Sunday, December 5, 2010

Furiously Curious

Curiosity used to be a killer (killed many a cat), but now it's in grave danger of becoming non-existent. The word 'grave danger' piques my curiosity - how can people be in grave danger? Most people in the grave are out of danger (except for maybe Charlie Chaplin whose body was stolen by grave robbers - though the robbers were grave, they had the last laugh, a distinction that should have been reserved for Sir Chaplin!), and most people in danger are headed towards the grave. Anyway, curiosity is dying because it no longer appears to be an imperative for evolution or survival. The world is in jeopardy because of lack of curiosity, but a few lives are on 'Jeopardy' because of it! I am not talking about the instinctive curiosity of a growing child, but about the curiosity that starts withering away once we reach adulthood (wither, weather, whether - why bother?).

Discovery of fire and invention of the wheel must have been direct results of curiosity, but with each passing generation, accumulation of wealth, easier lifestyle and the lack of continued need to know the meaning or origins of the word 'penumbra', the need for curiosity grows lesser and lesser. What is ironic is that there is a wealth of information at our finger-tips in today's world but the focus is need and not want. The developing world, however, is definitely more curious than the developed world because of the survival instinct at play in the fiercely competitive environment, resulting from the overblown population that has picked up momentum beyond reprieve.

Curiosity leads to discoveries, inventions, and rebellion, leading the powers that be to curb it by concocting wild theories and whipping up fear and mass hysteria (ranging from the medieval church in England to the milk-drinking Ganesh statues in India) to keep the ignorant masses distracted. What is interesting is that dissemination of information is an art and not a science, capable of distracting even the most intellectual person. Power, in my mind, is finding ways to suppress curiosity. Suppresion of curiosity also gives rise to superstititions which are so interestingly focused on exploiting the weaknesses of our psyche that they continue to persist even in current times.

Being curious about random and interesting things without a motive is a rarity in this goal-oriented world. It's considered trivial, and that's why that information must be called 'trivia'. The sheer joy of it is unparallelled, but quite sadly tangential for the bulk of mankind. It gives invaluable meaning to the lives of people who aren't goal-oriented but just enjoying the ride.

So here's what I am curious about (and this echoes thoughts of friends too):

  • Why do people come up with words that are never going to enter general use - e.g., floccinaucinihilipilification? Is it a ploy by the language elitist, and to what end? 
  • Why don't people care about the Capybara, world's largest rodent? Will it lead a life in permanent oblivion? 
  • Why do millions of lemmings commit mass suicide every year? What was David Koresh thinking? 
  • Why were several species of small furry animals gathered together in a cave and grooving with a pict? 
  • Who framed Roger Rabbit? 
  • Who chose Puneet Issar to play Superman in the Indian version, and Albert Pinto to ko gussa kyon aata hai? 
  • Who comes up with weird words like oxymoron, onomatopeia, ersatz, epiphany, and chutzpah, and who decides to put silent letters in front of certain words? 
  • Why do we have a word like curious and a word like curios (plural), and why isn't curious spelled curios in American English? 
  • How did the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus manage to totally upstage Jesus Christ when the events/holidays are supposed to be all about him? 
  • Why does the kangaroo's baby get born with a name (Joey) while other babies dont? 
  • Why isn't man kind when we as a whole are referred to as 'mankind'? 
  • How do human beings and hunan beans coexist in harmony in China? 
  • Why are some people focused on using all letters of the greek alphabet in crazy equations? 
  • Why is up at the front and down on the side? 
  • Why does Tata Steel 'also' make steel? How is 'Nano' large enough to be visible? 
  • Why are the forties roaring, the fifties furious, and the sixties screaming? 
  • What is red and goes tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock? 
  • What is the root of (Chris) Squire? This is a trick question - there is none since Squire does not believe in sticking to his root (notes)!
Last but not the least, why doesn't furiosity get the same usage as curiosity? I am Curiously Furious now.

Musical Credits: Bass: Pankaj Kanth, Lead Guitar (on Bass): Pankaj Kanth, Rhythm Guitar (on Bass): Pankaj Kanth, Drums: Korg Pandora preset rhythm

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