I just read a paper on curiosity in medicine. It’s relatively short and I definitely recommend reading it if you get a chance. Essentially the author is saying that curiosity makes for a being better physician. I’ve always thought curiosity to be among the most valuable of ideals, and seeing it in the context of clinical practice was refreshing and encouraging for me. Medicine has a reputation of being primarily based on precision and cold, hard facts, but even in medicine, curiosity can be the difference between the good and the exceptional.
Curiosity is not a singular ideal though. One cannot be genuinely curious without also being humble, inquisitive, and tenacious. And the author of the article argues that being curious can make you more empathetic and caring (or at least makes you seem like it). If you care about something or if you want to figure out a solution to a problem you need to ask questions about it, you need to be curious. If you want to know what another person is experiencing, ask them about it (don’t say you can relate or that you understand), and not only will you get some insight into their experience thereby increasing your capacity for empathy, but you will likely be perceived to be more caring and empathetic.
So does curiosity lead to empathy, or does empathy lead to curiosity….. maybe they both lead to each other….. I don’t think it really matters. That being said I am a strong believer that curiosity is something that can be trained, taught, and strengthened, (and more easily than empathy) and the world would be a better place if we all practiced a little more of it.
I feel like I’m a bit all over the place with this one, at least more than usual, so I apologize. I would still love to know you thought though 🙂