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Curiosity Killed The Cat

By Emily Wilton

Curiosity, intrigue, gossip and rumour - it’s inherently human to want to know the answer to whatever questions you may have buzzing around in your head, to hear something and wonder the big what if.

It’s human nature to be curious, inquisitive and a little bit nosey. Some would say it’s a significant trait noticed in just about everyone you meet. However, if you were to ask a person to define the term ‘curiosity’ they could come up with a different definition every time, depending on what it was you were asking.

Historically many leaders have tried to wipe out the very idea of curiosity in humans, dating back to the middle ages when the church would give the impression that anything worth knowing was already learnt and therefore anything new was unnecessary. One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of historic leaders stifling curiosity was the Nazi party burning books as a sort of censorship against ideologies that weren’t aligned with their strict beliefs at the time. Since the digital age, however, we have been more curious than ever with practically every bit of knowledge at our very fingertips, presenting the opportunity to connect with family, friends and even strangers on the other side of the globe within moments.

Curiosity is thought to have first been noted back in the stone age when humans first developed survival skills and needed to know about their surroundings to thrive. It was a progressive step pressured by underlying causes to what is now considered a way to simply pass the time. Curiosity is similar to hunger or thirst in the sense that we feel curiosity as an urge to be fulfilled.

Psychologists, scientists and doctors are all people who have studied the human brain and how our thoughts, feelings and emotions play out. The most common cases where our curiosity arises is when something is not fitting our usual everyday events. As we tend to be people of order and consistency, when something nudges us off that path we tend to stop and question it.

This in itself is similar to our modern-day gossip magazines or clickbait floating around on social media. It intrigues us and makes us want to know if the piece of information is relevant and true or if it is entirely fictional. Depending on our reaction to said gossip or rumours, if it doesn’t fit in with our already formed way of thinking then we either reject it and express our dislike across various platforms or we’re drawn into it and research it further and share the findings with a friend or online community.

This is made easier for us to do based on whether or not we find ourselves in an echo chamber of our creation, having the same opinions repeated back on your feed providing a sense of confidence and comfort that isn’t always found outside of the chamber.

Curiosity, rumours, gossip - they are a mystery in themself and can never truly be fully explained with any real conclusion. So from all of this, how do we end up with all the things we are currently facing, with the likes of conspiracy theories raging wild online and everything else that's going on in this wild, wacky world? These sources of unverified information continue to influence a person to find out more - the constant ‘will it/won’t it’ argument provides plenty of debate for those that are intrigued to continue guessing.


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