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Did Curiosity Really Kill the Cat?

Feb 6, 2022 | Daily Trek, Unleash

Curiosity Killed the Cat - Radical Trekking - Ayelet Baron

What if A Curious Path Doesn’t Harm Cats?

There is a well-know  proverb, “curiosity killed the cat,” but since a cat has nine lives, what does this really mean? Since I am becoming increasingly curious of the radical (root) source of everything, it’s fascinating that the original version of this proverb is “care killed the cat”—where care is associated with worry or grief for others. And what I find even more interesting is that its meaning is a way to discourage us from overstepping boundaries. Fear is weaved in the very foundation of the source of death of our cat in this story, or is it?

This proverb originated in Every Man in His Humor, a play by playwright Ben Johnson in 1598, and a year later in William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. “What, courage man! what though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.”

So how did care shift to curiosity? The answer is no one really knows. In the late 1880s, curiosity was blamed for the cat’s short lifespan. And it began to serve as a cautionary expression and advice warning us to mind our own business. Apparently, being curious can get us into trouble and an indication that people asking “prying” questions are nosy. Wow! Here is another divisive belief that is filled with judgment.

And what most of us don’t know is that “curiosity killed the cat” is only part of the expression. The whole idiom goes like this: “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.” The cat, despite rumors of its untimely death, lived!

Maybe being curious is worth it?

Claiming Curiosity and Life Itself

We may have learned that asking questions is an act of rebellion against how life is supposed to be. As a result, curiosity gets unconsciously shut down when authority figures, including our parents, tell us that this is just the way things are. We learn that not having the answers and not knowing is seen by others as something to be avoided and a weakness.

But what if imagination and curiosity are making a comeback in our lives? What if we wish all cats blessed, healthy and satisfying lives and tended to our own gardens with curiosity about what we can plant and grow?

Where we are headed there is life, and plenty of it, with an opportunity for us to experience everything: the highs, the lows and everything in between. It’s a journey of finding our groove and unlocking balance and harmony in how we choose to respond in every situation we are facing. No cats need to die on this adventure when they can actually thrive by being curious and also empathetic.

You and I were never meant to be limited and siloed into a singular persona, identity, or beliefs determined by those around us. Imagine what can happen when we stop needing to feel proud or recognized and start simply experiencing life with curiosity (however we define it)?

Why pretend to be someone we are not when we can truly be ourselves?

Fear has stopped so many from distancing ourselves from our imagination and desire to unleash who we are in a world where people and society label us. And the shift that is happening is that we no longer care as much about how life should be because we can find out for ourselves.

It takes tenacity, curiosity, and courage to breakthrough. And no one needs to get harmed on this trek of learning and expanding.

If the cat is alive and well, maybe curiosity led the cat to live and healthy and fulfilled life? How can you reclaim this proverb and make it a healthy part of your adventure?

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