Thursday, 8 December 2011

Curiosity killed my free time

Curiosity, at least in its form of Openness to Experience, is said to be one of the Big Five factors of human personality.

I do wonder sometimes, though, how much of the time I while away chasing information is genuine curiosity and how much could be classified as some sort of morbid addiction.

Years ago, I didn't spend hours in the library poring over encyclopedias unless I had to, for an essay or an exam. Yet, these days, a substantial portion of my day is taken over by googling and Wikipedia-ing, chasing after useless facts and confirming half-lost memories.

I do it because I can. And I don't always feel any better for knowing whatever it was.

Sometimes it feels like a food addiction. It's so easy that it's difficult to stop and, the more you eat, the less satisfied you get. Rather like chomping your way through a packet of Pringles instead of preparing a healthy meal from scratch, laying the table, sitting down and eating in company.

The more I know, the less satisfied I am.

I just hope that there won't be a Pandora- or Bluebeard's wife- style nasty surprise at the end of it.


Whisks said...

I agree with you. It's fun to run down the answer to a question that's strolled into your head and sat down looking vaguely interesting. But also, to some extent, pointless. On the one hand, all knowledge is knowledge and not to be shunned, but on the other? A bit like a crossword or a sudoku; pleasureable while you're doing it, but then, so what?
I think the difference - is having a point to it, so that it's not, er, pointless.
If I can end a googling session with a summary - that I now know something I didn't know before and that's made a difference to my life, then it was time well spent. But aimless, directionless playing around, is just that. For me, the trick is to have something particular to research. Then the internet is just fab.

Sue said...

Maybe it's something to do with the difference between information, knowledge and wisdom?