Friday, March 13, 2009

Curiosity kills more than cats

So I read today about a little boy who seriously cut himself when he curiously poked his finger into a hole in some sort of metal box in the restroom and encountered a jagged piece of metal within.

Curiosity, plain and simple.

Curiosity is linked to intelligence. Your average earthworm exhibits little to no interest in anything other than ingesting dirt. It nevers appears to wonder why, its annelid life-goal being but to squirm and die.

But the brainier a beast, the more it sniffles its surroundings and pokes its various digits, appendages, nose and tongue into every nook and cranny.

The old proverb warns against such behavior. And indeed, with good reason. Curiosity, in the animal world, seems to cause a lot of casualties. In The Hedgehog's Dillema, by Hugh Warwick, we are warned to be careful what manner of substances we slather around our yards in hedgehog country, as the spiny beast loves to sample any intriguing new scent it encounters.

Human parents struggle mightly to prevent their young offspring from ingesting pocket change, thumbtacks, household poisons and electric sockets, to name a few. Once a modicum of growth is developed, there is yet no rest for the weary: the young ones promptly try to shove beans and such into their nostrils or ears as well; and the schemes only get more convoluted as the children get older.

How is it that such a deadly trait as curiosity goes hand-in-hand with intelligence?

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