Alchemical Thoughts

You’ve got to be curious

Posted on: December 13, 2007

I found this quote by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain intriguing:

"AB: Okay. Here’s the thing. I don’t believe in fundamentalism of any kind. I believe that curiosity is my greatest and maybe my only virtue. I think a willingness to try other things in travelling is compulsory. So on that basis vegetarianism really offends me. If you’re Hindu, fine. I get it. If you’re in India and you grew up with a vegetarian regime, this is your life. But if you’re privileged, or from a privileged Western society and you’re able to travel, I’m offended by that. Just as I’m offended by fundamentalist Christians, and anybody who is absolutely certain about anything."

He said that in an interview promoting his new book, No Reservations, for the Montreal Mirror. Now, I personally see curiosity as a very important trait. It's part of what enables me to be a lifelong learner. While I can understand some people who may limit themselves due to their beliefs, for instance, the Hindus as Bourdain describes above, overall, I think you still need a sense of curiosity. You need a sense of pushing the envelope, of questioning, of wondering what would happen if things were different. I don't find vegetarians as offensive as Chef Bourdain might, but I do wonder at times what they are missing.

Now, fundamentalist Christians, and overall any fundamentalist brand of religion, I do find very offensive. In part because of that lack of curiosity. They have the feeling that they know everything for certain, so they feel no need to question or explore. That is both extremely restrictive and extremely short sighted. Life and reality are just not that certain. Life is too short not to be curious and seek out new opportunities and experiences when the present themselves.  Additionally, I just have a very simple belief: if your religion, whatever the brand, moves you to be a better person and to make the world a bit better, then more power to you. If on the other hand, your religion is an excuse for you to close your eyes, to be a bigot of any stripe, to incite violence against anyone who is not a member of your brand, then I have no use for you, and I will do what I can to denounce you. Because at the end of the day, I think it is the curious ones who will move ahead.

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December 2007
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