Saturday, April 10, 2010


“Things are generally other than they seem, and ignorance that never looks beneath the rind becomes disabused when you show the kernel. Lies always come first... truth always lags last.”

~Balthasar Gracian.

It was a common saying as I grew up: “Curiosity kills the cat.” It was particularly relevant to the anti-drug education process I think. But this cliché forgets the altogether fabulous truth that curiosity is also the secret weapon of wisdom, truth and hence life.

Curiosity opens us up to a world hardly seen, but one that is just as truthfully there.

In fact, it’s a world-of-truth that’s there and hardly seen by the speculating world—the populace that gets it wrong most of the time when it commits itself to the first-seen “truth” which is inevitably a lie. And then this world will often defend itself even in the face of acknowledged lies—such is its pride it doesn’t want to be seen coming up short, needing to apologise. It propagates its own insanity because it refuses to be positively curious.

This is hardly the reality sought for those who seek shalom.

Prudence indeed lives retired within the recesses of superficiality, to paraphrase Gracian. To get at her, we must endeavour to patiently dig deeper than our oft-quick-fitted minds would allow.

As we search those furrows for the anointed gold of sure truth we uncover other things too; a whole world of perception and hardly-skewed reality beckons.

The kernel and inside of things bears the most truth, but it is only curiosity that will venture in there. And the very nature of curiosity is this: it doesn’t deplore the waiting. It enjoys each step on the journey to truth as much as it does swimming in the destination.

The truth is there in all that we see; but it is our sight that confuses us. Like the case of good ole fashioned ‘domestic blindness’ (husbands, fathers, men) we all—yes, both genders—so readily overlook the truth that shines so brightly everyone could see.

Curiosity will awaken in us—if we’ll let it—that sense of reservedness for all a situation has to reveal about itself. It can awaken us to the fact that the truth often-times lags beyond our first perception.

The patience of curiosity and of reservation; the keys to wisdom so far as truth is concerned. Curiosity, indeed, creates the cat; the lithe creature full of good mind.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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