After eating the fruit and seeing the pain it caused and the simultaneous elation from being so knowledgeable, she asks why God put questions in her, almost feeling like she fell into a trap after she was made to be curious but told it was in her best interest not to be. Depending on the version of the show that you see, the male or female God responds, "why did you disobey me?" And she replies furiously, thoroughly pissed off that he/she responded with a question, "that's not an answer."
Albert Einstein said, "I have no talents, I am only passionately curious." And to me, that's enough to take you everywhere. Professionally, I'm sure it has. I chose journalism for the satisfaction from the public service of storytelling, but also, selfishly, the curiosity engine it fuels. You can know so much as a journalist. It's a big, big world with crazy, interesting people and if you aren't constantly asking questions of it, how will you adequately explore?
In my summer interning at CBS News, I sat in weekly pitch meetings and brought about four or five stories each week to pitch for that week's CBS This Morning: Saturday broadcast. Knowing I always had this meeting to prepare for, I was in a constant state of keeping my eyes peeled. The habit of always needing to produce interesting content trained me to look everywhere for a story. To trust there is usually something beyond the way things appear to be. To look at everything we encounter and ask, "What's the story there?" If you look long enough, there usually is something. It remains the best thing I learned there. An example: I was in our basement with my mom packing some things up before I moved to South Carolina, and I noticed her collection of cookbooks on a shelf. In today's age with chatrooms, message boards and every recipe you could ever hope to find accessible on Google or Pinterest, who needs cookbooks? This explains why hers were on a shelf in the basement. But there was a time that's how people learned to cook. And I suggested CBS Sunday Morning could do a wonderful story on the obsoletism of the cookbook and how this culinary tradition had died. It's not hard-hitting journalism, but it's interesting. It would be an answer to a question, which is what all great stories are.
That questioning is what's made me, and so many others, life-long lovers of learning. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, when asked what 'forever' is, Julie Andrews responded, "The joy of curiosity... thank God for that."
But I'm sure you've heard that curiosity killed the cat, and that you know some things are definitely better left unexplored, uninvestigated, and unexamined. This is a fact a journalist unequivocally and undeniably sucks at accepting. I don't ask a distracting amount of questions, and I can carry on a dinner conversation, but right now I want to know what the cat did and how it got killed. And nothing really, truly rattles me to my core more than a lack of answers and not being able to figure something out. In fact, in psychology the need to know and understand was once touted as so crucial, Abraham Maslow categorized it as a basic human need, less important than self-worth and self-esteem, but more important than aesthetic needs such as having cute clothes and a well-decorated apartment. Luckily, I have those too.
I think the truth lies healthily in between those extremes. Curiosity is not one-size-fits-all. In interviewing, it's as important to ask the right questions as it is to leave the wrong ones unsaid. And maybe more important than the need to question is the ability to understand when things do not warrant your exploration. It's a lesson that as I type, I feel like I'm teaching to a child, but also one I just really remembered learning myself. That sometimes you can just pay attention and admire from afar. That though the shine of a Swarovski crystal is tempting, it might break if you explore it too roughly. That the phrase 'beating a dead horse' exists for a reason. That in these moments when your heart is tempted to keep asking but your brain knows better, you can choose not to play with fire.
And a thought that is simultaneously troubling and comforting to a person who makes a career of finding things out: you must not always need to know.
You heard it here first,