Tag Archives: curiosity

Contrary actions to the Twelve Virtues – Curiosity

Yudkowsky writes of the first virtue:

The first virtue is curiosity. A burning itch to know is higher than a solemn vow to pursue truth. To feel the burning itch of curiosity requires both that you be ignorant, and that you desire to relinquish your ignorance. If in your heart you believe you already know, or if in your heart you do not wish to know, then your questioning will be purposeless and your skills without direction. Curiosity seeks to annihilate itself; there is no curiosity that does not want an answer. The glory of glorious mystery is to be solved, after which it ceases to be mystery. Be wary of those who speak of being open-minded and modestly confess their ignorance. There is a time to confess your ignorance and a time to relinquish your ignorance.

It’s easy to pay homage to the virtue of the curious, without actually being curious yourself.  What don’t you know that you want to know?  Or…more importantly…what don’t you know that you should want to know?

Do you dump your retirement savings into instruments you don’t understand?  Do you accept at face value what the salesman tells you about the TV you’re looking at?  Do you seek The Answer, and then stop at the first reasonable explanation you come upon?