seek novelty helps us remain vigilant and gain knowledge about our constantly changing environment, which may be why our brains evolved to release dopamine and other feel-good chemicals when we encounter new things. Research has also shown curiosity to be associated with higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life, and greater psychological well-being. Whether human curiosity influences us positively or negatively depends on the areas that our curiosity is focused on. 

Curiosity helps us to survive. Our innate nature to be curious helps us to become more knowledgeable and stay alert. We are able to remain vigilant about our changing environment and cope with it, as well as learn from other life forms and how they have adapted. Diving bells and underwater tanks have helped humans to explore the sea and harness resources for medicinal purposes. Without curiosity, there would not have been any advancements in technology and we would have fallen prey to viruses without any form of vaccinations. Disasters would not have been overcome without meteorological progress. Meteorology is the scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting, and we are able to study trends in weather patterns to protect ourselves through a flight response. Gravity defying stunts conducted by the Wright brothers were seen foolhardy. They were curious about how humans could be transported in the air. It was not simply a couple of boys playing with wings, but rather serious inquisitiveness to challenge the abilities of man. Without human curiosity, there would be no opportunities to allow globalisation to happen. There would be no progression in our quality of life and we would still be living in the ancient ages. 

Nonetheless, as with any other human, Man will never be satisfied the moment he has a taste of success. Human curiosity has evidently led to progress. This progress gives Man strength and a perception that he is the most intelligent species on earth. With human curiosity, we have conquered animals. Once we have competed with animals, we fashion weapons out of stone, making spears out of sticks and iron ore. Fast forward to today, we even eat the flesh of animals as part of our diet, such as shark’s fin. Humans have also invented gunfire and weapons, which have caused us to become earth’s terrors when the terrors are perceived by man to be the next man-eating tigers or the beast in the rivers, like the saltwater crocodile. All these were done to satisfy our desires for trophies, luxury clothing and premium food. Or even furniture and accessories. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “ Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” What Gandhi was alluding to was the fact that Man damages the environment. We poach excessively and disrupt the ecobalance that is sensitive. We affect the animal community for short term gains, but ultimately we will have to pay the price. 

On the other hand, we cannot deny that human curiosity will still serve the general community in more positive ways than one. Medical science has made significant progress. Leonardo Da Vinci was an artist, but he had a strong interest in human anatomy. One of Leonardo’s drawings, the Vitruvian Man, is a study of the proportions of the human body, linking art and science in a single work. In producing this work, he was curious to find out about the anatomy. Leonardo’s scientific studies were largely ignored by other scholars as he did not attend university and did not have formal education in some subjects. His approach to science was one of intense observation and detailed recording, his tools of investigation being almost exclusively his eyes. Leonardo’s approach and curiosity became material for doctors and medical practitioners to better understand human anatomy, leading to more accurate and successful operations, and advancements in medical treatments. 

Yet, human curiosity can lead to a lack of awareness of the impact an obsession can create. The internet is where our knowledge congregates. We share information to feed curious minds. We interact and comment in order to trade ideas. All these serve a unified purpose: To learn, to educate, to know. We invented the internet, but we forgot that once it takes off, people are able to misuse it. Issues like cyberbullying and scams have been happening online, and all these affect law and order. They can even lead to a lack of mental wellness. However, the pace of technological advancement has reached its inertia. At the height of its progress, humans are able to create multitudes of websites, blogs, interactive platforms to promote their interests. In the face of all this progress is fear. A fear that we are going to suffer consequences in a field that is increasingly difficult to regulate. With a lack of regulation, people could take actions to serve their own interests and this could result in more problems among humans. 

To conclude, curiosity can be a double edged sword. It can benefit us by allowing us to find out more about our surroundings. In doing so, we progress in the way we think and act. Yet, when left unchecked, Man’s greed will get the better of us. We become victims to our inventions and ego. Greed and obsession will cause devastation to Mankind.

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