C-91. Curiosity: the concept

Some concepts are worse than others. In neglecting consequentiality they are dysfunctionally consequential. “Curiosity” is one of those concepts. Behaviorally, especially in a Stage 4 perspective (App. XIX), it can be as passive as exposure to differences and changes in circumstances – a perpetual tourism. It can be as timid as an “open mind.” It can be as underdeveloped as the “What is that called?” inquiry – or the “What is that?” question that will settle for a name as answer. It can be the battered corpse of formal and informal instructional erosion. It can be the victim of authoritative dismissal for the very act of questioning.

Curiously, we are not all that curious about curiosity. Tellingly, we recognize it when we see it. But then that is because we are seeing it in Stage 4 terms: as particular functionings of animals generally and humans specially (e.g., searching, sniffing, tasting, pawing). We need to cognize, not just recognize, curiosity. Curiosity, which should comprise all of primary, secondary and tertiary reads … which should urge development of capability, including appropriate technologies, is moribund among related concepts like “critical thinking,” “intelligence” – the former sometimes more critical than ideational, the latter sometimes more learning than knowing. Curiosity viewed in Stage 4 perspective is virtually no more than a talent or a trait (two other Stage 4 conceptual favorites).

Curiosity exemplifies the progress in explanation (App. XVIII) that is needed from, and provided by, theoretical explication, by transforming concepts to theoretical constructs (C-81, C-85). Each and every transformation of a behavioral concept to a theoretical construct shouts “Development!” and “Realization!” And: “Escape the Stage 4 cage! And: “Climb the Escarpment!” (App. XII diagram, with reference to concepts’ impedimental [IV, 0: S-P] “mind-binding” intellectual constraints in the reading and telling of behavioral architecture [C-90]).

Curiosity needs, as capability, to get further into consequentiality. And consequentiality, we have seen, begins as one of three general persisting conditions of the Nature of Things (III) – along with partial order and discontinuity (of behavioral entities). Then, further, it figures in the development of functionality and the exercise of developed functionality (App. XIX: Stages 1-3 ) where the components of behavioral architecture are IN and OF consequence.

(For more on the technological development of curiosity, via improved questioning capability, see App. XX [Message theory] and App. XXI [OrthoSearch].)

(c) 2013 R.F. Carter