Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Curiosity is the spiritual adultery of the soul. Curiosity is spiritual drunkenness." - Thomas Brooks

"A modern commentator made the observation that there re those who seek knowledge about everything and understand nothing. It is wonder - not mere curiosity - a sense of enchantment, of respect for the mysteries of love for the other, that is essential to the difference between a knowing that is simply a gathering of information and techniques and a knowing that seeks insight and understanding. It is wonder that reveals how intimate is the relationship between knowledge of the other and knowledge of the self, between inwardness and outwardness." - Seymour Cohen, fully Seymour Jay Cohen

"Wonder, connected with principle of rational curiosity, is the source of all knowledge and discovery, and it is a principle even of piety; but wonder which ends in wonder, and is satisfied with wonder, is the quality of an idiot." - Samuel Horsley

"Curiosity, or the love of knowledge, has a very limited influence, and requires youth, leisure, education, genius and example to make it govern any person." - David Hume

"Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Where necessity ends, curiosity begins; and no sooner are we supplied with everything that nature can command that we sit down to contrive artificial appetites." -

"Friendly concern is often simple curiosity." - James Peter Hymers Mackay, Baron Mackay of Clashfern

"No heart is empty of the humor of curiosity, the beggar being as attentive, in his station, to an increase of knowledge, as the prince." - Ronald E. Osborn

"One of the secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute." - William Lyon Phelps

"The beginning of research is curiosity, its essence is discernment, and its goal truth and justice." - Isaac Halevi Satanov, fully Isaac ben Moses Halevi Satanov

"Curiosity is as much the parent of attention, as attention is of memory." - Richard Whately

"The universe is but a kaleidoscope which turns within the mind of the so-called thinking being, who is himself a curiosity without a cause, an accident conscious of the great accident around him, and who amuses himself with it so long as the phenomenon of his vision lasts." -

"Anxiety is the poison of human life. It is the parent of many sins, and of more miseries. In a world where everything is doubtful, where you may be disappointed, and be blessed in disappointment,—what means this restless stir and commotion of mind? Can your solicitude alter the cause or unravel the intricacy of human events? Can your curiosity pierce through the cloud which the Supreme Being hath made impenetrable to mortal eye? To provide against every important danger by the employment of the most promising means is the office of wisdom; but at this point wisdom stops." -

"A sense of curiosity is nature's original school of education." -

"Youth is young life plus curiosity minus understanding." - Anthony Brooks, fully Major Anthony Morris “Tony” Brooks

"If you suppress the exorbitant love of pleasure and money, idle curiosity, iniquitous pursuits and wanton mirth, what a stillness would there be in the great cities! The necessaries of life do not occasion at most a third part of the hurry." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Creatures whose mainspring is curiosity will enjoy the accumulating of facts, far more than the pausing at times to reflect on those facts." - Clarence Shepard Day, Jr.

"Genuine ignorance is... profitable because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish water-proof to new ideas." - John Dewey

"The sympathy of most people consists of a mixture of good-humor, curiosity, and self-importance." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity." - Albert Einstein

"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young mind for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards." - Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

"I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and, above all, compassion." - Kurt Hahn, fully Kurt Martin "the rod" Hahn

"Curiosity is little more than another name for hope." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"As children we all possess a natural, uninhibited curiosity, a hunger for explanation, which seems to die slowly as we age - suppressed, I suppose, by the high value we place on conformity and by the need not to appear ignorant. It betokens a conviction that somehow science is innately incomprehensible. It precludes reaching deeper, thereby denying the profound truth that understanding enriches experience, that explanation vastly enhances beauty of the natural world in the eye of the beholder." - Mahlon Hoagland

"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect. Every advance into knowledge opens new prospects and produces new incitements to further progress." -

"The gratification of curiosity rather frees us from uneasiness, than confers pleasure. We are more pained by ignorance, than delighted by instruction. Curiosity is the thirst of the soul." -

