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Curiosity and Awareness

I turn 82 in December 2015. I live alone. My siblings are gone. The women in my life are gone. I live alone. But curiosity keeps me eager in watching the world go by.

The CBS journalist Bob Simon has noted the hardships of being a foreign correspondent and has claimed that if one is not curious he will not want to continue with it.

In children, curiosity serves educated. It makes education joyful. Children who are curious go further faster than those who lack it. People who are curious are more charming. They are more genuinely interested in the people they are meeting.

Much of humanity's drama, folly, and achievement, what to us is history, was lost to people who died in the distant past. Much that will be history to others, I will miss – curiosity frustrated.

It's awareness of the actual that I want. To alter a phrase by the philosopher René Descartes: I'm aware therefore I am. Descartes wrote "I think therefore I am (je pense donc je suis) – nearly the same thing – but the word "aware" symbolizes something deeper than the word "think."

Like another French philosopher Albert Camus, we may see absurdity along the way, but reality rather than delusion is itself a pleasure.

I remain aware of the naturally sweet fragrance of the women sleeping alongside me, the joys of my friends and companions, and what it means to be human.

Looking for support online I've come across Neil deGrasse Tyson answering a child in his audience who asked him about the "meaning in life." It's on video here: http://www.mtv.com/news/2052466/neil-degrasse-tyson-meaning-of-life. Tyson said, "When I think of meaning in life, I ask,'Have I learned something today that I didn't know yesterday?" Tyson advised the child "to get his clothes dirty, bang on pots and pans, and taste snowflakes." Tyson said, "Your meaning in life will be enhanced if you are given as much freedom as you can to explore the world."

Copyright © 2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.