I’ve been doing some background reading for a new project on animals/animality in the gospels, and came across this passage while reading Donna Haraway’s When Species Meet:

“Curiosity means becoming subject to the unsettling obligation of curiosity, which requires knowing more at the end of the day than at the beginning.” (Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 36)

While not limited to the study of animals, it brings up an important point. Curiosity is what drives inquiry. But I’ve never thought of it as an obligation. And I’ve never thought of the idea of knowing more at the end of the day than I did at the beginning as unsettling. But new knowledge can be unsettling. Truly new knowledge cannot just be absorbed into what we already know, but re-orders what we already know. It explodes assumptions and deeply-entrenched orthodoxies. It, therefore, should be unsettling.

But curiosity, therefore, takes some courage to – to quote Yoda – unlearn what you have learned – previously.


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