"Where necessity ends, desire and curiosity begin; no sooner are we supplied with everything nature can demand, than we sit down to contrive artificial appetites." -

"Curiosity in children is but an appetite for knowledge. One great reason why children abandon themselves wholly to silly pursuits and trifle away their time insipidly is, because they find their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected." - John Locke

"Zeal and curiosity are the twin scourges of the soul: the latter prompts us to poke our noses into everything; the former prevents our leaving anything in doubt or undecided." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life." -

"Life was never meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life." -

"Astronomy was born of superstition; eloquence of ambition, hatred, falsehood, and flattery; geometry of avarice; physics of an idle curiosity; and even moral philosophy of human pride. Thus the arts and sciences owe their birth to our vices." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"If you wish to be like the gods on earth, to be free in the realms of the dead, pluck not the fruit from the garden! In appearance it may glisten to the eye; but the perishable pleasure of possession quickly avenges the curse of curiosity." - Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"A good scientist is a person in whom the childhood quality of perennial curiosity lingers on. Once he gets an answer, he has other questions." - Frederick Seitz

"Curiosity is the direct incontinency of the spirit. Know therefore at the door before you enter upon your neighbor’s privacy; and remember that there is no difference between entering into his house and looking into it." - Jeremy Taylor

"Science is an important part of the humanities because it is based on an essential human trait: curiosity about the how and why of our environment. We must foster wonder, joy of insight." - Victor Weisskopf, fully Victor "Viki" Frederick Weisskopf

"In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things and happy in small ways." - Edith Wharton

"Curiosity is as much the parent of attention as attention is of memory; therefore the first business of a teacher - first not only in point of time, but of importance - should be to excite not merely a general curiosity on the subject of the study, but a particular curiosity on particular points in that subject. To teach one who has no curiosity to learn is to sow a field without ploughing it." - Richard Whately

"Seize the moment of excited curiosity of any subject, to solve your doubts; for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance." - William Wirt

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." - Dorothy Parker

"In your daily life, you can treat people you meet in a way that strengthens them in spirit through genuine interest or respect… not a patronizing or false sense of sincerity… but rather a genuine curiosity and respect for each individual you meet… Your actions do make a lasting impact on each person you encounter. It’s an enormous responsibility to take seriously how you treat the people in your life, and a great joy to know you have acted with caring, warmth, and love." - Leonard Felder

"Curiosity is one of the most permanent characteristics of a vigorous intellect." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Curiosity is the thirst of the soul." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Crystals are like concentrated knowledge pressed into crystalline form. They are the culmination of life force coming together in time and space. The crystal shows nature’s urge for symmetry and perfection. Our life purpose is like that – purposeful curiosity and imagination yearning for balance and beauty." - Glenn W. Lehrer

"One great Reason why many Children abandon themselves wholly to silly sports and trifle away all their time insipidly is because they found their Curiosity baulk’d and their Enquiries neglected. But had they been treated with more kindness and Respect and their Questions answered, as they should, to their Satisfaction, I doubt not but they would have taken more Pleasure in Learning and improving their Knowledge, wherein there would be still Newness and Variety, which is what they are delighted with, than in returning over and over to the same Play and Playthings." - John Locke

"At particular epochs of their life, [children] reveal an intense and extraordinary interest in certain objects and exercises, which one might look for in vain at a later age… Such attention is not the results of mere curiosity; it is more like a burning passion. A keen emotion first rises from the depths of the unconscious, and sets in motion a marvelous creative activity in contact with the outside world, thus building up consciousness." - Maria Montessori

"Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn one’s back on life." - Eleanor Roosevelt, fully Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

"Life is no dress rehearsal. This is the time to explore, to indulge our curiosity and our hunger for truth." - David Andrew Seaman

"The opened mind can be relaxed and playful. It is filled with curiosity and wonder. There is something childlike about it. It loves to get off the beaten track, to explore paths that are not the ones taken by social convention." - Frank Barron, Alfonso Montuori & Anthea Barron

"I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism have brought me to my ideas." - Albert Einstein