A Greedy Ogre:

Can Answers Put an End to Curiosity?

April 18, 2014  |  By Maria Lupu, Romania

A Greedy Ogre:

Photo : ACME Squares - WikiCommons

A keyhole and a window. Imagine this: you are in this room. In the room there is an open window and a locked door. You are allowed to look out of the window, but you are banned from looking through the keyhole. Regardless of the splendor of the landscape offered by the window, something in your mind stirs you to find out what the mystery held by the keyhole is. Why? Because your mind is tantalized by a greedy “ogre” called curiosity. Curiosity feeds on the unseen, its huge mouth longs for the taste of the unknown, the nameless things that human beings are yet to explore and discover.

Four Romanian youngsters put curiosity to test. They asked a question: How do nations choose their flags?  As to saturate the hunger of this curiosity, two of them, namely Mimi and Bodgan researched the topic on the Internet, while the other two, Daria and Anca, spoke to as many people as they could to find out their opinions and views about this matter.

What Mimi and Bogdan discovered as a result of their research on the Internet is that a flag is not a mere symbol of a nation`s history and culture. A flag is the DNA of a country. Therefore, beyond the design of each flag lies a hidden story with the perfume of a myth. The combination of colors and symbols were carefully selected by each country, as when the flag is waved, the respective nation be known for a certain characteristic. To Bogdan, what was most interesting was ”to find out about the animal symbolism presented on certain flags, especially because animals are related with legends, ancient creeds and stories.” As to Mimi, she was startled by the story of the United States flag, which was first dreamed up by a high-school student for a class project. ”This fact seemed to me very interesting. I have never thought that at such an early age one could have designed something so successful like a flag pattern.”

As to Daria and Anca, the ones who interviewed people, the experience was slightly different, as Daria spoke with people randomly on the streets, while Anca asked her father and other acquaintances. Among the answers that Daria received from people, there were some pretty funny ones like: "I think they let a colorblind man to choose from a series” or “I'm thinking of a cat given the dice to choose the number of the stripes." Regarding these witty answers, Daria said: “I was happy seeing that there are still some people who let their imagination rule. However, some of them also had a guess at reality. "On the other hand, to Anca this experience was a valuable one because she learned that ”the first step to knowing a country is to learn about its flag. I also understood that without a doubt, a flag is the symbol of a nation.E ven if there would be a flag symbolized by a single color, that color would represent that state.”

So,these four youngsters have played a game in which the only rule to be respected  was to satiate their hunger for knowing more. The first step was finding the question:  “How do nations choose their flags? Then came the research and the inquiry. Lastly, the information and answers they received were mapped in their minds like newly discovered lands. After this game, the four youngsters have not only found out new things about a certain topic, but they have also learnt that curiosity is more than seeking and finding out. ”This experience was unique for me. It made me more confident and sociable, because I had the chance to speak to people I wouldn't normally talk to”, said Daria.

When someone follows his or her sense of wander ,he/she bridges a gap between him/her and the others. Thus,we can see that information is not to be amassed in one`s brain, and then treasured and boasted with. Learning and knowledge exist to be shared, to link people and make the Earth a place of wonder. Because wonder is the magic dust that can make from every person a Peter Pan with high dreams to follow. ”This game taught me that there are so many things in this world that wait to be discovered! There is such a great feeling of contentment when you find out something new”, stated Anca.

Our youth also gained some insight about themselves and what it means to them to be curious. Mimi said: “After this game with the flags, I realized that in the moment when you find something out about a certain thing, curiosity regarding the respective subject should not diminish, but expand. Curiosity once followed, becomes a fundamental “asset” of knowledge”. As for Bogdan, curiosity is more than an asset: ”To me, curiosity is the special ingredient of existence, the basis of our human nature. Also,it is the stepping stone to education. We learn something because we want to know more, to explore.”

Curiosity is the art of letting go. Loosing hold of all the things we thought we knew. Wondering about something implies surrender and admitting that you can`t know everything. But what you don`t know now, you can find out. The world is an infinite reservoir of learning. And people are the best taps which can provide you with an endless supply of knowledge.

When shifting the  “I know !” attitude with the motto of  “I want to know more!”,  the prying child inside of you claims his rights. Do you remember that little creature who would never cease to ask “why”? You are that child. And a child will always gets his answers.

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