curiosity mistaken for authority craving

January 5th, 2011

Is it true that man is curious of nature or does he merely crave a scapegoat? Is the diversion of his curiosity onto an authority figure a corrupting influence or is it the willful satisfaction of an urge stated in incorrect terms?

If I say to you "look, a pen on the table, it came into existence". And you express great curiosity about the pen. "But how, where did it come from, how did it come to exist, why did it begin to exist?". Then I say "Bill made the pen." And then you walk away satisfied. "Okay, Bill made the pen." What does your behavior suggest? You really don't care about the pen at all.

You might be thinking "Bill made the pen, if I ever want to know how he did it, I can always ask him later. The question is not urgent."

A person with genuine interest in the pen would say "the identity of the maker is immaterial, I still know nothing about the pen. I want to know how he made the pen, what did he make it out of, where did he get the raw materials, why did he make it?". That is an attitude coherent with the stated thirst for knowledge about the pen.

Does a believer who says they urge to know how the world began really understand and correctly describe their own urge? Is the answer that "someone did it, but you will never know how or why" an answer that such a person should reasonably find satisfying?

If the believer was troubled originally by such dilemmas as "how can something come from nothing?" and "why is there anything?", is he now cleansed from such thoughts? Has the wondering ceased?

What precisely has been gained in the knowledge that Bill is the maker of the pen, if nothing about the making of the pen has become known?

Maybe the urge was never about the pen's origin in the first place. Maybe the urge for answers about the pen was only a misstatement about the the urge to find a scapegoat, an authority. Someone who can take the blame if it turns out that the pen is causing us a lot of problems.

The predicament is, in both cases, of a similar nature. The urge for an answer stems from our human psychology, but for he who wants a scapegoat, science or philosophy, which are not in the business of inventing authorities, will never fill the void. Mythology is thus the last hope.

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2 Responses to "curiosity mistaken for authority craving"

  1. Fuoriclasse says:

    the pen is causing us a lot of problems


  2. BM says:

    The pen is not causing us problems, we adapted well to it. The people claiming they know who Bill is are causing problems.