Having been the companion of several kittens and adult cats over the years, I have always wondered about the phrase "Curiosity killed the cat." I recall the many times our feline family members would get trapped in the closet or the neighbor's garage, spending the whole day meowing to get noticed and released from their predicaments. Fortunately, these many mishaps and funny antics never led to death!
I discovered that "Curiosity killed the cat" was a proverb warning of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.
Wow! As we ask about another person's experiences, thoughts, and worldview, is there a point in dialogue where curiosity could become "unnecessary"?
Parents can attest to the curiosity of an inquisitive 3-year old: Why? Why? Why? The incessant questions seem to be unnecessary to an adult who has experienced or learned the answers. Isn't it wonderful, though, when we slow down, relax, and see through youthful eyes as the world is being discovered anew?
For some of us, we learned or adapted to the barriers or boundaries that have limited our curiosity -- our willingness to explore beyond what we know to be self-evident.
When did we learn to hold back? To not ask questions? To be satisfied with a finite world?
Practicing dialogue invites us to reengage curiosity:
- What am I observing?
- What assumptions have I made?
- What questions can I ask to explore beyond what I see, assume, think and feel?
Necessary curiosity -- investigation and experimentation in when and how to ask questions -- allows accepted boundaries to become doors open to discovery.
Curiosity killed the cat? The original form of the proverb is little used: "Care killed the cat," where "care" was defined as "worry" or "sorrow for others."
I wonder: can we transform how we see our world with necessary caring and concern... where together we can explore and remove the barriers that separate us? Maybe we can listen to the predicaments that entrap us and recognize those times when we have not listened to pleas for help.
May this week provide opportunities to be necessarily curious about another person's dreams, wishes, needs, and desires!
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