Why are children so curious and adults so disinterested? A lack of interest in life or in goal-setting implies a simple disorder: you’ve been stripped of your childishness.
See, I don’t think childishness is solely an insult. Children are more honest than adults and more curious. Children inspire us because we forget that they will lose many of their best qualities in their transition to adulthood.
It is an ignored question – why are children simultaneously moral barbarians and moral saints? What is the link between honesty, curiosity, morality and selfishness?
In other words, why is it that when children are socialized into group life they become, at the same time, more polite and more bored?
In exchange for courteousness and deference, we have sacrificed honesty and inquisitiveness at the altar of ‘maturity’. It’s simply more difficult to ‘get along’ with someone who has constantly shifting interests and a penchant for speaking their mind.
Curious people can be found in all walks of life. Curious religious people, for example, become bible study teachers, theologians or church workers. Curious people, in general, may be extreme sports fans, have some obsession with some hobby, be a scientist or be a consistently avid consumer of pop culture.
All that curiosity requires is a bizarre thirst for knowledge, articulable or not.
Curious people are qualitatively different than non-curious people, I’d say. But I don’t know what causes the one and not the other.
Curiosity is found among all races, both sexes, on every continent and in every school. Boredom and indifference are vastly more common, granted, but curious people, wherever they are found, are the movers and shakers of their generations.
Most unfortunate of all, curiosity can be lost. If children really are more curious than adults, on average (does anyone dispute this?), then the sociologist has the solemn burden of explaining how adults learn to be bored and uninterested.
There’s no doubt that poor schools, poor teachers, entertainment-oriented mass culture and ‘respect’ for religious explanations of reality all contribute to the anti-curious attitudes of many people.
Poor schools, though, are found more often in certain neighborhoods and not in others. So are churches. Poverty causes stress and anxiety, both of which decrease a child’s ability to sleep and learn. There are also plenty of middle-class kids, who, as well, just can’t seem to ‘get interested’ in anything.
Curiosity is the most valuable cognitive resource in this universe. If certain people are systematically made to feel bored, I want to know why.
I want to know why they lost their curiosity and I want to know who, or what, took it from them.