The word ‘why‘ is the catalyst for which individuals ask questions, provoke thoughts and suggest the notion of ‘searching for more’. Therefore the word ‘why’ is the catalyst for an individuals of impending curiosity.
So why are humans so intrigued by this notion of being curious?
The unquenchable curiosity of a child is something that has intrigued researchers and intelligent minds for an eternity. Children always seem to ask ‘why‘ certain events unfold due to their lack of experience in life and are always willing to learn the answer to this ‘why‘. Simply put by George Loewenstein, curiosity is ‘consistently recognised as a critical motive that influences human behaviour in both positive and negative ways at all stages of the life cycle.’ (Loewenstein, 1994, p. 75) So derived from this, it can be understood that it is human nature to ask the question of ‘why’ something is, however sometimes in may be more prominent in higher pitched, somewhat annoying tones.
From quite a young age I was known as the child that asked too many questions. My parents decided to shut me up by purchasing books for me to read to distract me. This worked for some occasions but in the end just made me even more so curious. I would ask why a certain character was doing something, where they were in the world, how they came to be, where babies came from. The really hard hitting questions.
I also find it interesting that people can be curious, however reject this curiosity in the form of not wanting to know something. An example would be your friend spoiling the new episode of Game of Thrones, any television series or even book. Nobody wants spoilers.
Curiosity truly is a human emotion which originates from the same place as hunger, fear and happiness, it fuels an individuals motivational drive (Loewenstein, 1994, p. 80).
One recent example would be my comrades and I making our way down a strange path which lead us into almost immediate trouble. We were intoxicated at the time of course.
On our way home from the most wonderful nightclub in the shire, Fusion (also referred to as Dirty Fuse, Fuse, Fusions and a s#*% hole) we decided to walk a different way from the way we usually do, just for fun (it was a very bad idea).
We ended up walking for almost an hour and were almost home, at this point I was exhausted with sweat dripping down my forehead and landing on the concrete (you could hear the drops hitting the ground). My eyes were heavy and as I looked up for the four-hundredth time to see if we were home, I saw a man just sitting on the footpath and I thought “Why is he sitting there alone.” (the 10th Burbon and Coke was well and truly kicking in). Usually I don’t approach people if I see them alone, but this man had something in his hand and being dumb, young, drunk and stupid I went up to him with my mates and asked what he had in his hand. Why did I do this? Because Kris likes to make friends when he is drunk.
My curiosity (and drunken state) had landed me in some deep do-do. The man stood up with a bag of white powder in his hands and offered it to my friends and I. Being the good upstanding teenagers we told our parents we were we declined his offer which is when things started to get a little bit interesting.
He reached into his jacket and almost instinctively we bolted away from this guy. Not to our surprise he had a knife on him.
So long story short, we got offered drugs, the guy pulled a knife on us when we said no, so we ran. Just an ordinary night in the shire aye.
The experience was one I will never forget (obviously) but it is one hell of a story to recount. It is interesting to analyse that curiosity can have such an effect on people that they will endanger themselves without knowing. It is a powerful emotion that can evoke happiness, anger, sadness and fulfilment. That is what curiosity is. That is ‘why’ people ask ‘why‘.
Loewenstein, George. “The Psychology Of Curiosity: A Review And Reinterpretation”. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 116. Issue 1 (1994) p:75, 80.